“I don’t need to hang on to the term ‘product designer’, and I’m quite into cross-disciplinary thinking. But the most important thing is that my designs are functional. They should be practical and there must be a clear goal with my final designs. Concurrently, there must be a tactile story in my designs. The materials ought to tell a story in some way, a story you can’t tell with words. It’s like the poetry of form and shapes,” says Laura Bilde.
Bilde is a Copenhagen-based designer who began her career just a few years ago. Despite this, her newest designs, the Kanso series, was part of an undergrad graduation project that currently seems to be days away from becoming viral, when it comes to attention from international design blogs.
The young designer is someone to watch in the future, no doubt about that. And she’s currently employed at the Danish studio Norm Architects, where there’s a good chance that she will continue to be noticed. This was evident when Bilde took home an award as the year’s Upcoming Designer at the Design Awards 2016 in Copenhagen. Notwithstanding, she has an inherent humbleness.
“It’s quite demanding to come up with something new these days. A lot has been designed, and you must outmatch yourself as well as thousands of other designers. In this demanding and challenging environment, I believe that experience is the best way to excel. I have also opted out of getting a master’s degree for now, because Norm Architects has given me the opportunity to become a Junior Designer,” says Bilde.
She says she doesn’t have a fixed style that she applies to all her designs, because they all have different starting points. She likes the flexibility and not having to work within the same framework. At the same time, Bilde didn’t start off by choosing a specific style to have as a designer.
“I feel that I’ve become more of a minimalist and have grown an urge to simplify my designs, so that they can have a longer lifespan. I guess my portfolio reflects a typical and natural journey for any architect or design student. When I look at my older colleagues in the field I can see that they have gone through a similar transformation during their first years,” says Bilde.
When designing, Bilde juggles with three key words that characterize her process. Sometimes she takes a starting point in something purely aesthetical. Perhaps a random shape drawn on a piece of paper will be the sculptural basis for a new design that should be combined with a certain type of functionality.
“To get the right mix between sculpture and a functional furniture piece I use my sense of tactility, focusing on the craftsmanship and materials that will create the connection between sculpture and function. So, ‘sculptural’, ‘tactile’ and ‘functional’ are my keywords,” says Bilde.
Removing layers of superfluous detail is another focus point of Bilde’s work. This is present in many designs, including the above-mentioned Kanso series, which comprises a lounge sofa and a tray table.
“I concentrate a lot on simplicity now, boiling down the actual form to its absolute minimum. In this process, I collaborate with an experienced cabinetmaker, who has a lot of know-how that I can draw on. Speaking of the ability to draw on other people’s competencies, I’ve been confirmed a lot in doing so lately,” says Bilde and ends:
“I don’t know where I’ll be in five years’ time, but I have a plan about doing what I love and having fun while doing it. I just want to be better at what I do. Then hopefully the rest will come.”