There is little doubt that Alexander Lervik is one of the most active and current of all the Scandinavian designers. Alongside Stockholm Furniture Fair, he has an exhibition at Sven-Harry’s Art Museum, where he is exhibiting 12 objects inspired by different art forms in the borderland between art and design. He is working with several of the companies taking part in the fair and we meet up with him on Design House Stockholm’s stand, where he has a number of new products, including lamps, a clothes rack and a chair, to name but a few. The chair is special – it is called Terra and it upends the whole production process.
“The idea behind it is ‘one chair, a thousand factories’, with local production all over the world. The aim is to create the world’s most eco-friendly chair, with a focus on the fact that wood is the most environmentally friendly material and the problem with mass producing wooden furniture is the distribution. We are eliminating that by producing locally across the globe.”
That sounds difficult.
“Yes, but the hopeful part is that it all comes down to how we think. It is possible to turn everything on its head. There are thousands of areas to do this in. What we’re doing is actually quite a simple thing. There are going to be many problems along the way, but we have to give it a try.”
Terra is a brilliant and bold way of tackling environmental problems. What is your responsibility as a designer when it comes to these issues?
“It’s massive. We have to begin fundamentally changing society. Going back not that many years, a designer would often create one product for a company, and that was about it. Over the past five to ten years, there’s been a kind of competition between the biggest stars in the design world to launch the most new products each year. We can’t carry on like that. Over the long term, we have to work on products that last. There’s no other option.
“An environmental approach shouldn’t be part of my brand. Doing the right thing should be embedded in the DNA of companies. It should be second nature. The world is beginning to wake up at last!”
Is there a lot of talk about sustainability in the industry?
“Yes, every company is working on this, and if they’re not, I don’t want anything to do with them.”
Final question: what does Stockholm Furniture Fair mean to you personally?
“It means so much, and it just gets better and better every year. You hear about all the visitors who come here from overseas because there is such a good concentration of exhibitors and the quality of the fair is so fantastically high. For me, it’s like a week-long industry party, where you get to meet all your colleagues and enjoy the best in the business. It’s the big event of the year!”