Art has always been an invaluable source of inspiration for the furniture manufacturer Montana, which is known far beyond the borders of Denmark for their innovative bookcase concept. Through a dialogue with art, the designer draws inspiration for new shapes and colours while finding resources to improve existing products and create new ones.
Peter J. Lassen, patron of the arts and founder of Montana, has worked with landscape and installation artists such as Marco Evaristti and Olafur Eliasson. According to Lassen, it is quite natural in this context to support art through sponsorship and collaboration with performers.
‘At Montana, we have many values in common with the creative artists. Like them, we want to express our visions. The common denominator between the designer and the artist is a curiosity and openness to things that do not yet exist. The designer often thinks in terms of function, while the artist has a creative approach that transcends ordinary everyday life. It is precisely in encounters between art and function that something unique can emerge’, argues Lassen, who believes one must be open and receptive when stepping into this fertile intersection.
‘We give the artists free rein to pursue and unfold their visions. This is the only way to create something new’, says Lassen, referring to a collaboration with professor and artist Bjørn Nørgaard, which led to an organically shaped bookcase that is now in production. Nørgaard is a dear friend of Lassen and Montana, and they are now in the process of creating a work of art: a landmark for arts and culture in Montana’s hometown of Haarby on the Danish island of Funen.
Another example is the company’s collaboration with the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, who experimented with Montana’s GRID system using an infinity principle.
‘The artistic interpretation and the playful approach to the product is something that comes very natural to us because Montana is more than just a functional piece of furniture. The system itself provides for an infinite number of combinations that involves the customers and enhances the users’ creativity’, explains Joakim Lassen, CEO and second generation in Montana.
Montana is constantly focusing on new artistic initiatives. Recently, the company hosted Living Walls Part 2, an event focusing on street art with graffiti artists decorating the well-known shelves.
‘These events demonstrate our desire to strengthen ties to the arts and the creative world’, says Peter J. Lassen, who has supported the arts throughout his career, not only through sponsorships and collaborations but also by supporting galleries and museums.
‘We do it because we sincerely think art plays a significant role in society and because art opens up new opportunities. Over the years, Montana has become a well-known and visionary partner for artists, and we want it to remain that way’, says Peter J. Lassen. He will not discuss future projects, but he promises that more are in the pipeline.