Oslo-based design studio Anderssen & Voll was founded in 2009 by Torbjørn Anderssen and Espen Voll. Working with brands such as Muuto, &Tradition, Menu and Kvadrat, the studio has made an impressive contribution to the new wave of Scandinavian design. Anderssen & Voll also collaborates with leading brands in Europe, Japan and North America.
Rather than being defined by and confined to a specific way of being, Anderssen & Voll prefer to be open. They develop emotionally-driven designs with an overall desire to create objects with souls. To animate something inanimate. “We’re not dogmatic about it. We’re quite open. We start designing and watch a piece take on its own personality. It’s almost like breathing life into it.”
Hey, Torbjørn! Hey, Espen! Tell us about your work and where your passion comes from?
We find passion every day in the process of bringing something into the world that did not exist before. The design process is quite a magical experience. We love arriving at the moment when an idea gains enough strength to pull the project forward in a clear direction. Then we get hands-on, in the workshop, refining and verifying forms with full-scale models. At the core of our work is the simple joy of making.
That’s beautiful. Using natural materials to provide people with the furniture they need is what we’re all about. What sparks your process? Where do you find inspiration?
We’re really not that concerned with inspiration. We don’t search for it. We find that the most important part of a process is actually just getting started.
Once we’re in the process, anything could spark an idea. For example: when designing a new blanket, it could be a texture on a wall, a part of a facade or a detail on the clothes of a person passing in the street that could inform the design. If you weren’t in the process of designing a blanket you probably wouldn’t recognise that particular texture or detail as important at all; you would probably have no conscious memory of it whatsoever. We never wait for inspiration. If you want to make a soup, we think it’s best to start chopping the onions, or at least put some water in your pot first, then the process will force you to add fresh ingredients and cook something beautiful.
Sounds tasty! How did the Spoke Sofa process start?
Back in 2019, we met with TAKT at your studio in Copenhagen. Henrik, Martin and Nicolai were there. We had a good talk on design and sustainability. There was clearly a personal connection between us and our values – if we feel a connection like that we want to make something together. We were impressed by how seriously you were taking the accountability and sustainability of product design. Creating new products is a responsibility. It must be done sensitively and we trust TAKT to do it in the right way.
How would you describe the design of Spoke Sofa?
Most sofas are upholstered frames standing on legs or sitting directly on the floor, but we have developed Spoke Sofa with TAKT in a completely different way. The wooden structure is entirely exposed, playing a major role in the appearance and experience of the sofa. This posed the challenge to design a modular piece of furniture that would appear to be a unified whole once assembled. We are so happy with the design, which makes reference to classic Danish furniture but has coalesced to create a form that evokes the attitude of contemporary Japanese aesthetics.
How did you find working with our Eco System Design Principles?
We really appreciate working with a brand that is pushing for design to be more responsible. We have integrated these principles into our work as we don’t think “eco design” should be seen as a separate discipline. All design should be eco design.
What part of Spoke Sofa makes you the most proud?
The accuracy of your woodwork is sublime. We are proud that this is a sofa you could enjoy looking at from every angle. It looks particularly good from behind, but you could also take pleasure in looking at it from below! It’s a beautiful thing.