Sigurd Larsen is a Danish architect based in Berlin. After the graduation in Copenhagen he was roaming around the world: New York (OMA-Rem Koolhass), Rotterdam, Copenhagen until he finally stopped in Berlin, where after the work at Topotek1 office, he has opened his own company in 2009.
Sigurd is working and jumping every day within the fields of design, art and architecture.
We all think that – when we find our way of life, it’s always a magical moment. Was it the same for you when you chose your path in architecture & design? How it happened for you?
Actually, I wanted to be an architect all my life. I always was determined to do this and it’s strange because neither of my parents are architects and I don’t have any architect in my family. But since I was a kid, l was playing with Lego and this was just what I wanted to do – to be an architect.
We know that you are Danish. How it happened that you moved to Berlin?
It was a coincidence that I am in Berlin because I moved here for working in an office.
Berlin is not one of the most famous cities in Europe for architecture like Barcelona or Switzerland, for instance. Berlin is more for artists and fashion designers, musicians or start-ups but on the other hand it’s also quite interesting and exciting to be in a city like that.
It’s really interesting what artists are doing here – they have freedom to experiment with materials, forms and concepts. For me as a designer and an architect this all seems very inspiring.
How you would describe your style? What makes you distinctive?
That’s a good question! I work a lot with low cost materials and design buildings that are not so expensive. In the same time I am interested especially in furniture design – in materials that last long time, materials that become more and more beautiful every day is passing like, for example, concrete or wood. The more you use these materials the more they become beautiful. This is my way to keep alive what I am creating. Who knows, maybe even for many generations..
I remember when my grandmother died, we found in her house something that was so beautiful that we couldn’t throw it away and we decide to keep it in our house. If you think about this, it’s a really great thing.
I am distinctive in a way that – I am making things that could last long, against consumerism of nowadays. So, what I am really looking for, is not an expensive design but, in the same time, I want to create something that could last for many many years. Using low-cost materials doesn’t mean that this furniture should be use just for few times!
Do you have role models?
I think I have a lot. From when I was studying I was inspired a lot by Japanese architects, and I think I have a lot in common with the use of space and lightness in design with Scandinavian architects.
If I should say a name I would choose Sou Fujimoto who makes architecture very informal and playful, but in the same time extremely aesthetic and very conceptual.
Fujimoto is just one example, there are many Japanese architects who are doing things really well.
Which is your favourite work and why?
I would choose one of the first furniture I designed after the opening of my own studio. lt’s called Shrine. It’s a wooden box which has a lot of openings and a secret space. Shrine is very personal work. I had the idea of this piece of furniture when I was a child and it’s been roaming in my head for 25 year until I had the opportunity to have enough time for developing the idea in my opened company.
Shrine was a record player but then I had the opportunity to develop the idea and realize small architecture with same structure of a small building.
This is really exciting how from an idea from childhood I have realized a product that l was able to develop in different concepts.
Can you explain the way you work – process from an idea until realization?
I am sketching a lot, building models and always producing many and many versions. Usually for each project we are making 3-4 versions and after with colleagues we are discussing about them. We keep the best ideas from a concept and mix others, remove what doesn’t work and develop the ideas step by step. It’s a dynamic way to design.
I am working on different projects daily and prefer to do like that because I cannot get stopped. I am designing one piece of furniture for a client and in the same time a house for another one. Projects are from different scale but that doesn’t mean that ideas and concepts can cross and you can get inspiration from one project or another.
I can’t imagine that l could work 100% of the time on a furniture, for example, and just after finishing it, start another project.
Are you working always in studio or you do it even outside?
Sometimes in the evenings I am working also at home and I am even teaching twice a week at UDK, so I don’t spent 24/7 in my office but, of course, when I am designing, it always happen in office not in café or outside.
What is next for Sigurd Larsen?
There are a lot of existing things that are going to happen. I designed an exciting project – house in Denmark which right now is under construction. Then I also designed a piece for a Danish production company and some hotel rooms in Berlin which are very conceptual!
And, of course, many projects are coming but I can’t yet talk about them.
How Berlin as a city is impacting your work?
I don’t know! lt’s something I never asked to myself.
Berlin is a city where you can feel the recent past, there are buildings that are falling apart. I really find the beauty when the things are not so well-maintained and not so perfect.
The difference between Berlin and Copenhagen is that in Copenhagen all is very well-maintained, Berlin is totally opposite.
This probably is one aspect you can find in my design – the things allow to age in a beautiful way. So, more or less this could be the influence of the city on my design.
Which are your favorite places in Berlin?
I live in the neighbor of Kreuzberg and also my studio is located in this area. It’s an exciting neighbor, very multicultural and has a lot of big concrete blocks from 70’s. Also there are many parks. As you are walking around corner, you found yourself in completely different world and I love this contrast in public spaces. It’s very alive neighbor, international and dynamic.
If we ask to decide an outfit from Stole the Snow, which pieces would you choose?
I would say: 1. Sissi Goetze – Scott knit black, 2. Frisur – Josef Trousers, 3. Frisur – Simon shirt stormy blue and 4. Uniforms for the dedicated – Dean bomber jacket black.
Thanks, Sigurd, and warm greetings from Italy!