written by:
photos by:
April 6, 2011
Originally published in The Photo Issue
as
Model Behavior

Monica Förster takes a hands-on approach to furniture design. In her Stockholm studio, she whips up a flurry of tiny paper models—”3-D sketches”—that rival their full-scale progeny for beauty and craftsmanship. “The computer is a tool; I can’t do without it. But the nice thing about making models is that in the process of doing, I’m more open to mistakes—maybe I put the tape in a way that I don’t intend, but it shows a new possibility. In a computer everything is perfect. When I make models, it’s intuitive and rough: I take a flat piece of paper, I cut it, I tape it. It’s very quick. I find it very refreshing,” says Förster.

Monica Forster in her Stockholk studio
Swedish designer Monica Monica Förster stands in her Stockholm studio.
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Monica Forster’s studio in a turn-of-the-century building
Förster’s studio is in a turn-of-the-century building that used to be a porn shop. Taking over the space, she says, was “a feminist action.”
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Monica Forster’s Grand sofa paper model
Although Förster favors paper, she occasionally makes models out of fabric, including this foot-long, 2.9-inch-tall Grand sofa. “I wanted it to have an improvised feeling, very casual and sexy looking,” she says.
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Monica Forster’s Vika Chair paper model
The Vika chair was inspired by the braided rivers of far northern Sweden, where Förster grew up.
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Monica Forster’s studio front room and showroom
The studio’s front room is a makeshift showroom, open to the public three days a week. Among the wares on view are Förster’s yellow Cirle lamp, made of bent sheet metal with a matte rubber finish; a mauve Spoon chair, inspired by the shape of Japanese spoons; the Umbrella pendant lamp; Mix bowls and vases, made of crystal and plastic; and three low pieces (from left to right), the Cake table, the Breeze coffee table, and the asymmetrical Drop stool.
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Monica Forster and Björn Kusoffsky exhibition and film about Josef Frank fabrics
Förster recently collaborated with fellow Swede Björn Kusoffsky on an exhibition and film about Josef Frank fabrics.
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Monica Forster floor lamp paper models
“I get a lot of assignments from companies who want something based on ­Scandinavian tradition, but with a fresh kind of poetry.” says Monica Förster. She’s currently developing a series of floor lamps, one of which will be made from resin-molded fabric when final.
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Monica Forster full-scale cardboard chair mock-up
A full-scale cardboard mock-up of a chair reveals its intricate assembly. The designers stacked up magazines below the seat base so they could actually sit on it. "A lot of my designs have movement captured in their form, as if they’re in transition or they’ve stopped on the way to somewhere else.”
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Miniature model chairs by Monica Forster
Förster named this chair the Antelope because “it looks almost like it’s going to jump or run.” Designed for Swedese in 2010, it’s made of ash wood with a fabric or leather seat. At one point while working on the model, she wanted to change the angle of the back. “I just taped it down—very simple.”

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Monica Forster in her Stockholk studio
Swedish designer Monica Monica Förster stands in her Stockholm studio.

For images of Monica Förster's Stockholm studio, please view our slideshow.

 

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