Architectural and interior design influences come from different areas of the world, and what inspires one designer can help create a new way of looking at our built environment. Today Homedit interviews Architect MFA – Daniel Franzen – a Swedish designer and architect who is the brainchild behind Bunker Hill design firm. A healthy and inspiring mixture of design genres from interiors and architecture to jewelry. Learn what makes this Swedish designer different from the rest and why Bunker Hill is continually evolving into an inspiring world-renowned design firm.
Bunker Hill is a creative and eclectic mix of interiors, architecture, furniture and Swedish design inspiration, where do you pull your ideas from for your creations?
The answer is of course inside my head somewhere, and it´s not the same for every project. Sometimes I have things stored and it can take one day or three years to know what to do with all loose fragments I collect all the time. The best way is of course when I have a deadline for a exhibition or a meeting with a customer. The short answer is: I see things everywhere!
What defines your design style? Are these characteristics that are found in Nordic style design?
Probably there is, when I was in Japan I designed two very Japanese phenomena, a teahouse and a house for hot springs. For me when making them I really looked into the Japanese way of thinking but still when the result was exhibited for the public, the “look” of these houses was Scandinavian.
In several of your interiors projects, the furniture and lighting reflect how the habitat of the room is to be used. Can you explain how you determine in your designs how they tell a story, stemming from the interiors around them?
I think I always imagine myself using all interior and products I design, and I always want to live, work in my latest architectural projects. I am quite a normal human being, so if I like it, hopefully more people want to do this. I also think It’s important that all the things I decide in the project, for example where a window in a house is placed has a good reason for placing it just there and not 1 meter to left etc. I think this way of thinking is more common when you are a interior architect designing houses and spaces instead of a traditional house-architect.
Clean and simple lines embody many of your designs and in the Blomkvist Apartment in Stockholm project very affordable materials were used. How do you focus on the design rather than the materials, so the end result is still an optimum living space?
When designing for instance an apartment I always start with the structure of the rooms and all the functions, this is really important because I want to use as much space as possible to be used. I also like to work with a tight budget because I have to think a lot about the material to be used and hopefully in this way find things that a not that common. A lot of my thinking is, how could I build this myself?
Lighting is a big part of your design, and many of your lamps are created from paper tubes and lightweight material.How do you decide which materials to use for the lamps in your varied projects?
The answer is almost the same as above. I often work with a tight budget, and how can I do something interesting without any money? And how can I manage to do really customized design like this? I have to find easy and cheap ways to create what I want to use. This is not the answer in all projects, but in some. In other projects I might have a hang up on a certain material and want to really get to know it and use it as much as possible.
Bunker Hill has private residences, retail stores, restaurants as your past clients. Are there any new projects on the horizon that you’d like to share with Homedit readers?
In 2013 I will launch a series of lamps for a Swedish company that includes almost 30 different lamps that will be used everywhere. Think of the collection as your white T-shirt / linen, briefs / panties, socks etc… it’s there but you almost not see them. This is a collaboration with Adam Almquist. I’m also doing an exhibition in November with Swedish and international Graffiti artist with the working name “writing on wood”. I also hope to find some international companies to work with.
Bunker Hill presented some impressive garden furniture prototypes at the Stockholm Furniture Fair 2013 – can you tell us how you thought of the products that you would display there?
We got the brief in December 2012 and presented some 20 designs focusing on easy assembling to produce some weeks later and then some of them were made for the fair. This was really a very traditional design-mission with all the normal ingredients like research, sketching, material etc. We found out that some of these things could be used both on the outside (in the garden) but also on the inside of your house so it was important that the design was just that. We used almost only two materials, wood and powder coated expanded metal, and the metal is a typical out door product, but when making this white it´s really nice to have on the inside.
Your nesting tables project – “Chamfer” are minimal and timeless. What makes your furniture different from other Swedish designers today?
Difficult question, I always think the design I just made is really great and are not to be found among my fellow Swedish designers, but it’s of course not like that. I often try to think myself as a pop artist making a album and hopefully there will be one nr 1 song on the album. But I prefer to release a lot of songs instead of waiting for the hit all the time, because you never know which one is to be the hit song. When I showed my “candlebottles” in 2005 for the first time, made out of Swedish pine all my fellow design colleagues loved them and wanted them so I started producing the on my own but didn’t sell one to the bigger audience. But after a couple of years this was my really big hit. Another fun story is the jewelry called “unit”. When I first showed it an assistant to the pop star Madonna came by and wanted to give the first prototype to her, which I of course did. A lot of people were really impressed by the clear message the jewelry stands for, but this didn’t sell at all, maybe because it was to controversial. But I still think this is one of my better ideas….
You have participated in design projects in the past, and the Water Tower Competition – where they asked the question “Why are water towers structured so mundane and foreign to our landscape?” How did you enjoy this competition as it relates to our environment?
I really love water towers because they are so (often) big and so obvious. They just stand there like big sculptures and I wanted it to stay that way not to change it too much. Also I think this “Urban” look the water towers have (especially the ones made out of concrete) attracts young people. So I decided I wanted it to be a skateboard park.
Homedit loves to feature designers who have modern appeal. We’d love to know what you love most about Homedit.
Love is a strong word which a normally only use on people, but I can use it on several people :). I think what people love about Homedit is the variety of the products and the projects you display. There is something for everybody, something I think is a good idea, I hate the snobbery thinking a lot of people in my business have.