Annons
Annons

New Year, New Books

One of my New Year aspirations is to read more books, and here are a few on my list.

Fresh new year, fresh new starts. I deliberately skipped posting here before the holidays as I didn’t want to participate in the madness, but also to not rain on anyone’s parade with my anti-consumption rants, but I hope you are all well rested and ready to dig into the new year now! I made a few resolutions, or aspirations perhaps, where one of them is to read more books. As it happens, I have a few in mind already, so I thought I’d share them here:

 

Home Book Puss Publications collage

The first one on my list is Home by photographer Petra Bindel and stylist Emma Persson Lagerberg. ”Ten years of collaboration between a photographer and a stylist, this publication is to show the ever-present essence of it all; to capture the spirit of a place called home.” I borrowed some work-in-progress pics from their instagram, as I think the process behind the scenes is always super interesting.

 

Green Home Book

Second on the list is Green Home by my friends Riikka Kantinkoski, Susanna Vento and Pinja Forsman (whom I’ve yet to meet), and it’s all about house plants and how to take care of them, illustrated with images from some very nice homes. I sure could use some hints on that subject, as my plants either wilt after a couple of months, or end up taking over the room completely.

 

we are wanderful limburg design book

And third out is a book that I actually participated in making, by contributing a short text written together with one of my newest and most brilliant friends; Byron Hawes. I’m hoping to get to introduce him to you at a later date. The book is called We Are Wanderful, and it’s all about design in the Belgian province of Limburg. You probably haven’t heard about the region (I hadn’t until I went there on a blog tour last autumn), but I am positive you are familiar with some of the amazing talents originating here. We are talking Raf Simons, Martin Margiela, Michaël Verheyden, Studio Job, Marina Yee, and more, so I believe you might find the book interesting.

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Annons

Not Buying It

Buying a locally produced chair made from sustainably grown wood doesn’t make you into a responsible consumer. Not buying it would.

Frama 9.5° Chair

Frama 9.5° Chair

 

Do you ever stop to think about how privileged you are? I don’t mean ”I’m so happy I can buy this expensive designer item”, I mean more like ”The fact that I can buy this thing I don’t need for my survival means I am among the richest people in the world, and buying it also means someone less privileged will suffer more”.

Even if you buy ethically produced sustainable products, someone else will have a shittier life because of it. How? Because the money you choose to spend on unnecessary stuff could have been used to make the world a better place, and the energy and work hours put into making that vase could have been spent solving problems bigger than you wanting something pretty to put your weekend bouquet in.

13eighty by Scholten & Baijings for Hay

13eighty by Scholten & Baijings for Hay

 

I know you think I’m being extreme now, but really, take a few minutes to make a rough estimate of the money you spent in the last month on things you don’t need. Adds up to a rather sustainable amount, doesn’t it? If you are like most middle class people in the West, I’m guessing you got a number somewhere between €100 and €1000. Even in a small country like Sweden with around 10 million people, that is at least €500 000 000 per month being wasted. We could end world hunger, stop global warming and solve the refugee crisis in a snap if we’d all just stop buying products we don’t need! That’s probably not going to happen though, but don’t let that discourage you from taking responsibility for your own part in this. You can still choose what you spend your money on. New cushion, or a month of food for a child in a refugee camp? Your pick.

Big Bold by Moustache

Big Bold by Moustache

 

So the next time you find yourself browsing for ”a refreshing update” for your home, try to stop for a second and consider what that money could really do. Buying a locally produced chair made from sustainably grown wood doesn’t make you into a responsible consumer. Not buying it would.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should never buy anything, sleep on the floor and starve. But try to sort your Needs from your Wants, and find the reason behind wanting that chair. You are bored with the chairs you have, the cat scratched one and your child stained another with tomato sauce, and you saw a pretty picture in a magazine? Nah, you’ll survive. You have a chunk of cash burning in your pocket and feel the need to invest? How about investing in humanity instead of another piece of furniture? Yeah, I know, people aren’t very high value compared to vintage chairs, but they sure are a lot nicer to have around, and if you don’t agree you can give your money to an animal rescue instead. You literally have nothing to sit on? Ok, you probably could use some chairs then.

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Annons

I’m Not Dead

Perhaps there is more room for a diversity of designers to rise to the stage today, and thus a similarly diverse range of products and styles to see the light of day? I believe it’s time that we talk openly about the politics of design, from several perspectives.

graffiti kitchen

As the title says, no, I didn’t die, I’m very much alive and kicking behind the scenes here! I know some of you have been wondering about the lack of updates here, and I feel like I owe you some kind of explanation. After running this blog for 11 years, I needed a break. At first I figured a couple of weeks off would be enough to recharge and get some new inspiration, and then I’d get back to blogging as usual. Instead I felt a huge relief once I got the nagging voice out of my head that’s been telling me that I need to update the blog every day for the last decade. I also felt an urge to do something else. Something new, more hands on, and perhaps a little less superficial. Maybe even something that could merge my two main passions; design and politics, which I always have had trouble combining in a way that felt meaningful from both perspectives.

So I started school. Since August, I’ve been studying full time. The subject? Street art and art in public spaces. It’s great fun, very hands on but with theoretical parts as well, where we get into art history, city planning, architecture, legal/ethics discussions etc etc. Turns out it’s the perfect bridge between my two worlds as it mixes aesthetics with messages. You can go as dark or political as you please, or just make something cute to make people smile, or a combination of the two. My main struggle has been not getting overly pretentious, which, trust me, is easier said than done when dealing with art of any kind. I probably failed terribly in that aspect, but hey, at least I tried…

Holzer, Jenny - Money Creates Taste, 2010

Money Creates Taste, projection by Jenny Holzer

I’ve always had an interest in street art and graffiti, but growing up, the scene was completely dominated by douchy guys and I never really had the guts to step in and actually do something myself. Now, the scene has changed and is much more diversified, and there is space for everyone to do their own thing without adopting or even having to deal with the macho attitudes of the past. In my class, there is only one man, and the age of the students ranges between 19 and 71, all with very different backgrounds and perspectives on art and life in general. So while many of the biggest names in the field may still be male, they might have to move over soon, as there is a new group of street artists developing, ready take over at any moment.

granny graffing

What does all this have to do with my blog or design in general? Maybe nothing? Or maybe there is a similar movement going on in the design scene? Perhaps there is more room for a diversity of designers to rise to the stage today, and thus a similarly diverse range of products and styles to see the light of day? I believe it’s time that we talk openly about the politics of design, from several perspectives. Design shouldn’t be only for the privileged (read male, white, well-off), made in third world countries in materials and factories that destroy both the environment and the workers. Then there is the rather relevant question of whether we actually need another chair? And who buys that chair, and why?

midcentury designers-july-1961-playboy

I have been trying to promote a counterweight to these issues for years, but not really spelling it out very clearly to avoid shoving it in your faces. I don’t know if you even noticed that around 90% of the people I feature here are women? Or that a great majority of the products are made in sustainable ways, from eco friendly materials? Probably not. But maybe it’s time to let the cat out of the bag and start speaking openly about these questions. I’m still looking for a good way to do this, as critique isn’t really something we do in the interior design world and even less so in blogs, so now I’m looking into other forms of art and culture to see how it’s dealt with there.

All this has been keeping me very busy, and still is. My head is buzzing with graffiti styles, painting techniques, materials and project ideas, but also thoughts on representation, traditions, culture and politics, but I promise to try and find some time to update the blog soon!

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