David Ericsson is a Swedish designer and graduate of Malmstens Linköping University. He made a name for himself with his sublime chairs but has more strings to his bow. He likes to work in natural materials, and his design is characterised by his extensive historical knowledge, quiet sense of humour and above all an enviable artistic freedom in his revisiting of the familiar shapes of ladder-back chairs and the classics of the Shaker movement, for example.
What made you choose to work with Verk?
– I appreciate being asked a serious question. Then I’ll give a serious answer. And what I got from Verk was truly a serious question: ‘Would you like to make a locally produced, sustainable wooden chair for our new company?’ It was sincere. I appreciate a clearly defined commission.
In what way does your design contribute to a more sustainable society?
– Non-consumption is the only truly sustainable form of consumption. But keeping track of the entire chain is a must if our industry is to develop. Look at the food industry, where everything is analysed down to the last detail. There is discussion about how the food is taken care of, how it reaches the consumer and even how it is then prepared. It’s something we have to give serious consideration. The same goes for the second-hand market. We shouldn’t only be able to buy new, sustainably produced furniture but also be able to renovate and repair things that break.
Tell us an anecdote about working with the chair or the table.
– We made the first prototype of the chair without a seat. And then we were standing there in the workshop and needed to move on: ‘Can’t you just cut out a piece of wood and put it on? Just so we can see what it looks like with a seat of some kind.’ It was a simple plywood seat, but we could see right away that this was the shape it should be. The seat rests on the front and back frame. A bit of a fluke that meant we didn’t have to give it any further thought!
Why are you a designer?
– I often ask myself that. Before becoming a designer, I was a painter and sculptor, but I’ve also always made furniture for myself, so I applied to Malmstens Linköping University. I was accepted by Malmstens. And the rest is history. It’s great to be a designer in this challenging era.
Can design save the world?
– Yes, in the future. Design and creativity are not talked about at school today. That needs to change. Creative thinking and questioning methods should be valued. Children are said to ‘have vivid imaginations’, but they are simply creative beings who question the norm. We must seize on that. Being creative can take many forms. Improvisational theatre, perhaps? It’s as important as maths and English. If this is addressed at school level, we can save the world.