Furniture and product design, Kingston University London
(smow)blog: Why the decision to become a product designer?
Erik Wester: That’s what I like doing! Since I was small I’ve been interested in drawing and building and was searching for what I could use my skills for and arrived at product and furniture design.
(smow)blog: And why the decision to study Product and Furniture Design at Kingston?
Erik Wester: London has a long design tradition, design is taking seriously there, it’s a big market, and also it’s a city with some very good designers.
(smow)blog: Did you have options to study in Norway, or…. ?
Erik Wester: Yes there were options, but it’s also nice to go abroad and study, especially in terms of the contacts you can make. And generally I think that studying in an international environment is an advantage if you want to start designing yourself.
(smow)blog: As a designer, who are your inspirations?
Erik Wester: There are so many good designers who regularly produce great works, but that doesn’t mean that I like all their works. One of my favorites however is Bertjan Pot, for me has many good ideas, ideas that he believes in, and you can see that in his designs. Also he’s an independent designer who has been successful with his own ideas, which I find really good.
(smow)blog: Then after graduating, why the decision to move to Amsterdam?
Erik Wester: The main reason was an internship with Joris Laarman, I spent 5 months working there. Plus in Holland there is generally a very good atmosphere for design and I am also very interested in Dutch design and so was interested to see how it has developed in recent years.
Also everything is very close. For example the various components for the Standing Task Light are all sourced from people within a 15 minute bike ride of me. And so you can produce a ball joint two minutes away, and then a lamp shade 10 minutes in the other direction….
(smow)blog: That sounds like Jasper Morrison when he started, he also used to source suppliers in London from his moped…
Erik Wester: … and he’s also a Kingston graduate…
(smow)blog: … very true. Must be something in the water! Since we’re at the Standing Task Light, was that a university project, or…
Erik Wester: It began as a university project but at that time I only made a working model and so, while I really believe in the idea, I continued developing it after I graduated.
(smow)blog: And briefly what is the motivation behind the piece?
Erik Wester: A lot of my projects start with considerations as to how one uses things and how you connect with a product. In a way, how to make the product function in a warm way. And that was also the starting point here, how does one use a standing lamp and what must a standing lamp do.
(smow)blog: You’re now planning returning to Norway, is there a big design market in Norway?
Erik Wester: No. And so it’s therefore important that I remain active outside Norway, because not only is the market there smaller, but also the interest in design is quite different.
(smow)blog: Do you plan to remain working as an independent designer?
Erik Wester: Yes, I don’t think I can work for a boss. And so if it doesn’t work out I’ll have to try something else (laughs)
But no I will keep working, I have a lot of ideas and I want to keep producing things and so I will keep pushing on.
More information on Erik Wester can be found at http://erikwester.com/