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In Conversation with Inoda + Sveje

Internationally acclaimed designers of the DC09 chair, Kyoko Inoda and Nils Sveje effortlessly combine the timeless appeal of Scandinavian design with the innovative functionality of Japanese furniture. Since founding their design practice in 2000, the duo has gone on to design pieces that transcend the fields of furniture and innovative design concepts.

Great Dane sits down with long-time friends and collaborators, Kyoko + Nils to discuss the harmony and humanity behind Inoda + Sveje.


Both of you were trained in architecture. What drew you to furniture design?

Kyoko: We both deeply appreciate the architectural process as it is generally very contextual, however, were drawn to physically interacting with the world around us, hence designing and crafting objects.


Tell us about your drawing process and the way you start thinking about new designs?

Nils: We have a strictly description-based conceptual phase, by this, we talk through the concept by describing its values in words, and only when we sense a firm and common grip of the intended values do we start putting it on paper, this process helps us create a strong base for the design and detailing.


Your furniture designs have particular attention to detail like no other, can you talk about where you draw your inspiration from, in particular for the DC09?

Kyoko: We are inspired by the construction process and the way a master craftsman interacts with his or her material and tools. What we find most interesting is how craftsmen work differently using the same material and we wish to design each piece to the specific context and craftsperson making it.

The curves of the DC09 are to mimic nature, like trees bending under heavy snow. This kind of instruction can only be realised by finding the perfect manufacturer, in this case only rural Japanese makers, Miyazaki would do.

Miyazaki is a carpenter like no other in this world and the original idea was to make contemporary furniture that would use the best of Miyazaki's skills. It was designed to be a chair that you could not make without contemporary tools such as CNC machines, but neither without the knowledge of traditional carpentry. Initially, the chair was more conventional than the final result, but we kept pushing each other, and the result you already know.


"The curves of the DC09 are to mimic nature, like trees bending under heavy snow."


Organic forms are recurrent in your work. There is a lot of curvature, texture, natural shapes, and play with balance. How do you work together and come to design conclusions?

Nils: We interpret minimalism in the way natural systems behave to hone the world around us...and not as simple straight lines - think of it like the way sand is deposited in the desert. This is our design language and we wish for our pieces to have ingredients of familiarity and comfort. Naturally, it is also of great importance that our furniture is ergonomically correct and organic shapes are helpful in that regard.


Are you able to reflect on your journey working with Great Dane thus far? Why you decided to work with us?

Nils: Great Dane has chosen to represent us and we feel very privileged for this, from the very start Anton was very positive and engaging and we are happy to contribute whenever possible, as it all feels like one big family.


Are there any other materials that you are keen to start experimenting with?

Nils: We have lately ventured into the world of cane weaving and upholstery. There is so much to learn from the skilled craftsmen in these fields...but we are working on it.


Are you able to reflect upon your last visit to Australia with Great Dane? Were there any memorable moments from the trip?

Kyoko: It was first of all very energizing to meet the extremely positive team and get direct feedback on everyone's experiences with our furniture - a very important ingredient for us in future works. We enjoyed staying in the Great Dane Apartment which felt like being blessed with the king’s castle. There was a wonderful joy in everything they do and a sense of being part of one big family.



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