This year’s Formex Nova winner is Danish designer and artist Kasper Friis Kjeldgaard. In its motivation, the jury highlights Kasper’s sensual proximity to his materials and his unique feel for details and material transitions.
Kasper Friis Kjeldgaard graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2016. He has participated in exhibitions at Mindcraft in Milan, The Curio – Chart Art Fair, and the Patrick Parrish Gallery, among others. Kasper is 36 and lives in Århus with his fiancée and their two children. He has his own studio/workshop close to his home.
Congratulations on winning Formex Nova! What does this mean to you?
“Thanks! I was very surprised, even more than when I was nominated. I have no idea what this will mean for me and my career, but I’m convinced that it will have some sort of meaning. Only time will tell what this will be. I have not worked very much in the other Scandinavian countries, so I hope I will do so more in the future. Right now, I’m mainly flattered, and I’m happy that people like what I do!”
How would you describe yourself as a designer and your style?
“My work is pretty abstract, but at the same time it has a link to functional design. I do everything by hand, so it can be called a type of craftsmanship. I think my objects are beautiful, and ultimately that is enough for me.”
The jury mentions in particular that your creativity is a cross between art and design.
“I definitely agree with that. I don’t make objects that must be usable, but they still need to function from a purely practical perspective – for example, it must be possible to hang them up or balance them. And they also must work as poetic and aesthetic objects.”
The jury also asserts that your artistic ability could be a major asset in the design of everyday products. Do you agree?
“It is very interesting that they think that, and I completely agree. I have actually drawn many functional objects, like lamps and chairs, but to date I have only saved my sketches in a drawer...”
Will you design more everyday and practical objects in the future?
“Yes, I will. I already have two projects along those lines planned for the fall, but I can’t say anything more right now since I won’t be able to show the results until the spring of 2021. It is a long process... This is a completely new area for me, but it’s important that people will be able to recognize my personal style and aesthetics in the objects.”
Your work requires a lot of skill – what is your relationship to the classic tradition of craftsmanship?
“I’m aware of and research old techniques, of course, like how people used to make a broom or a fishing rod, and I consistently use these techniques in my work. I am quite far away from computer-based design programs and the like; computers are not my thing. I even have problems dealing with my email. I don’t have anything against computers and think it’s good that people can use them, but it also helps to know how to use more robust tools and instruments.”
Which materials are your favorites?
“I use brass the most, largely because of its aesthetic qualities, but I also work with stone, glass, bristles and beeswax, for example.”
Isn’t beeswax a very fragile material to work with?
“Extremely fragile. Beeswax has a low melting point and solidifies quickly, but at the same time it is an interesting material that ages well and complements materials like stone and glass.”
What inspires you?
“I always find this question hard to answer. Just like everyone else, I naturally get my inspiration from somewhere, but it’s hard to point out from exactly where. I get a lot of inspiration from my previous works and from the techniques I use. It’s rather intuitive – things that just pop into my head.”
Do you have any design role models?
“I have to mention Alexander Calder and his mobiles, which have inspired me a lot. It’s been a long time since I worked with mobiles, but I think they are a beautiful method of expression. Sculptor Olafur Eliason is another artist who inspires me through his way of connecting the human intellect and our senses with nature.”
What are your thoughts about sustainability, which of course is always on-trend?
“Yes, sustainability is an important aspect for a designer in today’s world. Designers have to be aware that they will be replacing something that will be thrown away. They need to carefully consider their processes to avoid contributing to all the environmental problems and wasteful use of resources that society is wrestling with right now.”
So, you don’t envision your design objects being mass-produced? Or, for example, you working with a large company like IKEA?
“It’s possible that people will find ways to get around these problems by making sustainable objects and reusing materials. And that the products will also last longer aesthetically.”
Is your work currently available for sale?
“Yes, by contacting either me directly or my gallery in New York, the Patrick Parrish Gallery.”
“With sensual proximity to materials and strong expressions in metal and bristles, Kasper Friis Kjeldgaard creates sculptural three-dimensionality. He has a unique feel for details and material transitions. His creativity hovers on the border between art and design. His artistic ability could also be a major asset in the design of everyday items.”
FACTS Formex Nova
The Formex Nova design award – the biggest Nordic prize awarded to a young designer – is arranged by Formex and Stockholmsmässan. Both nominations and winners are selected by a jury.
The winner receives a check for SEK 50,000 as well as marketing space and a stand at the next Formex, a value of SEK 100,000.
Nominees must be younger than 40, active in the Nordics, and have attended college or shown that they can make innovative, artistic and usable products. They must also have at least one product in production, have received recognition for one product or had one product exhibited.
For more information, please contact:
Lotta Ahlvar, Operative Event Manager Formex, +46 70 789 41 52, email@example.com
Christina Olsson, Project Area Manager Formex, +46 8 749 44 28, firstname.lastname@example.org
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