Having admired their designs for years, it’s difficult to explain why we haven’t written about Front Design before now. Partly it’s to do with the fact that every time we start to write a profile about them they present another amazing design project. Partly it’s the fact that their projects are so necessarily complex and therefore difficult to fully present and explain. In truth, their projects are best experienced face to face and its difficult to do justice to them through text and images on a website. That said, we thought it high time that we attempted to write an introduction to one of the most interesting of the design teams working in Scandinavian today.
Front Design is a Stockholm based group of designers consisting of Sofia Lagerkvist, Charlotte von der Lancken, Anna Lindgren and Katja Sävström. Working as a team, in which all members are involved in the design process from initial discussions and ideas to the final product, Front’s products often communicate a story about the design process, about conventions within the product field or about the materials and techniques used. Take a look below at a selection of their recent designs:
Since the company’s start in 2003, Front have designed a range of furniture in collaboration with different animals (e.g. wallpaper, hooks, lamps and other everyday objects designed by gerbils, dogs, rabbits and snakes), a collection of products in which the designs were determined by external factors (e.g. a lounge chair cast from a hole left after an explosion, a walking table with a built-in processor, an alarm clock/lamp that reacts to movement, designs determined by the mistakes of a 3D-scanner etc), an art gallery with a constantly changing interior and products that can only exist in a computer game.
Last year, Front presented the SKETCH collection following their development of a method to materialise free hand sketches by using a unique method combining two advanced techniques. Pen strokes made in the air were recorded with Motion Capture and translated into 3D digital files; these were then materialised through Rapid Prototyping into real pieces of furniture.
Motion capture is mostly used for animations in movies and computer games but Front have used the technique to record the tip of a pen whilst they draw pieces of furniture in the air. Rapid Prototyping, a technique that materialises 3D-files, uses a laser beam to builds a 3D-file layer by layer within a liquid plastic material. The liquid is hardened by the laser beam and after a few hours the 3D-files come out as materialised pieces.
In their latest collection called FOUND, Front have investigated the distinguishing characteristics of one object and modified them in some way so that they become the essence of a new product. The collection includes a cupboard that reflects its surroundings (well covered by the blogosphere), a standard lamp with hidden objects inside that project shadow decorations, a chest of drawers that can be divided and put back together in a way that appears to defy gravity, a chandelier of mirror balls that illuminate the room with confetti-like light, a wardrobe with a light that shines through a gap in the doors but switches off when the doors are opened and a cupboard that has a constantly changing surface made out of rotating advertising signs.