In my thirties, I questioned the essence of kindness.

What does the word “kindness” really mean? And how can art, in its various forms, promote kindness in life? These questions have often occupied my thoughts since childhood. 

Throughout my upbringing, my mum always emphasized the importance of kindness as the key to everything. The concept of kindness, as she taught me, extends beyond simple interactions with people and is woven into the fabric of everyday actions. While studying art, I was often criticized for the gentle and delicate nature of my aesthetic, characterized by soft, pastel colors and strokes intentionally devoid of harsh shadows. This aesthetic was a reflection of the emphasis on kindness instilled in me.

Now, as I approach my 30th birthday, I have decided to embark on a research and cataloging project on kindness. To seek answers to these questions, I enlisted the support of different artists. Through their lenses, they captured moments of kindness, illustrating them in various contexts—whether with people, objects, places, or memories. Together, their stories form a cohesive visual narrative of navigating life with kindness at its core.

Toby Coulson

When reflecting on the concept of kindness, I often recall a project I undertook some time ago. It involved documenting the efforts of a man who organised a weekly tea dance for elderly individuals in the community. What struck me most was the profound impact it had on those who attended, many of whom had experienced the loss of their partners and were grappling with feelings of isolation. 

Through this simple yet heartfelt initiative, people were brought together in a space of warmth and companionship, offering solace and connection to those who may have otherwise felt alone.”

Jaime Martínez-Cabrera Huidobro

Kindness is like a dance between two people, where we share moments and understand each other. It grows when people interact and understand each other. It’s like when we get goosebumps, a natural reaction to our surroundings. Kindness works the same way, responding to how we feel together. It shows how we’re all connected.”

Annika Kafcaloudis

Kindness manifests in the simplest of gestures, like rising to prepare a steaming cup of coffee for someone still nestled in bed. It’s the gentle inquiry, “Would you like a cup?” as soon as someone enters your space.

Kindness is sliding a warm mug across your coffee table, offering comfort in its aromatic embrace. It’s the invitation to stroll together, hand in hand, to the local cafe for a shared moment of caffeine-infused camaraderie. Indeed, coffee serves as a conduit for these acts of benevolence and consideration, weaving a tapestry of warmth and connection in our daily lives.

Adam Friedlander

The focal point of the image is a strikingly pristine fork, adorned with a delicate red thread gently looping through its tines. This juxtaposition presents the fork as both an object of allure and anticipation, poised for use yet untouched. The imagery evokes the act of sharing a meal, a timeless gesture of generosity and kindness, while the thread symbolises the myriad reasons that may prompt our hypothetical guests to gather around the metaphorical table.

The scale of the fork and the absence of human touch imbue the scene with a sense of longing, prompting viewers to envision themselves reaching for the utensil and leaving their mark upon it. This image is the result of a collaborative effort between myself and Selena Liu, an artist, designer, and prop stylist. Despite forging a friendship early in our respective careers, it wasn’t until years later that we embarked on our first joint project together.”

Kurt Bauer

Kindness is not just an act but the sincerity that lies behind this, the authenticity of the intention that speaks to my own authenticity, there’s something expansive about being and receiving kindness. A smile, a genuine “How are you?”, sharing something of yourself – there’s a generosity that expresses itself in big and small ways. 

For me, nature is ultimately kind as it provides enough space to live our lives and be touched by its beauty; there’s connection in kindness, a feeling of not being alone, and that we belong to something bigger.

I may not remember all the ways I’ve received kindness, but I know each one has an affect that is both known and unknown.

Nicolò Panzeri

In early 2023, I made a deliberate choice to capture the essence of this church—a remarkable creation by Alvar Aalto—as my own visual representation of kindness and ethereal elegance.”

Garrett Naccarato

“Kindness in my photography goes beyond capturing a beautiful image; it’s about the empathy, consent and respect I show towards my subjects and their space. Respecting the autonomy of my subject means seeking their permission before
taking their photograph, especially in intimate or vulnerable moments. It’s about acknowledging their space and allowing them to be comfortable in how they are represented. Kindness also involves empathy towards the people we photograph.
Whether it’s a portrait of a stranger on the street or in a studio, taking the time to understand the context and emotions behind the image can result in more meaningful and respectful portrayals. extends to the physical space in which the image is captured.

Isaac Calpe

“For a person to be kind, they must first know themselves very well, know their good and bad things, what they can do well and what they cannot, and improve in their daily lives.
That person who surpasses himself every day is the one who will treat others equally and show the most kindness.

Norm Architects

Designing Across Borders: A Conversation with Norm Architects’ Founding Partner Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen

As humanity and nature grow closer, we’re witnessing a renewed connection between man and the natural world. This shift towards a deeper bond prompts a captivating exploration of how architecture will evolve in the next decade.

In collaboration with Norm Architects, a Copenhagen-based firm dedicated to improving spaces for people since 2008, we delved into their unique approach to design. Our discussion ranged from their holistic design philosophy to the intriguing concept of timelessness.

Thank you for joining us, let’s dive right in. Could you share with us how your 15 years of international experience have influenced your approach to design and architecture?

In our 15 years of creating architecture and design, we have learned that just like the weather, the atmosphere of our built environment has a profound effect on how we rest, think, feel, work, eat, and socialize. Spaces and objects must certainly be functional, but if they are to truly serve us, they must also attend to our bodies and emotions. At this moment in design history, we believe it’s necessary to go beyond strict rationalist and modernist doctrines to re-sensualize the built environment with a hapticity that embraces the whole human being; that addresses our perception of space and all of our sensory faculties. This requires slowing down the process to consider design from the perspective of human experience. To us, good design transcends utility and aesthetics to become a sensual and social exercise: to create a framework for the essential human needs of safety, identity, belonging, and purpose. 

Our practice starts from this point. Guided by the body and mind rather than by trends or technology, we aim to create designs that not only look good, but also feel good. It is about accommodating people through empathic design, rather than treating them as mere spectators of an aesthetic creation. We consider our work as a facilitator of well-being, as a distillation of aesthetics that resonate with the given person and place, and as a system that supports universal human needs. Each project—whether architecture, interiors, or design—is imbued with this intrinsic quality: a simplicity that carries bigger ideas. We have dedicated the last 15 years to the pursuit of human-centric architecture and design and, project by project, we have honed a philosophy and international design approach that we call “soft minimalism.” With humility, we have built our ideas on thousands of years of aesthetic evolutions, and on the incredible insights of master architects and designers working before us and beside us. These lessons merge with those we have learned along the way and with the influences of our Scandinavian context. Our hope is to offer a chapter in the story of good design that will continue to be written far into the future.   

Founded in 2008, Norm Architects has become synonymous with minimalist design that seeks to enhance the human experience. Can you tell us more about how you aim to achieve this through your work?

In an effort to think holistically about our built environment, soft minimalism cross-pollinates concepts from the fields of design, philosophy, psychology, biology, and anthropology. We believe that each mode of thinking plays an important role in good design. We have found solutions to the problem of aesthetic overstimulation in texts on evolutionary psychology. Neuroscience has guided our curation of earthy color palettes and orderly compositions. Investigations into biology and physiology have strengthened our embodied understanding of solid and void. Philosophy has inspired our thoughtful approach to narrative design, and sharpened our understanding of the meanings embedded in certain forms. 

Patterns emerge from these combined studies to reinforce our conviction that design must be functional, personal, and multisensory. Through our reading, thinking, and work, we have sharpened our ability to find the balance between richness and restraint; order and complexity; that leads to meaningful design. Our Danish heritage provides us with an uncompromising standard of craftsmanship and a sense of history, as well as optimism for the future of our industry. Underscoring all of this is perhaps our greatest influence of all: nature. We find ourselves returning again and again to the natural world—the primordial home of the human race—for guidance in the pursuit of timeless beauty, simplicity, and connectivity. In this realm we have found particular value in universal aesthetic truths derived from human nature, which, when combined with culture, context, and expertise, can give rise to profound outcomes. 

Norm Architects is well-known for its holistic approach to design. Can you elaborate on how this philosophy guides your projects and the overall impact it has on your work?

Today, many thinkers agree that this desensitization has contributed to feelings of isolation; to a spiritual void and the prevalence of illness in contemporary societies. The situation charges architects and designers with the urgent task of re-sensualizing our relationship with the world; of using space and matter as mediators between body and mind, ultimately nurturing the whole organism. 

Our surroundings move us deeply. Contemporary neuroscience confirms that it is the senses, with their acuity for pleasure and pain, that teach us how to navigate the world. Our senses are inextricably linked to our existential experience; our feeling of being in this exact place, right now, with these particular things. Working in concert, the skin, eyes, ears, nose, and tongue decode thousands of stimuli, forming an immediate interpretation of, and reaction to, the environment they meet. After taking in the whole atmosphere, perception narrows its focus, using the collaborative insights of the senses to explore details of shape, surface, density, light, sound, and so on. A holistic understanding of the world derives from these inputs resonating through body and mind. The interdependent system merges stimuli from different senses, cross-pollinating a smell with a memory, an image with a movement, or a texture with a certain emotion. It’s a skill we practice from birth, and one that strengthens our awareness of internal and external realms and their boundaries. We learn to feel pleasure when our bodies resonate with a given substance or space, while others make us feel uneasy. A lifetime of these embodied encounters become embedded in our memory, and form our unique senses of comfort, protection, and home.

For human-centric architecture and design to reconcile our relationship with the world and enhance quality of life, they must engage all senses holistically. We ask ourselves, “How should this space or object make someone feel?” The answer guides the selection and arrangement of interrelated design elements, each with a sensory role to play in their cumulative aim. The process requires that we, as designers, draw on our own embodied experience of space and matter, as well as practicing empathy for the human who will encounter the work. We combine our own sensory memories with curiosity about those of others, and through imagination, we envision spaces and objects that will hopefully feel sublime.

In striving for a re-sensualised built environment, how do you see the role of natural materials and the integration of nature in your projects?

Throughout human history we have evolved to survive and thrive in the natural realm and are consequently dependent on its elements. These deeply embedded preferences haven’t progressed as quickly as urban technology, creating a disharmony between us and our new, built environment. After all, we have inhabited nature far longer than we have occupied man-made structures. Sunlight, water, air, and plants still give us life. Regardless of progress, our physiology chooses the natural over the artificial. We instinctively enjoy the feel of wood more than that of plastic, and find views of the sky or a lake more pleasing than skyscrapers. We need sunlight to give way to darkness so we can wake, eat, and sleep, whereas artificial light unbalances our system. Deep down we know these natural elements are nourishing, and they therefore evoke safety and well-being. Nature is so embedded in our psyche that we have also evolved a habit of projecting human, animal, and plant forms onto the environment. By overlaying our modern world with natural animations, we can read and relate to it as we did eons ago, in the wilderness. Rather than suppressing these primordial instincts, architects and designers can delve into behaviours learned over millennia, and harness evolutionary psychology to create good design. We can find solutions in form, scale, and materials that breathe life back into the urban, rewinding our man-made habitats.

We listen to nature’s story of artistry, optimism, imperfection, and impermanence, and bring these poignant qualities into the work. We create spaces and objects with natural materials and organic forms that feel of this world; that help us transition through the stages of life and connect us with the continuum of time. Such profound understandings are suggested by a humble stone plinth—unearthed from the deep, speckled with ancient sediment and fossils that have grown faint after years of use. We sense the age of the earth and watch as the materials slowly return to dust. We can relate, and we can take comfort in knowing that we are part of something greater than ourselves. In this way, bringing natural elements and their inevitable patina into our modernised lives can remind us of our place in nature. 

As the bond between humanity and the natural world strengthens, we’re witnessing a profound resurgence of our primal connection. Looking ahead architecturally, how do you envision this symbiotic relationship evolving over the next decade?

Living in a modern urban society often means living with constant noise: consumerist city streetscapes fill our view with layers of advertisements for objects of questionable value, while the digital space vies for our attention with endless streams of content and a cacophony of notifications. Life moves fast, and it accumulates complexity, things, and data along the way. Existing in this environment leaves us overstimulated, exhausted, and gasping for breath. We may recognise a correlation between a growing material wealth, and a declining state of physical and mental health as we suffer from chronic cognitive fatigue. 

Having arrived at this perhaps paradoxical junction, we seek ways to muffle the noise, declutter our vision, and carve out corners of stillness. We find ourselves wishing to be freed from the weight of too many things and too much information; wishing to live only with what is essential for well-being. At this moment the question becomes selective and reductive: “What can I live without?”  

This realisation can arrive at any point in life, and the idea is far from modern or unique. Many ancient cultures across the globe have preached the notion that simplicity leads to inner peace and contentedness—that the human mind needs quiet to focus on what is truly meaningful and joyful. In the highly developed metropolises of today, this idea feels out of reach. Over thousands of years, the steady progression from modest village life to populous and hierarchical civilisations has increased the value of the material, arguably at the expense of the spiritual. We’ve been taught to prioritise temporary pleasures and acquisitions, repeatedly, until our lives are anything but simple. This path has led to the minimising of fundamental, immaterial human needs such as connection to others, a sensory relationship with nature, a feeling of security as well as autonomy, and clarity about our role within the wider community. 

Essentialism, or soft minimalism, as we refer to it in architecture and design projects, can be reached through this kind of deep reflection on what matters; by adding and reducing elements until equilibrium emerges; and by remaining attuned to the atmospheric and autonomous potential of space. As engagement with nature is essential to human well-being, natural materials and forms, natural light, and quiet acoustics become synonymous with haptic design. We use sensory materials that remind us of nature and therefore calm us. An essentialist mindset also urges us to create well-made materials and spaces that last, rather than succumbing to passing trends or construction shortcuts. If the design reduces itself to its essence and nothing more, and if it is made intentionally, we’re choosing a more sustainable path for the future.

Can you share a recent project that exemplifies Norm Architects’ commitment to re-sensualizing the built environment?

Designed to fit seamlessly into the vibrant spirit of the Japanese Oku-shibu district, our new TRUNK(HOTEL) YOYOGI PARK boasts a relaxed, human-centered ethos. While aesthetic choices harmoniously reflecting the laid-back, yet sophisticated, vibe of the neighborhood, the concept of ‘Urban Recharge’ is at the heart of the project – a pivotal theme weaving together the city and nature, tradition and modernity, leisure and festivity, as well as the local community and visitors. 

Drawing inspiration from Tokyo’s varied hues and moods, the project encapsulates the interplay of contrasting yet harmonious elements. It mirrors the relaxed Yoyogi Park, the surrounding city blocks, and the famed Shibuya Crossing. It’s the epitome of modern and traditional lifestyles converging. From the raw and refined to the melting of Japanese and European craft traditions, the design embodies this delicate balance. The verdant embrace not only enriches the exterior aesthetics but also symbolizes the commitment to offering a sanctuary amidst the city’s bustling energy. So, as you wander through this retreat, you’ll discover a place to find both solace and stimulation, forging a path to enduring vitality.

Another recent project is Sjöparken in Southern Sweden –  a sanctuary of understated luxury immersed in the embrace of nature. Drawing inspiration from the elegance of Nordic simplicity, the timeless traditions of Japanese design, and the tropical allure of resort living, this architectural gem emerges as a hybrid – a blend of distinct influences that converge seamlessly within its walls. Each corner tells a story of simplicity, unity, and the spirit of the place, creating an experience where thoughtful design and nature come together in perfect harmony. 

Nestled in the serene beech forests of Halland, Sweden, Sjöparken redefines the essence of tranquility and luxury. With an architectural vision to create the ideal setting for intimate rituals of self-care and harmonious living amidst nature’s embrace, these lakefront retreats exude an honest simplicity without sacrificing warmth and tactility. 

At the heart of the concept are seven villas, perched delicately on the lake. Each villa seamlessly intertwines four hotel rooms through glass corridors, offering a poignant homage to the site’s history by creating the sensation of strolling through an open-air village. The intentional design blurs the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces, amplifying the intimate connection with the surroundings. 

Whether taking a refreshing dip in the private bathing jetties nestled in the lake, unwinding in the in-room saunas, or indulging in the tranquility of lying in bed and gazing through expansive windows, each moment unveils an unparalleled communion with nature. As integrated architectural elements and bespoke design optimize space, the minimal, peaceful rooms create a framework for immersive experiences, focusing on stillness, togetherness, and well-being.

Timelessness is a key pursuit in your projects. How do you balance modern innovations with the timeless aspects of design to ensure your works remain relevant and enduring?

We can say it is an imperative for good architecture and design to work with time, rather than against it. The created works must connect with their users and evolve with them, remaining relevant as time passes. Beyond this, design can also help us connect with the passing of time itself by keeping us in sync with the days, seasons, and eras that make up our lives, keeping us simultaneously present and aware of the finite nature of existence. 

Conversely, architecture, interiors, and objects whose sole aim is to parade the ideas and styles of a brief, specific moment in time are unlikely to remain relevant in the long term. Once its initial novelty has worn off, the trend-based design is in danger of becoming a relic. If design should exist to serve its user—and to serve society overall—it is necessary to consider the culture of the day as well as the timeless needs of the human being. This way, we can offer works that are aware of time. They contribute to the evolution of design and to the betterment of the people who will engage with it.

If our aim is to create timeless design that outlives passing fashions, we need to dig a little deeper to find aesthetic inspiration and value. Good design must feel good to live with and it must age gracefully. Otherwise, it won’t matter that it exists or ages at all. We can find the basis for many feel-good designs in the natural world—which is, after all, our evolutionary birthplace. The soft, organic shapes of the animal and plant kingdoms provide familiar forms and materials that speak to the senses and place the body within its broader environment. They transcend the visual—the realm that trend-based designs momentarily satisfy—to instead attain enduring relevance through multisensory virtues that are instinctively appreciated. We rarely tire of experiences that make us feel secure, comforted, and connected, such as the soft texture of wood in our palm, the stability of stone underfoot, the peaceful sound of falling water, or the warm embrace of wool around our bodies. We could return to such sensations year after year, regardless of what is in fashion—perhaps experiencing more pleasure with each encounter. 

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future of Norm Architects? How do you envision the studio evolving in the years to come?

Looking ahead, our hope is to continue our path and vocation to re-sensualize the built environment and hopefully create ripples in the water, as part of a larger movement to create high quality human-centric design. We could maybe even go further and create sustainable bio-centric design, that was not solely focusing on human needs, but on the well-being of nature as such. If we want to change ourselves, we change the spaces around us. Architecture and design must facilitate us in all aspects of our lives—it must be dependable and useful, but it must also be empathetic. By understanding that spaces shape us as we shape them, we can create sensitive works that offer safety, stimulation and sustainability. 

Credits

  1. Norm Architects. Sjöparken. Halland, Sweden, 2023. Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. Courtesy of Norm Architects.
  2. Norm Architects. Fjord Boat House,  Southern Denmark, 2020. Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. Courtesy of Norm Architects.
  3. Norm Architects, AIM Architecture. K House. Southern Province, Sri Lanka, 2018. Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. Courtesy of Norm Architects.
  4. Norm Architects, AIM Architecture. K House. Southern Province, Sri Lanka, 2018. Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. Courtesy of Norm Architects.
  5. Norm Architects, AIM Architecture. K House. Southern Province, Sri Lanka, 2018. Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. Courtesy of Norm Architects.
  6. Norm Architects, AIM Architecture. K House. Southern Province, Sri Lanka, 2018. Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. Courtesy of Norm Architects.
  7. Norm Architects, Keiji Ashizawa Design. TRUNK(HOTEL) YOYOGI PARK. Tokyo, Japan, 2023. Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. Courtesy of Norm Architects.
  8. Norm Architects, Keiji Ashizawa Design. TRUNK(HOTEL) YOYOGI PARK. Tokyo, Japan, 2023. Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. Courtesy of Norm Architects.
  9. Norm Architects, Keiji Ashizawa Design. TRUNK(HOTEL) YOYOGI PARK. Tokyo, Japan, 2023. Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. Courtesy of Norm Architects.
  10. Norm Architects, Keiji Ashizawa Design. TRUNK(HOTEL) YOYOGI PARK. Tokyo, Japan, 2023. Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. Courtesy of Norm Architects.
  11. Norm Architects. Sjöparken. Halland, Sweden, 2023. Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. Courtesy of Norm Architects.
  12. Norm Architects. Sjöparken. Halland, Sweden, 2023. Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. Courtesy of Norm Architects.
  13. Norm Architects. Sjöparken. Halland, Sweden, 2023. Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. Courtesy of Norm Architects.
  14. Norm Architects. Sjöparken. Halland, Sweden, 2023. Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. Courtesy of Norm Architects.
  15. Norm Architects x Brandt Collective LEAF hardware collection. 2024. Photography by Christian M. Andersen. Courtesy of Norm Architects.

Studio HAOS

Through the Lens: From Photography to Design with Studio HAOS

Sophie Gelinet and Cédric Gepner didn’t have formal training in furniture design, but they shared a passion that led them to create their first lamp. That lamp became the foundation for a collection, and in 2017, Studio HAOS was born.

They believe in keeping things simple, using materials like oak plywood and sheet metal to create thoughtful furniture and lighting. They focus on clarity and proportions, avoiding unnecessary complexity. Now based in Lisbon, their work is recognised worldwide, and they’re represented by galleries in major cities like Paris, New York, and London.

Sophie and Cédric, thanks for being here with me. Could you narrate the journey of Studio HAOS, from its inception with the creation of your first lamp to evolving into a fully-fledged design studio?

We had the desire to work on something together, on the side of our regular jobs. We had a shared interest in photography, and that led us to a few personal projects in France and in the north of India. At some point I wanted to try something new and started working on the prototype of a first lamp, and Cedric soon joined me. It was just something we were doing for fun on the side of our regular jobs. From what was initially a single lamp we made a small series, we then reached out to the press, got some publications, started getting some orders, etc. It started like that, quite randomly. We created the studio in 2017, and a couple of years later reached the point where we could both work full time on HAOS. 

How did your previous exploration in photography inform or shape your approach to design?

Looking back at it I think it helped in three ways. The first one was learning how to collaborate on a creative endeavour, which is not simple especially when you are also partners in life. The second was that it helped us develop our understanding of what makes a good picture: just as much as in photography, design is about arranging shapes, finding harmony, playing with light, shadows, shades, textures… The third and maybe most important is that it’s usually fruitful to be exposed to as many fields as possible. It’s often at the intersection of seemingly unrelated interests that cross pollination or creativity happen. Trying to understand and replicate the appeal of pictures by Stephen Shore, Joel Sternfeld or Alec Soth, to name a few, that must have permeated into our practice of design in many positive ways that we don’t necessarily understand.

Your design ethos revolves around elevating humble materials such as plywood and sheet metal. What attracts you to these materials, and how do you integrate them into your designs?

One key feature of photography is that the most vernacular subject matter can be transformed into singular, poetic images. And this kind of transmutation can be achieved with the most basic equipment. All that is required is an understanding of colour, form, and composition. We believe design should work in the same way. Very intricate and time-consuming savoir-faire applied to opulent materials, that’s where craftsmen can shine. In our view the focus of designers should be on shape and form. The more accessible the materials and techniques, the better, as it is the thinking process that then takes center stage. If a piece is thought-out, it doesn’t need to be loud to catch attention. On the contrary, we believe there is a particular form of elegance that lies in the ability to express or evoke emotions with restraint and with purposely limited means. It’s not exactly a new idea, it has been exemplified by many designers and artists for more than a century, just think of Gerrit Rietveld and his crate chair, Achille Castiglioni’s floor lamp based on a car headlight, or the works of minimalists such as Donald Judd or Charlotte Posenenske. But this conversation is not over and it’s especially relevant today.

What does the concept of “slow design” signify for you, and how does it manifest in your creative process and final products?

Actually our practice tends to go in the opposite direction. We are now trying to experiment faster, because the more experiments we undertake (with new processes, new materials, etc.) the more chances we have to stumble upon something worthwhile.

How has the environment and atmosphere of Lisbon influenced your creative process and the direction of your designs?

Lisbon happened by accident. The initial plan was to relocate to Tangier in Morocco, but as the pandemy picked up again late 2021, we decided to make a stopover in Lisbon until things settled. It’s a city that’s hard not to like, and the stopover turned into a long-term installation. Being here enabled us to open a large-scale workshop, where design, prototyping and production can happen side-by-side. We can go from an idea to a finished piece in a matter of weeks instead of having to wait months for a first prototype. And we now have a lot more freedom to play with materials, processes and finishes. 

Studio HAOS is known for embracing simplicity while eschewing unnecessary complexity in design. How do you navigate the delicate balance between minimalism and functionality in your creations?

It can be tempting to free oneself from the “functionality” constraint, and make pieces that have more value as a work of art than as a functional object, and some do it very well. As for our way of practicing design, we feel it’s important to keep it because ultimately constraints are essential to the process of creation. Paradoxically the more constraints you have and the more creative you have to be, and besides functionality, we don’t have that many of them. We indeed have to balance this with quite a minimalistic approach, but they are not necessarily opposites. Minimalism for us is not about stripping everything out, it’s about achieving the desired effect with restraint, trying to be subtle rather than loud, leaning away from frivolous complication. In that sense ornament can be necessary, and functionality is not a cross to carry.

Reflecting on your journey so far, what advice would you offer to yourselves when you were first embarking on this path?

We were quite self conscious when we started, not having a product design background, and we would spend way too much time on each object. It usually doesn’t make them better, quite the opposite in fact. Looking back I would tell myself to be more confident, build more pieces, because with each new piece we make mistakes, learn, and get better at what we do. In other words, “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”.

As Studio HAOS continues to evolve, what are your aspirations and goals for the future of the studio?

I hope we’ll always have the curiosity to experiment with new ways of doing things, and that we will keep doing so surrounded by a team of talented and fun people. And above all, I hope that we always get to keep the immense privilege of being allowed to spend our days making beautiful things, and be paid for it. 

In order of appearance

  1. ANTIMATIÈRE Exhibition, 2024, Paris. Photography by Depasquale and Maffini. Courtesy of CONTRIBUTIONS Design
  2. Aluminium Side Table. Photography by Inês Silva Sá. Courtesy of Studio HAOS.
  3. Aluminium Dining Table. Photography by Inês Silva Sá. Courtesy of Studio HAOS.
  4. Grid Chair. Photography by Inês Silva Sá. Courtesy of Studio HAOS.
  5. Leather Chair. Photography by Inês Silva Sá. Courtesy of Studio HAOS.
  6. Aluminium Lounge Chair. Photography by Inês Silva Sá. Courtesy of Studio HAOS.
  7. Aluminium Arm Chair. Photography by Inês Silva Sá. Courtesy of Studio HAOS.
  8. Aluminium Bench. Photography by Inês Silva Sá. Courtesy of Studio HAOS.
  9. Steel Lamp 3. Photography by Inês Silva Sá. Courtesy of Studio HAOS.
  10. Steel Lamp 1. Photography by Inês Silva Sá. Courtesy of Studio HAOS.

Snow Strippers

Like for Andy on The Merv Griffin Show in 1965, silence is sexy for Snow Strippers. NR explores the US band’s universe, one made of sound, images, and few words.

You just got back from your very first European tour, and have ahead of you the NA one.. Are you currently recharging the batteries or went straight back into work mode?

We’re always working cause we love what we do.

During the last couple of months you had an incredibly upward trajectory: Media coverage, web exposure, some pretty big collaborations, and the tours and dates are bringing your music to a wider-than-usual audience. How are you handling it?

Doesn’t feel that much different honestly we are grateful though.

You always describe your ethos as free styling. Now you are quickly moving away from the underbrushes and more towards the spotlight: are you planning on keeping things “DIY” or are you thinking of scaling? I’ve read that you were thinking of releasing clothes, which you started doing by now, curating other artists’ images and artistic direction, and dropping films via your Label, Nice Bass Bro.

Everything we do will always be our own vision and yes we said we were going to and we did.

You seem to have a very dedicated fanbase! I did a reddit check: it was impressive, and very informative –Loads of very interesting threads deep-diving on the Snow Stripper lore. It is almost as if your fanbase aliments your myth, how’s your relationship with them? Do you think of it in terms of image-construction?

We love talking to our listeners cause we like our music too and they changed our life and we are forever grateful.

Speaking of reddit: I quote “It’s just banger after banger after banger… never knew anything like it ..Is it just me that feels that this band has more hits than any other artist ?” Which is very true, your sound is very consistent and your production very cohesive, even though you’ve been around from relatively little..You drop a lot of music, but it always stays fresh and coherent. What are your plans moving forward? Keeping the recipe as it is or thinking of experimenting in new sonic territories?

I think we’ll always experiment or try fresh shit that just kinda comes naturally why wouldn’t we wanna try and make some new shit.

Since we mentioned hits: what defines a hit, today, for you, in the midst of infinitely available content?
A song a lotta people can fuck with or even a few people fuck with it a lot idk.

I am curious to hear your take on sped up Tik Tok songs, remixes and mash-ups. There’s a parallel between the controlled-chaotic nature of your sound and how the platform allows users to sample and repack aesthetics and sounds. It is by now, becoming almost industry-defining, with some mainstream powerhouses adapting to it. Thoughts?
I love the sped up and slowed down tik tok songs

You have experimented with different stylistic coordinates and made them yours, to the point where one cannot subtract your aesthetic stances from your sound..what comes first? Music or Visuals?
We like both !


Fave style icons?
Tati

Credits

Photography · Marc Souvenir
Creative Direction · Aina Marcó, Marc Souvenir
Art Direction · Marc Souvenir, Rita de Rivera
Hair and Makeup · Venus Hermitant
Special thanks to Good Machine PR

Subscribe to our
Newsletter