I met Kristina Dam at Home London and again a week later at Maison et Objet in Paris. I was really struck by her work – it’s refreshing to see someone doing something really different in surface pattern design and to see Kristina’s graphic design and architectural background coming across so strongly in all the disciplines she’s working in. I was keen to find out more about her approach…
What’s the most important thing to know about you?
That’s a difficult question! I live in Copenhagen. I started Kristina Dam Studio in 2011. I have a daughter – she’s three years old. I was educated as a graphic designer and worked as a graphic designer for five years before I started my own Studio. I love to travel to cities like NYC, Barcelona, Paris, Berlin, Bangkok – that’s a great source of inspiration for me.
Your work is very bold and graphic – what inspires you?
My background is in graphic design, so much of my inspirations comes from the graphic world like layouts and typography.
Where does your love of architecture come from?
I studied graphic design at the Royal Danish school of Architecture and Design in Copenhagen, and the two first years of my course were more about the architectural way of thinking and playing with dimensions, perspectives and so on. At that time we also had lectures about big architect’s masterpieces, so it must have been at that time that I fell in love with architecture.
Tell me about your design process – how do you get from initial idea to final product?
I get ideas all the time – it is like bits and pieces of everything I see and hear are put together in my head into something new. I sketch a lot and build 1:1 models.
What’s your favourite part of the process?
I love getting new ideas, and I love getting the first prototype from my producers to see my idea in real dimensions and material.
You work across several disciplines – which is your favourite and why?
None is my favourite, I couldn’t do without any of the disciplines, because each one inspires me in a different way. I love doing graphic design, interior design and art, and that is why I establised Kristina Dam Studio. In my Studio I do not have to choose between anything – I can do whatever I like!
Describe a really good day and a really bad day in the life of Kristina Dam.
A really good day is when a graphic identity is done and the customer is happy, when I get my interior samples back from my producer, when I have the chance to open another art exhibition with my collages. I cannot remember a really bad day since I started up my own studio. There are lots of challenges but it’s just a long learning process.
What are you most proud of?
Right now I’m proud of presenting my brand as an interiors brand with bedcovers, tables, sculptures, wall structures etc. In Denmark I’m known for my illustrations, so it’s a big thing for me to be letting my brand be more than illustrations. I think it’s important to design some new stuff that’s never been seen before and challenge people to put a wall structure on the wall instead of just another piece of art in a frame, or do sculptures in limited editions of 100, so people get something unique.
What advice would you give an aspiring designer?
Find your own way of designing and stick to that way.
And finally, what’s your favourite colour?!
That is difficult, maybe it’s black or nude.
Further reading for the especially geeky:
Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.
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