"Seating Furniture Of The Year"
Interview with Blå Station’s design manager and co-owner Johan Lindau and the designers of BOB, Stefan Borselius & Thomas Bernstrand.
Since its launch in January 2017, BOB has been awarded:
Winner Best Seating Of The Year by Plaza Magazine 2017, Winner Best Seating at the ICFF NYC Editors’ Awards 2017, Winner Best Furniture at the Muuuz International Awards MIAW 2017, Winner Best Product at the Editor´s Choice Award of Stockholm Furniture Fair 2017. Also awarded as Honoree in the category Seating/Lounge at the NYC X DESIGN Awards 2017.
Congratulations on winning multiple awards during 2017 for the modular sofa BOB. How did you come up with the idea for this multifunctional piece?
Johan Lindau: From Blå Station’s point of view, or mine as Design Manager, everything started with curiosity about a new production opportunity with a new product logistic for us. What I had to do was to come up with a smart and distinct product brief open to interpretation, to maximize this new opportunity. The brief became: ”We need a smart sofa-system with as few parts as possible but with as many possibilities as possible – for the contract market but with a residential twist.” I needed to collaborate with designers who wouldn't take the easy way out, such that I would end up with the obvious three parts. Therefore, I felt confident in my choice of Stefan Borselius and Thomas Bernstrand – two of the most brilliant designers on the planet.
Stefan Borselius & Thomas Bernstrand: With a brief that limited the sofa to a few parts, while still making possible big variations/options, we developed this working hypotheses: sofa by the meter. It was something that we constantly returned to.
Can you describe BOB and its possibilities?
Johan Lindau: We could say: “Almost endless.” And we know that BOB will be almost endless: the BOB development will continue for many years to come.
Stefan Borselius & Thomas Bernstrand: By making each module only 10.2” wide, the variability of the different parts becomes larger. We wanted to highlight each part by giving them soft shapes. Repetition creates a flowing and unique character of its own. The smaller parts in the right proportions provide the total volume of the sofa, while at the same time you can build very large sofas. An important element, and part of the sofa design is that we wanted people to also be able to sit on the couch back. Therefore, we gave the back of the couch equal attention as we did with the front, making it even more flexible as a piece of furniture.
Another very important part of the design is how it is manufactured, coupled and transported, to minimize shipping and environmental impact. But the BOB's strength is nevertheless its almost endless variety of possibilities. No room or surface is too far, too narrow, too large or small for the BOB to find itself for the location. BOB is simply created for the customer's every need.
Why do you think BOB has won so many awards since its launch in January 2017?
Johan Lindau: I believe that every now and then, but not very often, products come along that attract your eye. You can see that a product is complicated, high quality, and serious – but at the same time, you as observer understand the product and its possibilities immediately. I guess that’s one of the reasons, and I guess that more awards will come.
What’s next for Blå Station – are you working on any new concepts?
Johan Lindau: Our title word for 2018 products is “Eixample,” after Ildefons Cerdas’ fantastic district in Barcelona. You are free to interpret this as you like– and we will show what we mean by it in February 2018.
What is Blå Station's approach to Scandinavian Design?
Johan Lindau: Scandinavian Design is all about how you interpret everyday products. It’s not made up of any marketing reason; it’s deeply rooted in our history and our daily lives. Our, Blå Station’s, approach to Scandinavian Design is more of a Swedish interpretation of a product – function. In Sweden, in contrast to most of the other design nations, function comes first. I believe that in Sweden, if a product that works the way it’s supposed to work, that if the function is there, it automatically becomes beautiful. This is contrary to, for example, Italian Design where a beautiful product is a beautiful product – even if it doesn’t work. In Sweden, a beautiful product that doesn’t work goes from beautiful to worthless and ugly in the fraction of a second. So, function is our approach to Scandinavian Design.