UnnaTrä is a label created by three talented young designers Wei, Ting and Dave and is based in Sweden. The products they create are unique and beautiful, like the mirror Satellit.
“We wanted to create a mirror that can be mobile to carry around in the home environment, plus it can be freely rotated to different angles while using. The shape is minimalistic which leaves the pure functionality and simple aesthetics to the product. Sweetheart sputnik edit by Haruki Murakami”
I am happy to meet the creators behind UnnaTrä today! Welcome to their wonderful universe!
Photo credit: @UnnaTrä ~ Dave, Ting and Wei, the founders
How did you 3 come together?
We all studied HDK (School of Design and Crafts at University of Gothenburg / Göteborgs universitet Högskolan av Design & Konsthantverk) master degree program in Sweden.
Dave and I were in the same campus (HDK Steneby) and we studied the Wood Oriented Furniture Design program. Ting was in Gothenburg city campus and she studied Design program.
We did not know each other back in Taiwan, Dave was working in retailing vintage Nordic furniture and Ting was working as a product designer, and I was working in the Art and Craft field. We met in the school exhibitions and we decided to work together afterwards. We share the same cultural background and we want to interpret Scandinavian aesthetics based on our learnings and knowledge. We believe the sparkle between West and East will be a lot of fun.
Flip, the poster hanger
“There is often some off-cuts material laying in our workshop, and we would really like to use them in a good way. We came up with the idea while finding a good color stick matching a poster. We found a regular poster hanger with one fixed material and color. In this product, we provide a simple idea which is two types of solid wood (light and dark color) joined together, and the user can choose their preferred material to go with their beloved poster.”
How did you get the idea of creating your own company?
Each design studio got its own characteristic identity, which came from individual experiences or interests. By creating our own company, we have the flexibility to work in various practices and to develop our branding. Not just for representing us as product designers, but also to discover and explore what we are and what we want.
The fun fact is we all need to have a self-employed visa which is by having our own company to meet the visa permit requirement.
Each of us works individually as free-lance designers. The premise in Lammhult has drawn us together and initiated the idea to start up the brand – unna trä. It is a shared workshop where we design and make fun stuff together. Lammhult in Smaland has a close relationship to producers and suppliers.
What is your source of inspiration?
Our inspiration comes from our various interests in many fields, mostly related to Art, Craft and Design. A concept can be developed from a book, a sentence from a poem, daily reflection of the surroundings… etc. A detail could come from traditional craft techniques, shapes from nature, artistic expression… etc.
Sometimes it takes just a blink of eyes to catch the idea and it could be developed to a design in a very short time. We are currently developing a project based on Swedish folk art and traditional furniture.
Could you please describe your brand in 3 words?
Enjoyable Unconventional Diversity
Is there a division of tasks between you 3?
Since Dave and I have a more wood oriented profession, our work takes place in the wood workshop while Ting focuses more on concept developing and visual communication. But everyone is involved and contributes along the whole process. We think it is really nice to have different perspectives and so we can learn from each other.
Which of your own products you don’t want to miss in your own home?
Ting: It is not easy to make choices. Everyone is our baby and I need to have them all!
Dave: Träffa vase and Satellite. I can change the vase combination to go with my mood. Satellit can be tackled from any angle. I like that it has a strong personality which speaks up its existence at home.
Wei: I actually have all of our products placed at my home. Soon, I will have to move to a bigger apartment for more upcoming products 🙂
Plocka ljud, the mushrooms
“We often go into the woods to pick up mushrooms in late August or early Autumn. When our friends from the city visit us, we bring them to hunt mushrooms. It is a pleasant moment to soak oneself in sunshine passing through forest logs and laying on fluffy green carpet. Drinking a cup of coffee and having dessert (Fika) to take a short break from hiking. We once brought along a guitar with us and were trying to create some beats for the song. Then the idea took place to design mushroom maracas! The outcome is a simple instrument with various outer mushroom shapes made by free-hand woodturning techniques, and with an inner hole where you can put in beans or seeds. Plocka ljud is a product that reflects forest exploration. Each time we explore forest, it gives us different experiences.”
Is there any story connected with UnnaTrä you would like to share with us?
There are many 🙂 For exaple, we participated in a competition to present our products. It did not specifically mention how many products we should bring with us. In the end we had to present 4 products within 3 minutes, and we won the competition.
Our first time production of 100 pcs Satellit was amazing! We had to source all the needed material and figure out the product development within 3 weeks.
In order to build the workshop, we have to constantly checking auction site for cheaper second hand machines and material.
Last but not least, the inspiration behind Plocka is from picking mushroom experiences.
Träffa, the vase
“We love plants and flowers. In the Swedish summer time, we can find many types of flowers along the road or in my landlord’s garden. It is a bit annoying to find a right vase for all the flowers with different heights. That triggered the makers’ determination of making their own vase. We came up with a modular design that consists of different geometry shapes, so that the users can assemble with the shapes they want. And we intend to have other materials meeting together to give a playfulness on the vase. For example, a glass ball as a top part or a ceramic base with wooden top. ‘Träffa’ means ‘meeting’ or ‘visiting’ in Swedsih. With the name, we expect that not only meet different materials, this vase could also gather artists together.”
What do you wish for your company in the coming years?
Despite Covid-19 having caused much inconveniences and downsides, we are excited to say that we will have 2 design collaborations and several products launching this year. This year we move from small objects to bigger furnitures.
We have been thinking a lot around the pandemic situation and what it will affect in our home environment.
There will be a bench, stool, lamp and room divider.
We were planning to have an open studio this year. But now we will reschedule this to next year.
And we are planning to have courses and workshops regularly to spread the joy of working with wood.
We are preparing a product launch show, it is hopefully to be held in the winter. Stay tuned!
Thank you so much for this interesting interview! I wish you all the best for the future! We will keep in touch:-)
Sunny greetings from France,
Arminka aka Petit Sourire
In collaboration with UnnaTrä