Two Minds One Heart

Färg & Blanche share the same ideas on how to approach design, but through different methods. With a limited edition of a heart lamp for MINI Electric, they continue to question what an object should be and look like. In collaboration with Nordiska Galleriet, the internationally renowned design duo once again combine craft and industry, heart and mind.

Creative use of space, that has been the motto for MINI since the midst of 1959 post-war austerity amid the fuel shortage. MINI broke the rules of car engineering as we knew it by eliminating all things superfluous with their radical car design. When The Forumist was asked to express the same ideal in the sense of how we live our lives, we turned to Nordiska Galleriet for advice. Who did they think MINI should connect with from another world of design that could make this idiom on future living even stronger. How could different expressions come together and flourish as one.

When Färg & Blanche get an assignment they know exactly what they’re looking for, but often the path to get there is very different. A couple both in work and life, Fredrik Färg and Emma Marga Blanche are educated in two contrasting traditions. Emma grew up in France, where theoretical and philosophical artistic training took precedent early on. Up here in Scandinavia, we tend to get a more practical schooling. Could these different cultures make for a compelling match? ”We’re always interested in showing the craftsmanship, almost getting a tailored feel, even though our products are industrially and practically produced. Making a visible connection between craft and industry,” says Fredrik Färg.

Their new collaboration with MINI: A limited edition of the Heart Lamp, is a great example of that vision as heart and mind combine for a holistic solution. In short, you could describe it as mouth-blown glass in a brass basket. A lamp that is rechargeable and pillowy – a little like MINI. But it’s also a living form, in various sizes, due to an interesting family history. “Recently we did an exhibition that we called “The Bakers’ House” in Emma’s families’ old house in Stockholm, where they used to run a very large crispbread factory in the 19th century. The heart lamp came from that experience and seemed to connect with spirits from Emma’s family history. The heart lamp is truly a pulsating spiritual little thing. A living form. Free, ” Färg elaborates. Now they have developed ”the heart lamp” even further with MINI.

It’s been more than 10 years since the couple first met after exhibiting at Greenhouse, Stockholm Furniture Fair. Soon after they were both invited to an exhibit in Berlin and decided to travel together, which ultimately started their relationship. In 2011 the couple curated an exhibition at Biologiska Museet featuring 20 international designers and with that successful affair a partnership ensued. “Fashion is something we both take great interest in – in some ways more than design. Things move much faster in that world than in ours. It is somehow less conservative”, Färg explains. When we meet they just took part in an exhibit at A/D/O in Brooklyn – a creative space and an innovation practice at MINI that represents the company’s core belief that designers hold the keys to progress. ”MINI is one of the few brands in the car industry that does the same things as us. From a design aspect, our lamp and MINI seem to talk to each other. Similar shapes, a similar oneness.”

Färg & Blanche are driven by interesting collaborations and this one with MINI and Nordiska Galleriet suits them perfectly. It is here, in this prestigious classic boutique Nordiska Galleriet, that a limited edition series of the ”heart lamp” for MINI Electric will be exposed in a specially designed installation by the artists themselves. “Few dare to do interesting stuff but both MINI and Nordiska Galleriet are great examples of the opposite”, says Färg. For over 100 years Nordiska Galleriet has been a destination for modern design. It is in many ways a Swedish institution, but one who wants to challenge what design is suppose to be. A philosophy that they share with Färg & Blanche. Rickard Liljeros, at Nordiska Galleriet, explains: “We’ve had our eyes set on Färg & Blanche for quite some time now. They are a Swedish design duo that really has made a name for themselves internationally, and that is something that is important for us: to collaborate with Swedish designers who have a global audience. We want to challenge how a place like ours should behave, and they challenge what a well-known object should be. Like in this case: what is a lamp? Where does it fit?

We live on a planet where different worlds need to inspire each other. Collaboration as a natural part of our everyday life. Something resulting in true innovation. For a car manufacturer and an artist to work together on a project for creative living would have seemed rather unusual just a few year ago. Today, it is just another example on how we grow stronger together. Creating oneness.


Team Credits:

Words by Tor Bergman
Photography by Johan Nilsson
Styling by Natalie Olenheim
Special thanks to MINI and Nordiska Galleriet

Fashion Credits: 

#1 Fredrik wears black pants & grey shirt by J. Lindeberg, checkered jacket by Hope
#2 Emma wears black dress & shirtdress, by J. Lindeberg, jacket by Hope
#9 Emma wears black dress & shirtdress, by J. Lindeberg, jacket by Hope, earrings by Jane and Sophie Jewelry
#10 Fredrik wears black trousers & shirt by J. Lindeberg, checkered jacket by Hope, shoes are Fredrik’s own
#12 Fredrik wears grey shirt by J. Lindeberg, checkered jacket by Hope
#13 Emma wears black dress by J. Lindeberg, jacket by Hope
#14 Fredrik wears grey shirt by Oscar Jacobson, denim jacket by J. Lindeberg
#20 Fredrik wears grey shirt by J. Lindeberg, checked jacket by Hope; Emma wears black dress & shirtdress by J. Lindeberg, jacket by Hope