Born at SaloneSatellite

11 February 2019

Gam Fratesi

Gamfratesi studio, based in Copenhagen, was founded in 2006 by danish architect Stine Gam and italian architect Enrico Fratesi.

2008, the year in which you took part in SaloneSatellite with the Masculo chair, produced the following year by Gubi (and still listed in its catalogue), seems light years away if you count all the many designs and products you’ve created since then. How has your design approach, which was sophisticated and committed to revisiting cultural typologies and traditions, changed?
In actual fact, not much has changed in terms of work method and passion in carrying it out.
The studio works with many important international companies and tackles projects that are probably much more complex than a few years ago, but that was not why we decided to increase the size of the studio, we remain firmly committed to building an intimate practice, made up of just a few collaborators with Stine and Enrico following every project closely. Certainly the cultural contrasts are part of a process that never stops, but does evolve. Revisiting typologies is extremely interesting, people change their way of life and the typologies are ”updated” with contemporary society in mind.

Who chooses who? You or them?
Let’s say that at the moment we are lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a lot of interesting invitations.
In collaborations, there has to be an understanding, and we always hope that it’s not just connected to one product but to a long-lasting relationship.

You design useful and basic products that have always had a powerful poetic charge. What do you see as contemporary furniture demands? In other words, what do we want things to do? What do you think is crucial in the things we surround ourselves with?
It’s hard, but ideally objects should be in equilibrium with us and with our space, so there isn’t necessarily a catchall answer to what ”we want things to do.” Personally we prefer design that embraces both simplicity and character, functional yet losing none of its poetry.

In Copenhagen in particular, the city in which you live, you have also carried out interior design projects for public places. Sociality is a very live issue for our times, possibly mostly virtually, so is the ambiance of real places something to be underscored and restored? Your designs place great emphasis on building this naturally and not forcedly.
We start from the human perspective, not that of the object, we analyse behaviours no matter how simple, to help create intimate spaces like microarchitectures. It’s not easy, but we try …

You also create displays. These take you all over the place, including a famous fashion house. It’s the ephemeral that has to leave a mark, sometimes only for the duration of an event and sometimes just a few days longer. It’s a fascinating field, how do you tackle it?
Probably from the point of view of the narrative. For displays the narrative has to take centre stage. Unlike a product that has to last for many years, not just in terms of use but also in terms of changing lifestyles, displays – which can also only last a few days – but we can contribute an intense experience, albeit very brief, that will make a deep impression on visitors during their short visit but stay with them for a long time.

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