Stockholm-based designer Mattias Stenberg was awarded the Nova Award for 2013, recognizing him as the best young Nordic designer of the year.
It was Stenberg's "style brimming with confidence" that captured the attention of judges including established Scandinavian tastemakers like designer Monica Förster.
Though it's been just three years since Matthias Stenberg, born 1975, launched Studio Vision he's already making a bold mark on contemporary Scandinavian design with products for Design House Stockholm, Offecct, Olby Design, Gallery Pascale, and more.
I caught up with Mattias to discuss his obsessions with reduced shapes, green glass, and grandma's sweets.
Congratulations Mattias! How would you describe your unique style?
I spend a lot of time trying to reduce any product I work with down to just the bare bones lines that are needed. It's what I call reduced shapes. And then I try to combine that with an honest and assertive use of material. This is quite evident in the Demi Lamp [for Design House Stockholm] for example.
How did the Demi Lamp come together?
It started out as a great love for glass as a material. I wanted to make, say, the modern art glass. A new type of art glass. I feel strongly that the new art glass has to be a functional glass, it can't just sit on the shelf and look pretty. You need to be able to have a relationship with that product monday through friday basically, and what's better than a lamp in this dark country of ours?
The color is refreshing too. It's unusual to see that shade of green in a lamp. Was that your choice?
That was all my choice, yes. I'm in love with this shade of green actually. I call it Sarpaneva green after Timo Sarpaneva, a Finnish designer. He had a long career in the glass and ceramics field mainly, and in the 50's he introduced a green color in bottles he called Bird, I believe. I find it refreshing today as well to have that sort of green with some dirt in it. Colors that aren't so clear.
We're not the only ones. I understand from Design House Stockholm that your lamp has been one of its top sellers since it launched last year.
Yes, it's been a very good seller. We're hoping it's going to be around for a long time, but it's been very well received so far.
And what is this product with Gallery Pascale that you're launching today?
I have a solo show at the Gallery Pascale here in Stockholm for the next 4 weeks, and we decided to launch a new product for that show. Glass is very close to my heart so I wanted to continue working with that material for multiple reasons. Gallery Pascale also has a history in glass manufacturing so it just felt appropriate.
The La Pomme bowls really began with my wife's grandmother. She had a wooden bowl and inside it she always had candy. It was my favorite candy as well, Jungfrubröst. Don't translate that into English directly! It's a sort of raspberry gumdrop. I have such a warm feeling in my stomach remembering her and that bowl of candy. It was always placed on a certain shelf and every time we went there for sunday dinner, the first thing you did was give her a hug and then go straight to the shelf for a piece of candy.
I wanted to start a project with that warm feeling, so i decided to reinterpret that bowl and came up with this one that we call La Pomme. It's a bowl for bonbons, for candy.
So where it looks like the glass is balanced so precariously on top, is that a lid that comes off?
Absolutely. Again we have functional glass. And the handles are just slightly askew to give it that little twist. You have to wonder is that supposed to be that way? Will it stay? You have to be a bit nervous.
We're getting a sneak preview here too of what your coming year looks like. Can you tell us about your prototype chair and when that will launch?
Absolutely. We'll be launching the Bistro Chair for a Swedish producer called Olby Design in a few weeks at the Stockholm Furniture Fair. Olby Design has been around for about 30 years. It was co-founded by Kerstin Olby, a professor in furniture design. She's taking a step back now and the younger generations in the Olby family have taken over. They wanted to kick off this generation shift with a new collection of furniture, so the challenge has been to stay true to the history of Olby which uses wood as a material and crafts it into strong architectural shapes. Whereas Kerstin has worked with much more solid pieces, straight angles, I didn't want to do that. I wanted to introduce something fragile. I wanted to bring in radius somewhere, but still be architectural and sculptural in the expression of the finished piece.
So the Bistro Chair is the first chair that's being launched, and it's going to be followed up by a big brother later on this fall. There's also a dinner table and two sizes of seating benches being launched at the Stockholm Furniture Fair in two weeks time.
As a designer you also have to have your engineering hat on. The Bistro Chair does look fragile. But does it work? Will it hold an American football player?
It will hold a soccer player! If it will hold a linebacker, we'll see (laughs).
But that's very true. As a designer you need to be one-third engineer, one third artist, and one third businessman I believe.
My background actually is engineering. I have a Masters Degree in engineering- a Licentiate Degree in fact here in Sweden, which is two or three years beyond the Masters in Engineering. So that's how I started my career. Then a couple of years back I decided to make a complete shift in life and focus on architecture and designing products. Now I work mainly with product design but also with architectural projects.
It sounds like you have a lot of balls in the air in different areas.
Absolutely. Keeps it fresh!
The Nova prize was established in 2011 by Formex, the largest trade fair for Nordic interior design, along with Swedish interior design magazine Plaza Interiör and Stockholm's Gallery Pascale.
Mattias Stenberg and Demi Lamp at Formex 2014 photos by Tiffany Orvet
La Pomme bowl for Gallery Pascale photo by Anna Kjernsvik / Mattias Stenberg, Demi Lamp detail photo by Design House Stockholm.
Bistro Chair for Olby Design at Formex 2014 photo by Tiffany Orvet. Detail photo courtesy of Mattias Stenberg.
Carry On seat for Offecct photo by Thomas Harrysson