“I was born into this,” says Design House Stockholm CEO Anders Färdig of his work in the design industry. “I had no chance!” His father and godfather helmed venerable Swedish glass companies, and after studying marketing and economics at university, Färdig eventually followed them into the furnishings field. As Scandinavian design found an audience beyond the Nordic lands, his desire to promote homegrown talent—and the simple, practical spirit that guides the family’s work—led to management jobs with Kosta Boda, BodaNova, and Duka before he founded DHS in 1994. “We are trying to take care of international creativity very much like a natural resource.”
Rather than buying cheap things that you don’t really need, I see a general, global trend that people would rather have a few very personal items that they truly love. It has nothing to do with the economy. Companies are beginning to understand that it is more important now to make less, but better. Consumers are responding well.
My daughter was accepted into the opera school last year, and I am longing to sit in the middle of row number five at the Metropolitan and listen to her sing.
When young designers nervously show something for the first time, they generally don’t under-stand how extremely brilliant their ideas are or how to handle them. I know that together we can bring the product to the market. These judgments take place within seconds, but those moments are fantastic.
Responsible outsourcing has allowed us to produce ideas that were impossible in Scandinavia ten years ago because the industry was so slim and it was just too expensive. When our designers (we have 65 working with us) go abroad, there’s this creative magnetism that takes place between them and the craftsmen. That takes the design one step further.
Name of the game:
We are a product dropper, not a name-dropper. This is not a political statement; it is a philosophy.
I’m reading Swedish playwright August Strindberg right now. His sex-ual life was really a mess and it seems he was a terrible man, but he wrote about romance in a way no one else has done.
We put basic products—–that are sometimes just too dull to exist—–in the spotlight. Take, for example, Step, a small ladder by Karl Malmvall. Its brilliance is not necessarily its shape, but instead how it twists the way people choose to use it. It’s beautiful enough to hang it in the hall, to see it every day.
Code of conduct:
Sustainability has changed the market completely. It’s limiting in a way, which can affect the design—–but not negatively. A few years ago no one asked about production. Today, it is a major question, which is great.
There is an interesting connection between handicraft and design in Sweden, which emerged because of the way we live in Scandinavia. We are talking about a part of the world that had been rather isolated, so we are quite interested in products that focus on practicality and function.
When my body leaves to go on vacation, my brain often finds it difficult to follow. I live too close to what I’m doing and am too much in love with my work, which can be a frustration sometimes.
Beyond the sea:
My favorite place is my farm in the southern part of Sweden. It is my platform for meditation. I have been renovating a boat in the barn for 20 years, and that boat will never be ready. It’s so dry that if I ever took it on the water it would sink immediately—and I know that—–but it’s not important. The importance is the smell, the music I play, and the beer I drink. I can sit there doing nothing. I love it.