We are ÅBEN
Meet our founding designers
Positioning himself in Fiskars, away from the urban centres of design reflects how Antrei views his life as a maker. His training was entirely vocational, his talent for design is unstudied, organic.
Antrei describes himself as “a maker, interested in design”. Yet the way in which his work comes into being is purely artistic, flowing from work created for exhibitions.
Having studied in New York Erin spent time back in Istanbul, finding and working with craftspeople - copper workers, metal spinners, ceramic artists, woodworkers.
She travelled to Beykoz, an area dedicated to glasswork. Her desire to see craftspeople at work all over the world has influenced the designer she is today. Erin doesn’t feel her work belongs to any particular culture. Rather it is the trio of colour, texture and material that dominate her thinking, these provide the defining thread.
Alexandra grew up in Skåne, the most southerly region of Sweden – an area renowned for its natural beauty and its concentration of craftspeople.
Alexandra returns each Easter for the Konstrudan when studios and workshops are open to the public. Growing up in such picturesque surrounds provoked a desire for contrast, Alexandra does not draw inspiration from nature and finds little stimulation there: “Now I live in the city, it’s like heaven to me with all the concrete.”
Making design simple is a complicated matter. Stripping back can be a painstaking process: “The ideas come extremely fast, but the execution of the idea takes a long time.”
Fortunately Frederik & Gustav have an impressive work ethic that typically sees them working 16-hour days. Their pursuit of honesty reflects ÅBEN’s founding objective of transparency of process. “We’re not hiding anything, we want everything to be exposed, honesty in everything we do”.
Samuli’s core artistic values centre around Finnish materials and Finnish craftmanship. He seeks to design pieces that will be passed from one generation to another, that gain lustre rather than diminish with age.
Samuli’s dedication to design, his belief that he can make life a little better through his work and the inner confidence that stems from knowing he’s finally doing exactly what he was meant to do, make him stand-out. “I don’t see it as a design career, it’s a life”.
Jonas didn’t realise design could be a career until he was in his mid-teens. His childhood of making gave him a natural advantage and praise from teachers made him realise his potential.
When talking of his early studies, Jonas is wistful about ‘making’, without extensive planning. The search for freedom of expression is a characteristic of his design identity: “My work now is very refined but I do some pieces with a chainsaw that are more sculptural, rough-hewn.”
At 21 she spent a year at Ölands Folkhoögskola Design on the small island of Öland. She lived there while studying sculpture, classical art, textiles, graphic design – an introduction to design.
It was a place her mother also studied at the same age. Veronica then did a year at Nyckelviksskolan Arts and Crafts before starting at Beckmans College of Design. She had wanted to attend Beckhams since she was 14, the trouble was deciding what exactly she was going to study. “So many things are interesting to me and so many go hand in hand. This has been a weakness but also a strength.”
Nick likens his work to performing a magic trick, the beauty of his design masking a sleight of hand, conveying hidden messages.
The whole process counters mindless creating which, in turn, discourages thoughtless purchasing. The epitome of thoughtful design, Nick Ross is the perfect Designer in Residence for the launch of ÅBEN.
Marie is reluctant to be described as a ceramicist, citing a respect for the art and the long years it takes to master techniques.
When she was growing up her father wanted her to be an engineer and she retains an intense focus on form and scientific process. The complexity of ceramics appeal and challenge in equal measure. “There is a connection with science. It’s about calculating shrinkage, losing a certain percentage, depending on which clay you use, one might lose 11 % another 8% - it’s interesting, challenging, it’s hard to do anything precise.”