Most of the time my designs start as a request from a furniture producer. I discuss the assignment with the producer – often they only have a vague idea of what they want and it is my job to perceive – from their hints and unsaid wishes – the product they are looking for. Often I also visit the producer to get an idea of “the spirit of the company” and their production equipment – to see if they have any new machines or techniques which could be useful for development of new designs.
The period in which an idea only exist in my head and on paper is incredible – exciting, demanding and alarming – like being in a void. My starting point is to find similar designs already in production and seek out the ones I like the best. From these designs I start creating my own – taking the best and making it better – making it mine! When the associations to other designs have disappeared and I feel the design is mine – then I am finish.
Even though, it can seem as if my way of working is very deliberate and controlled – I can see afterward that I am very much influenced by my sub consciousness. Time is very important – it forms images in my head and changes images – so during the design process several changes take place in my head, even though, I am not aware of it – and I only become aware of this when I see the final product.
When I am working with designs I find: Innovation, Aesthetics and Functionality very important. It is important to innovate and to bring new thinking into existing designs. Innovation is for instance to use known materials for something new. I believe in “Less is more” – I believe that a piece of furniture is only to consist of the essential because then it will appear clean and simple – with international appeal. “Beauty depends on functionality” – this is what the Shakers said – and I agree. I am not making art but functional designs that can be used in people’s every day life. I would never create a beautiful chair that was not comfortable to sit in.
When the design has moved from my head and down on paper – the idea is to be tested and developed further – and here craftsmanship comes into the picture. Several models are made – so the design can be touched, seen, sat in and used – so the materials can be tested and developed – each model is tested and new ones are developed until the right one is there. Then drawings are made, so the producer has something to work from.
Sometimes I am met with scepticism when I present my drawings for the production people, but after several discussions on how the work can be done I am often able to make the scepticism disappear, and that is a very nice feeling. However, when a design reaches the production team compromises must often be made – and here it is important for a designer to know when to quit and when to hold on, so one´s idea does not disappear in the process. But the commutation with the production team is also very educational and positive because it is a symbiosis which can add new dimensions to one’s design. The process from idea to product is team work – and a designer should never forget this.
Hans Sandgren Jakobsen