Ms. Bindslev Henriksen and Mr. Bundgaard Rützou, you have added new pieces to the furniture collection for Atmospheres. The collection is part of your cooperation with the Copenhagen cabinet maker Malte Gormsen. What is the secret of this collaboration?
Bindslev Henriksen: Our relationship is a story of parallel paths. We started our company around the same time in Copenhagen, Painted his workshop, we painted our studio. He’s always been drawn to design and we have been drawn to craft. We came into contact by chance and started working on projects, custom-made objects and interior fittings for shops, homes and restaurants. A close relationship has developed over the years. Our mutual enthusiasm for design, material and craft has grown. We feel privileged that we can try out our ideas with Malte and his team and use his skills for us. We also feel like we are challenging him in how he does his job.
Furniture construction in Danish post-war modernism is considered a milestone in design history. How relevant is this legacy to your work today?
Bundgaard Rützou: That’s a good question, we’re a bit divided on that. On the one hand, we were born and raised here, Danish design and carpentry are part of our tradition – both personally and professionally. It’s in our DNA. But apart from that, we see a certain tendency to simplify the creative range of the great Danish designers, for example. In fact, their approach to design spans the entire spectrum from strict minimalism to exploratory playfulness. What all the great designers have in common is their curiosity about human existence, about other cultures, to be tolerant, modern and open to new ideas. This inspires us a lot more than just trying to achieve a certain aesthetic or doing things in a certain way. That is why the working relationship with Malte is so important to us.
Can you explain that in more detail?
Bundgaard Rützou: Atmospheres gives us the freedom to try things out, to develop ourselves further, without the usual limitations that projects usually entail. Atmospheres is a welcome excuse to work on concepts and drafts much more slowly and calmly than usual. It’s just us, no strict deadlines, no commercial pressure or customer specifications. We can pursue our interests. Often a design crystallizes out in a dialogue with Malte. We try to push ourselves to the limit and ask all the stupid questions while he teaches us how a piece is made by hand.
How exactly does your collaboration with Malte Gormsen work?
Bindslev Henriksen: It’s a very direct, pragmatic process; the dialogue is informal and dynamic. We either look at our sketches together, or we send them to him so that he can give us feedback. When we have finally agreed on a certain direction, he produces the first test pieces, which we develop further together. But it can also be that he comes up to us and tells us about a special tree trunk with a very special story and asks us if we can think of a project for it.
Many of your joint projects were created for restaurants and hotels. What is special about working for the hospitality industry?
Bindslev Henriksen: This area is often incredibly passionate and dynamic, our partners dare more and are more open to trying out new things than others. Often such projects are driven by great ambition, as in other creative areas, by the way, where chefs, hoteliers or fashion designers are pretty similar.
Does the craft, as passionate about materials and details and technically adept as Malte Gormsen still have a future?
Bundgaard Rützou: In the past 20 years there have always been moments when we feared that the craft would die out in many regions of the world. But now we are very optimistic: In this crazy world that is changing so rapidly, we are observing a rapidly growing interest in things that are really made by hand, with a skill and skill that can only be found over a long period of time can acquire and that needs a lot of patience and perseverance.
Why should someone buy handcrafted pieces of furniture that are only made to order, when furniture is also much cheaper and faster, for example in online shops?
Bundgaard Rützou: We firmly believe that as humans we should think slowly and long-term. We should invest when we buy something new and make it part of our lives. In this way, we are convinced, we appreciate things more, look after them better and have more pleasure in using them.
Is the impression that this view has recently gained in importance again?
Bindslev Henriksen: There is no doubt that the current situation has also accelerated a number of things that were previously relevant and urgent, issues such as sustainability and our attitude towards consumption. These are issues of great ideological and political implications. But we feel that they have leaked into personal considerations and decisions that they affect about how we want to live. We have all been forced lately, for better or worse, to rethink our priorities and focus on our immediate surroundings. Sustainability is actually anchored in our human behavior, so we hope that the pieces from the Atmospheres collection will be valued for a long time. Maybe they will even be passed on to the next generation!
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