Wallpaper, the international design magazine, has been producing the Wallpaper Handmade event since 2009. A celebration of teamwork and ingenuity, the event begins when Wallpaper’s editors pair artists and designers with brands and manufacturers to create unique handmade products over a period of four months. These works, which range from furniture to fashion to food products, are then exhibited at Milan’s Salone del Mobile design fair and later featured in the magazine’s August issue.
This year Skagen was honored to be among the 75 brands chosen to participate. Wallpaper selected Japanese industrial designer Koichi Futatsumata as our partner and we were given the brief to create an object reflecting this year’s theme, Food and Drink.
Immediately, Skagen’s chief creative director, Mariza Scotch, connected with Futatsumata and set about conceptualizing their submission. At the heart of their conversation was the ways in which food connects people and cultures. Connecting through food as well as design is at the core of what Skagen stands for. It’s also the concept that led the two designers to conceive the Hygge Board, Skagen’s contribution to this year’s event. Who better to tell this story than the designers who conceived the idea for this hourglass that celebrates food and design, friendship and time?
CREATIVE PATH TO THE HYGGE BOARD
BY MARIZA SCOTCH
“When we were asked to collaborate with a designer we didn’t yet know and who was living in another country, our first goal was to find a common ground to celebrate the theme of Food and Drink in a way that resonated authentically for both of us.
“At Skagen, watch making is woven deep into the soul of the company. Given this, we thought one poetic, powerful approach to the Wallpaper project would be to consider an alternative means of measuring the passage of time. We wanted to measure the act of being in the moment. And the moment we wanted to capture was time spent with friends.
“When we imagine time shared with friends we think of food and drink and warm moments spent around the communal table. Hygge is the Danish word that describes these warm and congenial moments. Naturally we were thinking about how to create this hygge experience in a single object that would beautifully fuse the Japanese relationship to food with the Danish relationship to food, the common ground here being spare presentation paired with beautiful high-quality materials.
“Our idea was to create a food board designed with an hourglass. The hourglass would illustrate time spent with friends. The sand passing through the hourglass would keep us close to the beach, because when we think of Skagen we think of the beach—Skagen is a beach town in northern Denmark. Thus was born the concept we all agreed encapsulated our commonality. We called it the Hygge Board.
“We chose to divide up work on the project according to each team’s experience and affinity with the materials used to create the Hygge Board. Koichi had great expertise working with wood. As the Hygge Board concept speaks to the essence of time and how we experience it, Koichi selected a 20-year-old piece of hinoki wood, which is naturally antibacterial and considered best for food preparation.
“We wanted the hourglass with metal feet to be the visual focus of the piece. Our goal: Find the highest-quality glass manufacturer in the world and use their expertise to create the hourglass enclosure. We found the Swiss glass factory GlasKeller. Along the way we learned that conventional hourglasses don’t use real sand; the grains have irregular shapes that prevent them from moving at a consistent rate. And this worked for us because we didn’t want to measure a precise amount of time. That was the point of the Hygge Board concept. Because we had released ourselves from needing to measure time properly we were able to find the true essence of the project, which was the experience of time.”
CREATIVE PATH TO THE HYGGE BOARD
BY KOICHI FUTATSUMATA
“This was my first time participating in a Wallpaper Handmade project and I was extremely honored and very excited to collaborate with Skagen. I wanted to challenge myself to create something new, something that nobody else had ever made for Skagen.
“As I knew Skagen as a watch brand, my first idea was to create a piece related to food and time, such as a kitchen timer. However, after I learned about the Danish concept of hygge, I started rethinking the larger idea for our product, [and settled on] one that would pair hygge with the notion of time and space.
“My key inspiration came from one picture provided to me by Mariza. In that picture, people are sitting around a table enjoying dinner with family and close friends in a slightly dark space with warm lights. There is a big cutting board in the center of the table for serving cheese and other food. The cutting board made a significant impression on me.
“I understood the idea of the hourglass as a symbolic element representing the passage of time. I wanted to create something that wasn’t pragmatic and ordinary, but abstract and with a story behind it. Since this shape of the hourglass itself is very specific and sensitive, sophisticated technology was needed to create it, especially the flat bottoms and tight-waisted shape. When the industrial designer Marc Newson created his hourglass for Ikepod he worked with a Swiss factory called GlasKeller. I wanted to work with that same factory because I knew they had the technology to do a beautiful job.
“I designed this tall, beautiful shaped hourglass to stand on a big round pedestal made of hinoki, the Japanese cypress. As the size of the pedestal is pretty large, it was difficult to find one solid hinoki board, but we were fortunate to find it in Nara, Japan.
“The cutting board in the picture that inspired me also reminds me of Japanese cutting boards, which we call manaita. Centuries ago it was used for religious purposes in Japan. It is a sacred, consecrated and dynamic object, so I wanted to create a huge and impressive piece for the pedestal.
“The pedestal is heightened by brass. The sand in the hourglass is from the beach in Skagen. The dry sand flows down through the hourglass. In reality it does not measure time accurately, but we wanted people to see the running sands and enjoy the passage of time.
“At first, people may not be able to understand what the Hygge Board is. But by viewing this object, they can feel and imagine how it relates to Skagen as well as the concepts the company stands for.”
The Hygge Board was exhibited in April at Milan’s Salon del Mobile. This August, it will be featured in Wallpaper Magazine. To date, two Hygge Boards have been produced. In the coming months, they will be exhibited at select Skagen stores.
Project: The Hygge Board,
designed for Wallpaper Handmade
Season: Summer 2015
Designers: Skagen + Japanese industrial designer Koichi Futatsumata
Goal: Design an object that speaks to food, friendship and the passage of time while bringing together two cultures
Materials: Sand. Glass. Wood.
Process: Skagen’s chief creative director, Mariza Scotch, collaborated with Japanese industrial designer Koichi Futatsumata on the concept and design of the Hygge Board. Sand used in the hourglass was sourced from the beach at Skagen, Denmark; the hourglass itself was hand-blown by an expert craftsman in Basel, Switzerland, at the GlasKeller factory; hinoki wood, used for the pedestal, was carved by artisans in Nara, Japan.
Product: Standing two feet tall, the Hygge Board consists of an hourglass filled with sand from Skagen and mounted on a wooden pedestal. Conceived as an art piece, it makes reference to the passage of time rather than measuring time precisely.