Interview: Solveig Fernlund

© Dean Kaufman

This past year, Arper was proud to collaborate with Solveig Fernlund on developing the space of its first New York showroom. For over a decade, the firm has created both residential and commercial spaces that seamlessly blend living and working spaces. Here Solveig Fernlund shares some of the inspiration behind Arper’s New York showroom.

What is your approach to architecture?
If I am working in an existing space I try to bring out what is inherently there, the structure and natural light. I like the Swedish word “formgivare” (formgiver) as it implies the solution is there waiting to be brought to out. In cities, interior spaces becomes a substitute for nature, a refuge from the busy streets outside, a place of tranquility, but also activity and inspiration, a kind of man made nature. Every project needs to take into account future changes. For this reason, it is essential that the design process is collaborative process and to have a very open dialogue with the client.

© Dean Kaufman

Where do you find inspiration?
In nature and art. but, most of all music because it is abstract and expresses things that cannot always be verbalized. It is the most open form of inspiration for me.

What was the concept for the Arper showroom?
The Arper showroom is a beautiful Soho loft which I aimed to open up. The columns and beams are exposed and used to define the different uses. The showroom itself occupies the front and is divided by using a simple system of translucent sliding fabric panels that define separate areas for display while letting daylight float through the entire loft. The staff shares a communal open work area in the back with smaller enclosed areas for meetings and private conversations.

© Dean Kaufman

What design concerns or constraints were present in the project?
I wanted the Arper collection to be able to be presented in individual groupings and vignettes as supposed to seeing all the pieces together in one large room. By using sliding fabric panels the room can change and be set up in many different ways.

How do you interpret the relation ship of architecture and furniture?
It is all part of a whole, one supporting the other. Architecture should be calm and solid and strong, reveal and unfold itself in steps. Furniture can be playful, colorful, sparse or generous, changing according to functions.

© Dean Kaufman

How does a workspace influence the work that is done there?
I like to blur the distinction between commercial and residential and look for the inherent qualities of any given space or place. Creating a workspace is not being very different from creating a living space. Our environment directly influences the work we do and how we feel in a space. The workspace is where most people spend the majority of their time. The feeling when you step into this place should always be warm and welcoming, at the same time clear and free of clutter and distractions. It’s the white page you project your thoughts and it should be free of the anxiety and pace of city life outside. Materials should be forgiving, invite touch and allowed to develop patina over time.

What do you think makes “good design”?
A good ear and strong vision.

Arper Showroom New York
476 Broadway, Suite 2F
New York, NY 10013

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