Guest of Honour

The Swedish design studio Front defies easy categorisation. It creates industrial objects, but also doesn’t. It launches self-initiated research projects, although not always. It designs, but sometimes not. One of Front’s early projects, after all, delegated the task of crafting furniture to dogs and beetles. A collaboration between Anna Lindgren and Sofia Lagerkvist, Front is a studio that dissects what design could be.
Since Front was founded in 2004, its work has varied dramatically in output, but is always consistent in approach. The studio celebrates the communicative power of objects, exploring what it means to be a designer today. How can design adapt to technological, environmental and social change, and what do objects tell us about the wider world? What does a plastic horse reveal about taste? A windblown vase about the ephemerality of design? A beaded vessel about the potential for more equitable futures?
Emerging at a time when contemporary Swedish design skewed towards minimalism, Front’s willingness to embrace humour and figurative forms, as well as surrendering control to purposefully unpredictable processes, ran counter to the wider discipline. Today, however, its ideas are widely embraced. Front’s products are in production with brands including Vitra, Moooi, and Swedese, while its self-initiated research has been acquired by MoMA, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Nationalmuseum, among others. Projects that once seemed strange and divisive have assumed their place in design history.

This text is an edited version of the Guest of Honour exhibition text by Oli Stratford. Read the full articel about Front in Disegno here.


Pictured is Design by Natur, by Fron in a collaboration  with Moroso.