- Art & Design
New Works curates a diverse collection of design and objects that enriches daily life and makes it just that little more interesting. Founders Nikolaj Meier and Knut Bendik Humlevik decided to start a creative house that proudly emphasises its Scandinavian origins and simultaneously inspired the international market. Imagicasa spoke with Humlevik, who is also the creative director, about their vision and approach.
How would you describe your aesthetic approach?
‘As the creative director of New Works, I always return to our four core values: natural, experimental, tactile and skilled. These topics appeal to me the most when I work with design. I mainly seek inspiration in craftsmanship and art, but also in the design and architecture from areas south of Scandinavia, especially from Belgium. Belgians like Vincent Van Duysen and Axel Vervoordt really know how to use materials to create clean interiors that combine minimalism with softness and tactility. What interests me the most is the way that something can look rough and refined at the same time. Visually speaking, sculptural form and a serene ambience unite our products. In our design, which is mainly material-driven, we honour the individual qualities of materials and allow them to define the colour and essence of the final product.’ How do you translate Scandinavian simplicity in New Works’ identity?
‘We are very fond of the Scandinavian design heritage, and it is inevitably a part of our identity. However, it has been very important to me that New Works does not appear as a direct offspring of the Scandinavian design style and New Nordic. I wanted New Works to be a brand that challenged the commercial side of the Scandinavian design industry by adding a more unpolished feeling.’
How do you work with designers?
‘There are no rules nor one specific way that we work with designers. We reach out to the designers we admire, whether they are already established or up-and-coming. We are lucky that a lot of designers are also reaching out to us. We work less and less with design briefs that are distributed widely, and more often with specific designers for a better dialogue. Each project is handled differently. Each process is different, and so are the designers. Some work from feeling, others approach things mathematically. That is what makes it so interesting.'
Sculptural forms and a serene ambience unite our products
What is the best advice you ever received?
‘Within the design field, there is something I often notice about people and something I once was caught up in myself, namely mixing your work-person with your private-person. I always remind myself how privileged I am that I get to work with what I love the most, but also that it is just a job. It can give you an awful lot of stress and worries if you equate what you do with who you are. In the design industry, the amount of personality in the outcome is rather big. Everyone sees you as a designer through your work and relates this to who you are as a person. And right there, at the end of the day, it is so important to tell yourself that it is just work. You must relax your shoulders and remember who you are as a person.’ What is the biggest dream for your studio?
‘To stay small, even though this is of course not entirely true. Somehow, we want to stay uncommercial in the commercial progress and make sure that the ideology we had at the start does not disappear in the expectations of what New Works should become. It is great to have ambition and dreams, but I also feel that it is important to enjoy the process and not make haste towards an end-goal. The creativity and experimentation are what I enjoy the most.’
Do you want to know more about New Works? Read the full article in Imagicasa Autumn 2022.
Images courtesy of New Works