“If you could have invented a flower, what would it be?”
“The tulip! It has a simple design and is available in various colors “
Curved lines, pastel shades, passion for monochrome. A particular fondness for the design of the 60s, 70s and 80s, an eye for the great masters of Scandinavian style and a declared love for the audacity and inventiveness of the Memphis group. The approach to design by Gustaf Westman, the young Swedish designer who lives and works in Stockholm, trained in Architecture and Design at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, is fresh, playful and contemporary. Anyone who would have always liked to have Ultrafragola, the curvy mirror by Ettore Sottsass, will certainly appreciate the panache of the curvy lines of Curvy Mirror, the toy mirror with a simple design, and available in various colors, among Westman’s most successful pieces. Among his most iconic creations, the monobloc sofa, modern, but with a 70s allure, and the line of furnishing accessories which, despite having all the air of being made of whipped cream, is actually covered with an ecological polyurethane foam. With his Scandinavian pop, the designer who “hates luxury” and dreams of quality production at affordable prices seems to perfectly embody the taste of a young generation who, often characterized by a different lifestyle and a lower economic budget than previous generations, he is able to appreciate a design rich in aesthetic and formal values (including simplicity), rather than necessarily material.
In an interview, Gustaf Westman tells us what his sources of inspiration are, his future projects and his idea of design, far from snobbish.
Laura Guarnier: Hi Gustaf. Do you remember the first object you made in your life?
Gustaf Westman: It is difficult to say. When I was little I used to be a designer. I have over 100 sketchbooks with my drawings. The oldest object I still have is a small blue cup where I keep the pens, which I made when I was maybe 10 years old.
Does your research focus mainly on furniture design or is there something else?
I am currently focusing on furniture design. But I studied architecture and in the future I would also like to design buildings. In any case, I am interested in the general idea of design, which I would therefore like to explore in other fields as well. For example, I would love to apply it to fashion.
Where does your imagination draw from? What are your main sources of inspiration, your teachers, the eras that have marked you most?
I would say that the “masters” for me have always been the great Danish designers, such as Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, Poul Kjærholm. Right now, as far as my style is concerned, the main source of inspiration is probably the Memphis Group, but I also look very much at the current reality in which we live.
Is there a philosophy, a guideline in your projects and in your work as a designer?
I try not to impose rules on myself. A few years ago I was more careful to follow the trends of the sector, and the results were more sober, but also more distant from my style. It wasn’t working, it wasn’t me. Now I plan what I feel and maybe that’s why other people also like it more.
Who do you design for? Who is the ideal target who would furnish home with your furniture and objects?
I think I create for myself and for people like me: for anyone who is a little more interested in design. My goal is an accessible, local, small-scale production with a unique design that many can buy. Basically, I hate luxury.
Finally, would you describe your work with 5 words?
Colors, shapes, fun, nature, candies.
The flower – we already know – would be the tulip.
Portrait of Gustaf Westman
An environment designed by Gustaf Westman
Historian of contemporary art, she lives and works in Venice. Contributor for sector magazines, press officer and content creator, she is also involved in the organization and communication of a project of artist residences in Piedmont (Italy).