Case Studies / Pen Store
PEN STORE 2014
Pen store sold pens online, with a loyal audience of creatives and respectable turnover. The company briefed Form Us With Love to create a new retail environment that behaves like an online store, warehouse and atelier. A fully-fledged brand experience.
Rather than erect a partition wall to separate stock from the showroom, the studio bought the two functions together in one space. Displaying the pens on simple, long shelves in clear plastic boxes, they add the only colour to an otherwise achromatic palette. While also provoking visitors to try the pens on the readily-available blocks of white paper, situated through the centre of the store on long, casual tables. Black, ceiling lights calibrated to simulate direct sunlight let the pens show their drawing characteristics and colours, while the checkout counter was signed by an embossed Pen Store logo.
Many might think the impact of bringing a concept founded in the digital realm into a physical reality wouldn’t be such a savvy business move. Yet the success of Pen Store’s concept boutique has not only doubled its revenues (two years over) but manoeuvred the brand into the hearts and minds of artists and creators in its locality, who use it as a hangout—a scenario any boutique would enjoy.
Process / Explore
When we first moved offices in 2011, we were searching for new places to have lunch. One we tried was Bonniers gallery, just down the road (bit of a trek though). While we were there we looked up and looked at the ceiling (a good design tip to look up and down every now and then). The ceiling was like the one we had at school when we were young. But here though, it looked really good somehow. Still not sure why actually, might have been that were were fuelled positive energy after moving into our new space? So we looked up who made this ceiling when we finished our lunch as it was in Sweden in a place called Österby.Read more
Punāh is an initiative by one of India’s major manufacturing conglomerates,
Godrej and Boyce, focusing on re-thinking the use of industrial waste materials. This year, Form Us With Love was invited to Mumbai as curators, designing the first ever Punāh exhibition, shown at the London Design Festival Sept 2016.
Process / Futurise
Gottsunda is a civic concept created for a municipality of Uppsala, just to the north of Stockholm; and was part of Santa & Cole’s range.
At a glance the piece seems harsh and unfriendlRe: FUWL books 160113, mail 1 of 2.y, yet there’s a visual warmth and realism to using moulded concrete. It’s a material we’ve all seen so it gives off a familiarity and durability of course, which a piece for public areas requires.
Form Us With Love undertook a lengthy process of research, holding workshops with residents of this specific municipality—one that some might describe as an impoverish neighbourhood. And the interactions from the meetings of the inhabitants of Gottsunda became the fuel for making the bench a piece that wants people to sit, talk and discover that there’s more to folk than face value.
To make this happen, the studio set a series of heating loops within the bench, as they once did on the benches of Stockholm’s more exposed subway stations, using the warmth created as a byproduct of the cooling process of making electricity in nearby power plants.
To sit down alongside someone you don’t know and sharing a warmth instead of an uncertainty is something public architecture needs more of. Spaces that are inviting and generate a sense of shared pride and belonging should be encouraged on a wider level from those who plan such places.
Process / Concept
We went from big to small and big again. We held onto this idea of a high sofa and armchair collection. We sketched endlessly and forced through iterations, to move fast into CAD models and physical mock-ups. The idea was the design and shape be capable of creating an impact yet be comfortable and inviting. A rounded seat typically brings character. Using a straight line in this case changes everything for the worse; too hard as a silhouette.Read more
Process / Prototype
Building a box should be easy. Four sides, a top perhaps. Corners. However, as a studio, we do tend to sweat the small stuff. As a result, it took many CAD drawings to find the quality we were looking for when designing Greenhouse 2016 and its simple box-like stands for the exhibitors.Read more
Process / Qualify
Janinge Cycle times
If we envisage a chair in a restaurant environment, that chair will see action from ten sets of bums. Ten bums on one seat. And that bum will raise from that seat, what, five times. Up and down. So, 50 cycles a day. Probably 300 times during a year, that chair will see new rumps. So we can calculate around 120,000 cycles over a ten-year period. And if a chair or product passes that cycle, then we have to turn our thoughts to other non-linear tests. Like effects of the materials used. Gass off, abuse, fire retardancy. But, really, can you really ever imagine through these simple theories the real abuse a chair is going to bear witness to over its lifespan?
Typically, a new product is going to have to pass a set series of standardised tests on the design itself. Then on the safety; what happens if someone sits on the backrest. Can someone trap a finger between the armrest and a table? Will the legs snap if you lean back? In the nordics we have to take into account climatical elements, and the affect extremes in temperature have on structural integrity; during transport for example in the winter. Or societal influencing factors—a mother rises to greet a friend and her child, eager for attention, tries to wriggle free through the hole in the back of a chair.
There needs to be a balance of testing during a product’s iteration; the repetitive stressing of a product and real life scenarios. “If a chair’s not comfortable to sit on; it’s not been tested enough,” Jonas Pettersson, Form Us With Love. In the case of Janinge, testing took one year to reach a fully resolved design.
Thinking / Excursion
We asked Ben about his experience in Hong Kong and he replied, “It is what it is! In Hong Kong there is a culture of starting production and going from there. “In Europe you talk about projects that might not happen. In Hong Kong people are doing projects and hardly ever talking about them.” So, it is easier to make things here? “Yeah, everything’s just there close by. It is much easier to have a conversation with the right people and start production; talk to different manufacturers, ask around town.Read more
We were in Mitab’s factory in Tranås and were impressed by the welding robots. Marcus, who was in charge of the factory told us that they didn’t really do so much with them at that point in time. They’d been used in the past to weld shopping baskets, but there wasn’t so much demand of that anymore. Poor robots eh. No jobs anywhere. Humans coming in and taking their jobs…Read more
Thinking / Problems
You try to locate the sensors, looking for those dark coloured lenses usually placed in the stem of the faucets. But you can’t see anything! It’s ‘minimalism’. You place your hands a wide as you can, moving frantically to try to maximise the chance for a reflection to hit the sensor—it still doesn’t work.
You are patient and take a breather; since the sensor might need a few seconds. Still nothing. You realise you still have soap in your hands and begin to panic. Next, you move closer. Perhaps the sensor could not quite get the signal you were trying to prevail from a distance? Half your body is doubled under the faucet, like a large bird in a small box, which remains unresponsive. You see sense, and pull your hands away to try again rationally. Other people have washed and gone by now. Your frustration is apparent. And you’ve been staring at yourself in the mirror, soapy hands dripping, for a couple of minutes. You feel stupid. A master of nothing.
Automatic faucets have hidden lenses which are designed to look for different things, hence the confusion. Some sense how close you are, or by how much you move your hands, and others just require a really strong presence. Most of the time they are just not intuitive enough, bad design making your life difficult.
Thinking / Publications
Greenhouse is an iconic part of the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair where young designers show work that have not yet been produced, to connect with partners, experts and producers. Each fall, designers and institutions from across the globe apply with prototypes and ideas to participate in the exhibition. In jury this year, John Löfgren […]Read more
TALLINN DESIGN FESTIVAL
Along with a fine panel of design peers, Form Us With Love was invited by Estonia Design Center to participate in the Tallinn Design Festival, with the aim to push the discourse of what design can really become—monitoring and discussing the changes in the design world.Read more
Thinking / Mistakes
In 2009, Comforty Living invited a number of renowned European designers to compete for a contract — Andersen & Voll from Norway, Philippe Negro from France, to name a few. We were invited to Warsaw to each design a sofa. The best piece was then picked by a jury and put in production.
Comforty Living is a brand divided in two parts; Comfort Living and Com40. The later being a manufacturer of sofas for IKEA. The challenge however, was not to make an IKEA sofa but quite the opposite. Comforty Living wanted us to present ideas for a premium sofa—working to virtually no restrictions.
We took the brief very literally and began researching the boundaries of a sofa and how to go beyond it. Our solution became something closer to art than a piece of furniture. We did not win the pitch, but cherished the fact that we had enabled our creativity to run past what was commercially viable, something which designers rarely get the chance to do. That ‘behind every great product is a string of failed ones,’ is a cliché. However, in the case of the ‘sofa and beyond,’ we actually aimed to fall short, which put us much closer to the target.
Studio / About
SANKT ERIKSGATAN 106
113 31 STOCKHOLM
+46 8 218 002
Form Us With Love, is the international design studio founded in 2005. Since its conception, the studio has burned with a passion for design and its democratic potential. Its belief is that we all have a right to meaningful design.
At the studio’s core lies a process that blends traditional creative practices with a lean, strategic application. The central intention is to evolve with the needs of each project, its place in the market and the ever-changing needs of real people.
Today, the work of Form Us With Love falls into three areas: Consultancy—an engagement in products, ranges, collaborations and spaces for clients around the world, Ventures—disciplined and holistic approaches to launch and build brands, Civic—based on knowledge transfers and sharing of experiences, actively contributing to the broader spectra of design.
SANKT ERIKSGATAN 106
113 31 STOCKHOLM
+46 8 218 002
Studio / Join us
Join usDesign Assistant info
We’re blessed with a vibrant office culture, with co-workers from around the globe. Hands on individuals who share our common goal of not only producing relevant, beautiful design but helping our collaborators to work, produce, function and think more effectively.
Periodically we open the studio to a batch of selected international applicants for an intensive period of workshops with the aim of finding one or two who’ll remain with us as interns for two times five months.
They’ll be immersed wholeheartedly into Form Us With Love, as part of our design team. It’s not uncommon that this internship develops into something more permanent, with our current team boasting many ex-interns as full-time colleagues.
We are growing, with a steady recruitment every year, the studio is now looking to further expand the team. With new projects, from both existing and new International clients—it’s time for the studio’s annual Summer Workshop.
Join the studio during a couple of days for insights into process, creative methods and client experiences, an exchange that could lead to landing a design role at the studio. Applicants must hold a BFA in Industrial Design, have a good spoken and written English and be entitled to work in Sweden. Last day to apply is October 25. For more details, Download the attached PDF.