If memory serves, with the notable exceptions of manufacturers Nola and Mokasser, we’ve featured scant few products of Scandinavian origin here at 3rings, and fewer still (zero, to be precise—unless you count Casali’s re-creation of Alvar Aalto’s sublime Savoy Vase) of Finnish extraction. So it’s nice to encounter Denmark-based Muuto, a consortium of artists and artisans from the land of fjords and the Midnight Sun (whose denizens Garrison Keillor likes to refer to as “God’s Frozen People”) dedicated to the furtherance of Scandinavian design.
Raw Collection Side Table. Designed by Jens Fager for Muuto.
Finnish for “change” or “new perspectives,” Muuto nicely captures the objective of a manufacturer whose designers “want to alter the world… find passion in color and shape… dream deeply from personal experience.” Apropos of this, there’s Jens Fager’s “Raw Collection Side Table”, a rough-hewn, off-kilter piece tinged with just a touch of the ecstatic. Fager, who yearns for “objects made sublime through new perspectives,” imparts a touch of the surreal to this slightly elongated, brightly-painted piece. The collection—“a product family based on rough and intuitive interpretations of iconic everyday objects”—features furnishings that are hand carved on a band saw, thus accounting for the unfinished, angular aspect of the Side Table’s components.
But there’s a play of opposites here as well. The heavy (dare I say garish) application of celebratory color gives the Side Table an “over-finished” quality as well. While the rough shape still shines through, the overt excess of the glossy paint has an encapsulating effect, both preserving and altering the unfinished aspect in a way that imparts a decided textural appeal. It thus seems good and right that Fager is on record as an aficionado of Surrealism: his enigmatic side table, with its interplay of the rough and the hyper-finished, its angular elongation, its apparent defiance of gravitational norms, does Picasso proud, to say nothing of geographical compatriots Dalí, Gaudí, and Miró. Leave it to Fager to bring such storied Surrealism up North of the equator.