Form & Function with Carina Seth Andersson
Carina Seth Andersson has come to be recognised as one of the most distinctive Swedish designers today. Her work employs principles of simplicity and functionality, resulting in glass and ceramic pieces with a timeless quality. Great Dane sits down with Carina to discuss her process and a new collection with Malmö Porslin.
Tell us about your studio in the centre of Gustavsberg, what is the Stockholm archipelago?
My studio is in the old Gustavsbergs Porcelain Factory outside Stockholm city in Stockholm. The Stockholm archipelago it’s a lot of islands, small and bigger in the sea.
How does your day begin in the studio? Do you have particular rituals to get into the creative mind frame?
The days look very different and always depend on what kind of work I’m supposed to be doing. I work as a designer but also in other craftsmanship including glass and clay. For me, it’s very important that I use my stand and use my body, so often I start my mornings in the studio by making some tea and building some pots. After that, I can start to work with some other work.
Where do you go to find inspiration? What places are important to you and what is it about those places/things that inspire you?
I think you can find inspiration from anywhere, but for me, this happens mostly when travelling or visiting new places. Everyday objects are the most inspiring for me I think, like a stool or a teapot or a knife or a cup you can drink from. Perhaps that is why Japan has been really important to the way I look at things and objects. It can be ugly but beautiful at the same time. Of course, nature is so important too. To be inspired by and spend a lot of time in.
Utility in design and balancing proportions are instrumental in your design process. Can you talk a little more about this and why it is so important in your work?
Balance is everything, but it can’t be too perfect. For me, there has to be a little bit of something that disturbs perfection. Proportions need to rub a little so that there is something in the form that is skewed. It is easy for an object to become boring and too perfect can easily be boring.
You recently collaborated with Malmö Porslin on a collection of vases. Can you explain the design intention and inspiration behind these pieces?
The design of the vases plays on the same kind of simplicity as Mälmo Porcelin's dining collection. A simple semi-circular shape with generous proportions at the bottom to accommodate large branches or generous wildflowers when filled with water. The smaller vase is beautiful to decorate hanging branches out over the table or celebrating the first smaller spring flowers, but both of them act as some kind of container to enhance the beauty of nature…
Glassblowing is a very hands-on process, does the unique nature of each individual outcome reflect in your final pieces?
Glass is not for everyone. It is very hands-on and extremely hot. You need to be calm and be able to slowly move your hands whilst being able to think quickly. For me, the glass workshop is like coming home.
Tell us about your relationship with Skrufs Glassworks, how did you start working with them and what is it about their craftsmanship you value?
Skruf Glasbruk it’s an amazing glass company; a very small, old and familiar factory honing many skills. I like that they are not making art objects, but instead focusing on everyday things and utilitarian objects. I began collaborating with them a long time ago with my series Balja that are still in production. We worked very closely and have a great working relationship. I love being there and working with the team.
What are your favourite moments of Spring, do you forage particular florals to suit your creations?
I love the very first moments of Spring when the leaves slowly grow into nature before they even turn to green. Every year, I love digging a small forest garden at our Summer House in the archipelago. A tradition where you enjoy the fruits of your labour when it's ready for harvest later in the summer.
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