Form & Refine is a Danish interior and design brand, which aims to form and refine the purest materials in sustainable way and to put materials, form and quality equally first.
Form & Refine was founded in 2018 by Helle Herman Mortensen, Jonas Herman Pedersen and Lasse Lund Lauridsen. The label is based on vision to create something with high values and great materials, showing a huge respect to our earth uniting all these ideas in a uniques design philosophy.
I am so happy to welcome Helle Herman Mortensen here today and to find out more about the young label.
Dear Helle, please tell us how did you 3 come together?
Jonas and I am a couple. We started Herman Studio back in 2012 after we got our first girl. In 2015 we met Lasse at Salone de Mobile in Milan. He was working for Skagerak and we have just designed a new collection for them. During the exhibition we talked a lot and quickly find out that we communicated very well. After the fair Lasse worked as a advisory board for our study, having focus on sale and the commercial part.
Photo credit: @Form & Refine ~ Jonas Herman Pedersen, Lasse Lund Lauridsen, Helle Herman Mortensen, the founders and owners
How did you get the idea of creating your own company?
Lasse and his girl friend went to South America in 2017 for six months, including three months in Bolivia. Here they met alpaca farmers and learned a lot about the culture, the craft related to alpacas and how important animals are to Bolivians. That touched them very much and reflected their perspective. At the same time we (Jonas and I, Herman Studio) met Michael here in Denmark. He owns Damsbo Forrest in Denmark and had a vision about using the high quality wood to create long lasting furniture. Knowing that managing the forest and giving the trees the best conditions for growing, wood is one of the most sustainable materials to use in the production of furniture, it was a dream for us as furniture designer to bring that story to life.
Lasse and us had cooperated before and after these different reflections it quickly became clear that we wanted to tell the stories in a common philosophy: In Praise of Materials. – To bring out designs that tells the story about great materials and local craft traditions. We intent to keep the production near the sources in order to take care of the environment and because we truly believe that the most skilled craftsmen to handle the production of our products is best found in the nation of origin of the materials.
Is there a division of tasks between you 3?
There is a clear division, which is underlined by our location. Lasse is in charge of sale, together with Amalie in Munich. Jonas and I runs the creative department in Ry, Denmark. Jonas main focus is on Design (Furniture) and product development. My focus is on the overall visual identity, marketing and textile and accessories design.
Could you please describe your brand in 3 words?
Materials, Form and Sustainability
What is your source of inspiration?
We see design as a creative expression but just as importantly as functional objects. In our opinion, that is the foundation for long-lasting design; items that age beautifully and refine through generations. The design process often starts by studying construction methods which plays a central role throughout the entire design process. The workshop has therefore grown a natural part of the studio.
Which of your own products you don’t want to miss in your own home?
The Damsbo Dining table. It brings a great story about the wood from Damsbo Forrest. It is tactalic to touch, it gather us as a family, for lunches, for talks, for creative small projects with our two girls (Jonas and I are a couple and have two small girls) and for social dinners with friends and family. It is a large table that invites for many different situations and it has a central place in our house, between kitchen and sofa area.
The table is in solid oak, so scratches, colors and other signs of the life lived around the table we do not see as scars, but more as patina. And if it becomes too much we can always sand and oil it.
Could you please tell a little bit about Alcoa collection?
The aim of the Alcoa line has been to walk a tightrope of contrasts. The taut, geometrical design expression challenges the organicness of the clay. However, the slightly gritty exterior reminds us of the tactility of nature versus the sleekness of that which is man-made. It was imperative for us to create products that were visually tight but retained a tactility that could convey our reverence for the material’s natural properties. In fact, the theme throughout the Alcoa ceramics line has been to navigate within a space of contrasts. Straight and simplistic lines from the Nordic design language combined with soft and rounded shapes of a southern design temperament.
The inside of the Alcoa ceramics has a lustrous glazing, in part to make it 100% waterproof but also to underline the contrasting exterior which has a raw glaze. The slightly gritty surface serves as a reminder that nature is ever present.
The Alcoa line is designed in the Alcobaca district in Portugal. The region has a natural richness of fine white clay which has cradled a strong pottery culture and skilled craftsmen.
What do you wish for your company in the coming years?
We aim to bring new stories about new sustainable materials, but we also wants to keep focus on the great materials we use and the design we have brought to life. We do not want to bring many new products every year. But instead keep focus on a few well designed items.
We dream about expanding collaboration across businesses.
Thank you so much for being my guests today. This is a very interesting journey you had so far and I wish you a lot of beautiful adventures with Form & Refine in the future.
All the best from France,
Arminka aka Petit Sourire
In collaboration with Form & Refine