Receiving the Designer of the Year 2018 award in Denmark made Lars Vejen incredibly happy and proud. It also opened doors to new projects, the first of which is being shown this February at the Stockholm Furniture Fair 2019. A new chair from new Danish company MOTARASU is born.
Taking their heritage from Danish Modern, Danes usually create new chairs from damped or bended veneer. A completely new chair designed by Lars Vejen and Taijiro Ishiko for a completely new Danish company, MOTARASU, however, is made out of massive wood – one of the things that happens when you fusion a Danish designer and a Japanese designer with their traditions in function and contemplation. The chair, called FLOAT, will be revealed for the first time at the Stockholm Furniture Fair 2019 at the beginning of February.
About the collaboration with Ishiko, Vejen says: ‘The traditions of our two cultures are so compatible yet so different: the Japanese sense of detail and the Danish eagerness to seek perfection in clean functionality. This gives us the perfect opportunity to offer a design to MOTARASU where you can’t really tell where Japan ends and Denmark starts.’
His manufacturer, Mikkel Zebitz, owner and founder of MOTARASU, is just as pleased: ‘The profound knowledge that Lars has on Japan as well as the possibilities and limitations of a material have made this a giving and fulfilling process, where Lars and Taijiro have had functionality as well as aesthetics in mind from the very beginning without compromising their artistic freedom.
Zebitz continues: ‘With the new dining chair, my desire was for it to have a defined, light and artistic expression and Lars and Taijiro truly succeeded with this. Now we are impatient about showcasing the chair and, naturally, hopes are high that it will be a relevant alternative for the international audience. It would be fun if it found its way to one or two restaurants.’
The chair will be available in black/black as well as natural wood combined with the black frame.
Co-work is key
Lars Vejen and Taijiro Ishiko decided to work together on a joint venture they call Studio A27. No financials are involved in their collaboration; they share only the joy of working with one another AND the date and month of their birthday, April 27.
A run-through of Vejen’s activities over the last two years reveals a series of collaborations – anything from a blind people’s association working with brushes to a traditional Japanese way of handling silver and metal. Co-working has become somewhat of a magic tool for him, something that was pointed out when he was awarded Designer of the Year in Denmark in September.
Vejen tells us: ‘I was very happy to hear that one of the focal points of the jury was my ability to join forces with people across nations, businesses and branches. This way of working is endearing to me, and, each time, I detect new methodologies, mindsets and traditions from my collaborators that are inspiring and developing.’.
How to pick your collaboration
If you don’t eat your dinner, you can’t have dessert is what most kids hear at least once during their childhood. It’s a way of saying ‘business before pleasure’ or ‘no bees, no honey’. Lars Vejen is familiar with the expression, but, as his good friend wrote in her congratulations to the announcement of Vejen’s Designer of the Year award, he exceeds knowing the phrase and thereby avoids it.
Vejen’s list of design projects varies from jewellery, lighting and ceramics to furniture, door handles, various building components and even fashion: ‘To be driven by desire and passion works so much better for me than being driven by duty. I know that looking at my portfolio it can be anything from differentiated to messy. That’s in the eye of the beholder. The variation is a manifestation of the essence of how I work: with the people and companies I find interesting, taking on tasks that are challenging and giving me new learning each time.’
Focusing on the variety within his designs, he continues: ‘The creative challenge is evenly big no matter the scale.’ His collaboration with Taijiro Ishiko for MOTARASU is built on the very same principles.
MOTARASU’s Mikkel Zebitz met Vejen at a lecture in Copenhagen and knew instantly that the two of them had to work together: ‘I was told about the great work Lars had done for and in collaboration with Japanese craftsmen and with the focal point of MOTARASU bringing together Danish and Japanese design, an introduction to Lars with a potential collaboration ahead was obvious. It is inspiring how Lars has managed to create such a broad spectrum of designs in different ranges of products and materials.’