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Material Tendencies: Front

Swedish design duo Front realise their fantasies by creating design objects that are often surprising and somewhat irritating at first sight.Architonic met Sofia Lagerkvist and Anna Lindgren at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair 2016 to find out more about their passion for experimenting with...
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Text by Anita Hackethal

Swedish design duo Front realise their fantasies by creating design objects that are often surprising and somewhat irritating at first sight.

Architonic met Sofia Lagerkvist and Anna Lindgren at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair 2016 to find out more about their passion for experimenting with different materials and discovering new technologies.

Anita Hackethal, Architonic: Which material would you choose if you had to restrict yourselves to working with just one for the next three years?

Anna Lindgren: I think it is interesting to find materials that are sort of outside the classic design world. But we also like to push the limits of a material that is already quite known – wood or ceramics for example. Most of our design projects are technology- and material-driven. We always look for new materials and we like to experiment and combine different techniques. When you put together knowledge of different professions, you can achieve greater things.

Sofia Lagerkvist: We try to come up with a rather surprising, unexpected solution. It does not necessarily have to be a new technology, but it could also be new characteristics within the material that we already know. A good example is the glass loudspeaker that is shaped like a crystal vase.

AL: It is more than 10 years ago that we did the sketch furniture. We have developed a method to materialise free hand sketches. Pen strokes, drawn in air, were recorded with Motion capture. The 3D digital files became then real pieces of furniture through rapid prototyping. This method is still very interesting for us and is becoming more and more advanced. You can now print in metal, ceramics, plastic, etc.

AH: Is there any material that you could immediately reject?

AL: I was going to say food, but we actually made an ice-cream. If the production technique is not environmental friendly or is unhealthy, then we won’t use the resulting material.

SL: One thing that crossed my mind that we are eager to look into more is creating new kinds of materials via biological processes, for example through bacteria or growing microbes – materials that come from somewhere completely different. Sometimes the process is more important than the actual material. Also textile is a very interesting field where a lot of research is happening. Today there are textiles made from bacteria.

This article originally appeared on Architonic, where TLMag presents articles in French and English.

Surface Tension Lamp for Booo (Limited Edition), 2012. With the Surface Tension Lamp for Dutch design company Booo, the aim was to create a constantly changing lamp that combines the most ephemeral of lampshades with an LED light source. In the time it takes the LED to burn out, the lamp will have had 3 million different globe shades.
Surface Tension Lamp for Booo (Limited Edition), 2012. With the Surface Tension Lamp for Dutch design company Booo, the aim was to create a constantly changing lamp that combines the most ephemeral of lampshades with an LED light source. In the time it takes the LED to burn out, the lamp will have had 3 million different globe shades.
Inlay Cupboard for Porro, 2011.
Inlay Cupboard for Porro, 2011.
Chain saw chair - made of a solid piece of wood (Limited Edition), 2009
Chain saw chair - made of a solid piece of wood (Limited Edition), 2009
Soft Wood Sofa for Moroso, 2010. Soft psychedelic illusions: Two primitive, rough pine planks confuse the senses and alter the perception. The wood is soft and merely the effect of a super realistic digital photo print. Beneath the cover is no-distortion, different density foam, while the frame is in real wood and the legs are in pine plywood.
Soft Wood Sofa for Moroso, 2010. Soft psychedelic illusions: Two primitive, rough pine planks confuse the senses and alter the perception. The wood is soft and merely the effect of a super realistic digital photo print. Beneath the cover is no-distortion, different density foam, while the frame is in real wood and the legs are in pine plywood.
Doodle Sofa for Moroso, 2012.
Doodle Sofa for Moroso, 2012.
Glass Loudspeakers, 2013
Glass Loudspeakers, 2013
Plane lamps for ZERO, 2016. Transparency and sharpness characterise the Plane lamps for Scandinavian lighting company Zero. Both the pendant and the floor version has a simple construction of thin metal wires in a structural grid crowned by a flat light source. Turned off it is completely transparent, that spreads a pleasant light half-up, half-down.
Plane lamps for ZERO, 2016. Transparency and sharpness characterise the Plane lamps for Scandinavian lighting company Zero. Both the pendant and the floor version has a simple construction of thin metal wires in a structural grid crowned by a flat light source. Turned off it is completely transparent, that spreads a pleasant light half-up, half-down.
Scribble rugs for moooi, 2015.
Scribble rugs for moooi, 2015.
 Table designed by pressure, using branches under high pressure (Limited Edition), 2011
Table designed by pressure, using branches under high pressure (Limited Edition), 2011
Squares for Eco Wallpaper, 2016. Eco Wallpaper’s new Front collection consists of nine wallpapers with sketched patterns and shadows against a white surface to create an illusion of depth and structure. The depth-effect wallpaper design of overlapping squares originates from sheets of paper pinned together on a wall.
Squares for Eco Wallpaper, 2016. Eco Wallpaper’s new Front collection consists of nine wallpapers with sketched patterns and shadows against a white surface to create an illusion of depth and structure. The depth-effect wallpaper design of overlapping squares originates from sheets of paper pinned together on a wall.
Green Pedestals for OFFECCT, 2011
Green Pedestals for OFFECCT, 2011
Sketch Furniture Collection (Rapid Prototyping) for Friedman Benda Gallery, 2006.
Sketch Furniture Collection (Rapid Prototyping) for Friedman Benda Gallery, 2006.
Making Process of Sketch furniture
Making Process of Sketch furniture
Sofia Lagerkvist and Anna Lindgren of Front - Photo © Architonic
Sofia Lagerkvist and Anna Lindgren of Front - Photo © Architonic
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Front Design is known for creating playful, avant-garde objects. Shifting between research-driven and experimental projects, the eponymous Swedish design studio embraces tactile and surprising elements to lend their designs a sense of magic.