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"Thomas Bernstrand’s objects are not meant to be placed on a pedestal; they are meant to be used,” remarked Mark Isitt, an architecture and design journalist. He does not mean this in the customary manner. “Not as one usually uses furniture and lamps and flowerpots and coat hangers and notice boards and towel hangers and ladders and everything else he has designed. But more… intensively… You should be able to swing from Thomas’ things. Dance on them. Dismantle them.” That’s quite a statement, and if you are doubting Bernstrand has a playful enough personality to pull it off, consider that the fixtures Global Lighting distributes in the North American marketplace—produced by Swedish manufacturer Zero Interior Lighting—are named Hide and Poker!
That said, creativity is more than a game to the award-winning industrial designer, who founded his eponymous studio Bernstrand & Company. Good Design awards, Red Dot awards, IMM Interior Innovations awards, and Light of the Year awards are but a few of the accolades he’s been handed. Bernstrand studied at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design (Konstfack) in Stockholm and Danmarks Designskole, and has exhibited at Colette in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. “I tend to think that Thomas would have been an excellent actor,” Isitt proclaims. This may be true, but the design world is definitely the better for the fact he chose this career path instead! Wouldn't you agree?
Architect Mattias Ståhlbom’s star rises a bit higher with every fabulous product he designs. The partner in the Stockholm-based studio TAF, which he founded with Gabriella Gustafson in 2002, claims his desire is to make life less ordinary by effecting subtle changes in how products and architecture are designed. Given his philosophy, it is no wonder TAF has gained international acclaim for its portfolio, which includes exhibitions, interior design projects and product design. Ståhlbom’s products have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, and TAF designs are included in the permanent collections of Nationalmuseum in Stockholm and the Danish Design Museum in Copenhagen. We at Global Lighting are excited to bring Ståhlbom’s products to the North American marketplace through our Swedish collaborator Zero Interior Lighting.
Proving that TAF studio fosters a playful spirit, the founders see it as serendipitous that their offices, on Södermalm, are located in a converted bakery. “There is a nice twist to this,” the TAF leaders explain, “as TAF aims to fulfill a similar function as the bakery through its design—one where design isn't seen as superfluous but integrated into society on all levels, like the daily loaf of bread.” Johanna Agerman Ross says of the firm, “The process of tweaking readily available materials and using them in new and innovative ways demonstrates TAF’s preoccupation with context and origin. The references are never overtly obvious, but once you know that plundering the landscape of mass produced consumables is part of TAF’s process, it’s impossible to look at one of its products without thinking: ‘Where have I seen this before?’ The chances are you‘ll never know.” But why would that stop you from being curious?