Collaborating with international brands including La Cividina, Cappellini, DePadova and IKEA, Swedish design studio Form Us With Love describe themselves as ‘design-led investors’. The eight-strong collective have approached their designs more as travelling tales of experimentation, challenges and learning curves since they started out in 2005. Their ten-year design story was recently told in the form of an exhibition during Stockholm Design Week at Konstakademien, the country's Royal Academy of Fine Arts.
Titled 'I-X', the show delved into the studio’s ethical ethos of ‘designing real change’; exploring various case studies across an an oeuvre that spans oversized 'Hood' lighting (that creates a private area in a public space) and their work with the Swedish material Träullit (a wooden wool used to make sound absorbing acoustic tiles called ‘Baux’). All of these creations were presented as a dossier on the walls of the academy, showing how each design has solved a logistical problem.
For example, their 'Janinge' chairs for IKEA – conceived with the remit of durable affordability – set the studio on a two year investigation into creating furniture with progressive materials and dynamic shaping (at an IKEA pricepoint). The final products from all of their design trials – including their newest collection of high sofas and chairs for +Halle and a 2012 set of watches for Petrus Palmér and Ola E Bernestål – were on show throughout the exhibition.
'The design industry as a whole has matured,’ explains studio co-founder John Löfgren about their decade-long revolution. ‘A new, stronger strategic sense is prevailing – as if the "yet another product" designers, who were around when we first started, have finally been outgrown.’
Unlike a lot of other retrospectives, the installation didn’t just bathe in self-appreciation but addressed issues that have arisen in the studio's journey. 'This exhibition,' concludes Löfgren, 'is about the lessons we’ve learnt.' The team are also celebrating their decade of design with the release of an accompanying book of their accomplishments, available for purchase.