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Those Southern Swedish Design Genes

Designer-curator Kajsa Willner reps Southern Sweden with ‘What’s Your DNA,’ an exhibition that celebrates the creative identity of the Scania region

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Text by Rab Messina

After a successful run during the past edition of the Dutch Design Week, Kajsa Willner’s What’s Your DNA is heading back home. The exhibition, which features the work of nine designers from the Scania region, is now open in Malmö’s Form Design Center.

“Evaluating the designers’ varied forms of expression and profiles in terms of their genre, taste, material usage and approach creates a dynamic in the exhibition, in which each work is showcased individually whilst also contributing to a clearly multifaceted whole,” explained Willner.

What’s Your DNA features work from outstanding local representatives in the varied fields of fashion, furniture design, conceptual design, industrial design, crafts and glass art. Their common denominator? “In addition to great talent, it’s the strength to forge their own path and a stubborn conviction that everything is possible,” added the curator.

There’s the work of Andréason & Leibel, a studio just outside Malmö working with furniture and lighting commissions as well as unique studio pieces. Glen Baghurst creates furniture and objects through a collaborative relationship with craftspeople —for example, for this show, he worked together with a factory that has been making church bells for more than three centuries.

Hanna Hansdotter focuses on object based on the traditions of glass blowing. Interdisciplinary designer Jenny Nordberg searches for alternatives to mass production with brutalism-inspired proposals, while Naemi Gustavsson is driven by the same sustainable search in her clothing studio.

Kunsik Choi turns observations of people’s daily lives into fodder for his cabinetmaking practice. Furniture designer Ola Giertz explores the timeless qualities of design, while Stoft Studio explores the effect of movement and sound on the objects they create. Sara Robertsson left Swedish brand Weekday to start her eponymous jewellery brand, with designs that marry poetry and clean cut lines in an organic minimalist style.

The exhibition, in turn, challenges these nine names to “image their DNA in shape, material and experience.” The response comes in the shape of Hanna Hansdotter’s oddly shaped glass pieces, Naemi Gustavsson’s heat-programmed textiles and Kunsik Choi’s brass “cabinetmaking.”

What’s Your DNA is on display until January 7

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Andréason & Leibel

BLACK HOLLOW Occasional table A play on scenography design. Like traces of an ancient building under a black sky, Black Hollow represents the residues of human DNA after the big apocalypse. HUBBA BUBBA Pendant lamp The art of chewing gum. A hands-on-sculpted pendant lamp, this quintessential lamp shape has a lively surface that is truly personal. 
 Photo by Petra Bindel
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Glen Baghurst
Orotundo is an imposing minimalist dining table. This solid metal casting inspired by large church bells is made by the master bellfounders at M&E Ohlssons Klockgjuteri. Like the communal chimes of a church bell, this heavy object will enable a crowd to gather, discuss and indulge.
Photo by Petra Bindel
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Hanna Hansdotter
Fading Prints is a series of art glass and vases at the interface of industrial and craft-based practice. The objects explore the borderland between utility objects and art objects. Via a rehearsed production, the objects aim to maintain a unique character and an individual expression.
Photo by Petra Bindel
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Jenny Nordberg
Painting Leather is an exploratory fake leather project. A 300-year-old recipe and method of producing a non-animal leather-like material is translated into a contemporary material and objects. 
Photo by Petra Bindel
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Kunsik Choi
The ForPencil project is a totally minimalist architectural collection for pencils. When people put a pencil into a vase, the angle of the pencil is like sunlight entering a building. The relationship between the sunlight and the architecture is implicitly expressed in units of the smallest scale.

Photo by Petra Bindel
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Naemi Gustavsson
The surfaces of the jacket transform and change when heated, creating constant movement. This concept focuses on how the body impacts the usage of garments. The materials are a mix of organic hemp/cotton and recycled sports materials.
Photo by Petra Bindel
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Ola Giertz
The Never Ending Table is a piece of furniture inspired by geometrical objects and shapes. The circular tabletop reflects in the foot that meets the floor, and the graphic, round form gives the impression of balance and transparency. Rounded softened shapes create a circular table that portrays inspiring, poetic spaces in both public and private settings.
Photo by Petra Bindel
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Sara Robertsson
These pieces all represent the signature organic minimalist style of Sara Robertsson’s jewellery. The pieces are part of the collections SILK, inspired by draping and the flow of fabric representing Sara’s background as a womenswear designer, and SOIL, inspired by organic shapes and the lifecycles of nature.
Photo by Petra Bindel
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Stoft Studio
WHITTLE AWAY Cabinet BLANK Side table Like the bark of a tree or layers of flaking old paint, the skin of the object slowly parts, releasing something new and unspoilt. At once both ancient and newborn, the colourful pattern tells a story of grandparents’ crafts and modern minimalism in a sort of cross-fertilised, ambiguous DNA.
Photo by Petra Bindel
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