Press release -
Q&A - 3 questions about the design process with Lucy Kurrein.
MF: What is it that appeals to you about working at the human scale of furniture, and upholstery, in particular?
LK: Experiencing the physical world through my body has always been important to me. I vividly remember climbing a Henry Moore reclining figure with my brother and cousins on a family holiday. I loved sprawling myself over it and hoisting myself up, hanging off body parts and finding nooks and crannies to nestle my shoulders into, trying to fill the negative space with my positive space. These connections between body and object were grounding somehow. Now I start out on a design by thinking about how I want the shape to connect to the body. I consider how an armrest might offer reassurance by locking into your armpit, or how your shoulder blades might roll over the top of the backrest and encourage you to spread your arms out.
Then there’s the social aspect; I like the thought that interacting with a piece of furniture can make someone feel differently within themselves and therefore interact differently with others. The Lucy sofa for Offecct came from watching the way people work and meet casually in hotel lobbies and coffee shops and wanting to bring that natural and relaxed behaviour to the contract furniture space.
MF: How would you describe your design process?
LK: My process is fairly long. Once I have an idea for the direction, I evolve the design through sketching, digital modelling and physical model making. Then I slow right down and make 1:5 models to let me assess the forms under real light and feel them with my hands. The models build up along one wall of my studio, so I can see them all together and trace the development of an idea.
MF: Your designs augment the inherent characteristics and attributes of materials. What was your approach to material construction with your two designs for Offecct?
LK: I like to work in a way that lets materials show you their qualities, whether that’s pushing their capabilities to the limits or simply allowing them to behave as they will naturally with as little intervention as possible. I’ve always worked this way, even at university, and the Falabella stool originally emerged as a result of a live brief with the plywood manufacturer Isokon. I was taken with the economy of this material, the way it can be bent into curves and how it’s universally strong in every direction. When Offecct agreed to put it into production years later, it took a lot of time to find a large manufacturer with the confidence to make it that thin — but that’s just how the material needed to be.
Sometimes it’s about how materials work together. With my sofa Lucy for Offecct, I made the metal frame slightly shorter than the outside edge of the seating platform, so the uprights squash into the foam invitingly. The posts of the coat stands and tables push upwards from between two cushions that sit snugly together, so the line of the seam has to yield to the metal as it passes. In this way, the materials show each other off to suggest the sturdy support the platforms offer, but also how good it might feel to sit down, nestle in and spread out on them.
Excerpt from an interview by Max Fraser, guest author of the book Offecct + Lucy Kurrein. Previous books published in this series: Offecct + Matti Klenell (2021), Offecct + Luca Nichetto (2021)
Offecct AB headquarters and production in Tibro, Sweden. The company was founded in 1990 by Kurt Tingdal and Anders Englund. The group has a sales of SEK 180 million. The business is run in own premises which have a total area of around 20 000 m2. The company has showrooms in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Tibro (SE), Oslo (NO), Copenhagen (DK), London (UK), Amsterdam and Rotterdam (NL), Düsseldorf and Munich (DE), Milan (IT), New York (US) and Singapore (SG). Offecct is since 2017 a part of the Flokk - the market leader in the design, development and production of workplace furniture in Europe.
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