GLASS LIVES INTERVIEW:
Büro Famos

Buro Famos in conversation with North Lands Creative Director Karen Phillips. Hanna and Romin share Their experience during ISGNE air AT NORTH LANDS CREATIVE

PROJECT ACTIVITY - Solo Air

PARTNER - north lands creative

YEAR - 2019

1. What were you doing in the year leading up to the ISGNE AiR opportunity?

We did several design projects for different companies, also we were teaching at a German university. It was a project called „Glass from wood“, the students were able to have first hands on experiences with hot glass in this project – good fun!

2. Please tell us how you found the ISGNE AiR residency open call, and what motivated you to apply?

It was actually quite by accident! We did some research on hot glass projects and stumbled over the webpage of Berlin-Glas were it was announced at this moment. It caught our attention immediately…!

Hanna and Romin walked the John o´Groats Trail from Lybster to Whaligoe Steps Café with Alexandra Muresan, on the way they took a lovely picture of Clyth Lighthouse

3. How was your journey from Berlin to Lybster? What was the first thing you noticed about the landscape or the people?

The long stretch up North, after leaving Heathrow Airport -already seeing the Highlands from the plane- got us excited. Finally landing at the tiny Inverness airport and the warm welcome was really nice. We enjoyed the landscape on the drive from Inverness, we noticed less and less trees driving further North to Lybster,…

4. Apart from the isolation were there other noticeable differences?

We really liked the community in the schoolmasters house together with the two Emmas and Alex who were there at the same time. Was a bit like a shared flat during studies with a lot of exchange and fun.

5. Tell me about your first day at North Lands Creative. What was your first impression of the studio?

To us it was really WOW! All these opportunities. And Michael being so kind showing and explaining everything. We were overwhelmed, but also excited.

6. Can you describe your project during the residency and how this influenced your creative practice?

We came to Lybster only with rough ideas and techniques in mind we might want to experiment with during the residency. The two projects we have been working on were developed in the studio, also in dialogue with Michael giving us a lot of advice. For us it was very cool to be able to dive deep into these projects and we were super satisfied with what we achieved in that (relatively) short time.

We applied for the Grassimesse Leipzig with the projects and were granted a place to show our work there. Furthermore we won one of the awards and the museum even bought pieces from the series for its collection. Really a lot of good things happened for us after the ISGNE.

Buro Famos experimenting with sand casting with assistance from
Michael Bullen, Technical Manager at North Lands Creative

Buro Famos studio

7. We’d love to gain an insight into your background in the design sector. Where did this initially begin for you and how has this developed?

For us it probably began with our studies of product design. And more seriously with establishing our own studio back in 2012. Since then we continuously develop different projects and explore different fields. From furniture to tableware. From accessories to lighting. Using honest materials whenever possible.

Actually glass also plays an important role to us. We are lucky having a friend who is glassmaker and always up to new things. And so our curiosity and fascination paired with his knowledge and craftsmenship led to various glass projects.

8. How did you develop your company Buro Famos and what is its main ethos?

First stage was definetly to get anyone to know we were even there. We went to a lot of shows and fairs to show our designs and attitude and established contacts to companies. In the meantime we have several products from a lot of different companies on the market. So it seems like this somehow worked for us.

We believe that products that are well designed, use honest and haptically interesting materials can evolve a stronger relationship between the owner and product, than poorly made can. And so this leads to a natural sustainability without even thinking of it. We like to achieve these kind of value when designing products.

9. What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing a career in the creative industry?

Be yourself.

10. What makes Berlin a good base for creatives?

It has lots of different influences, and is very versatile. But actually we’re not sure if its a better base than other big cities. Of course there are also some flaws, for example the astronimical rents that developed in the last years and then again changing people which make it less attractive now.

A cast glass pendant for the German lighting company Filumen

11. Within ISGNE, there is a focus on craftsmanship, heritage and innovation. What does the ‘future of craft’ mean to you and how do you see this evolving?

We think that in a world becoming more and more digital there will be a growing need for the analogue. Although we know that sounds a little romantic we think its true. How this will manifest is yet to see, but hopefully craft will play its role in this context.

12. What do you think is needed for the Design sector to adjust during the current climate situation, is this ‘change’ possible for all?

We see a growing awareness on the side of manufacturers that is probably also driven by consumers needs and requests. Its good that there is a certain rethinking taking place at the moment. For the design sector its important to help shape this change.

13. The ‘desire’ for the aesthetic and visual function of design may take a backseat in the current climate. Will work with a focus on aesthetics find a place again? How will this affect the type of work seen within the design and creative sector?

We think that there is no reason why the aesthetic should step aside or take a backseat. Good works will be able to unite the new challenges and good aesthetics. As the human need for aesthetic will pursue.

14. Do you feel ‘expertise’ within the design sector is gained through specialisation in a style / medium? How can one stay proactive when established in their field?

We are personally not big fans of high specialisation as its not in our blood. We work the way we do, independent with our own studio, to be able to do different projects in different fields. Of course there is a certain specialisation, which is natural and linked to our interests.

Maybe one can stay proactive by always staying interested and curious – not only in one ́s profession.

15. Who or what are you most inspired by?

Observations in everyday life, probably. Seeing things others don ́t see.

16. Do you have any creative platforms or designers to mind that you would recommend that are paving new ways in design? Have you seen any good examples of how creatives can stay motivated?

Difficult question. To stay motivated we think its important to show work publicly time to time, also to gain feedback, this can help to stay motivated.

17. What does the future hold for your practice? Any insights you can share with us?

There are many things quite open at the moment. We are working on different things: new products, new glass ideas, teaching lessons, our new website. We always find something to do.

Buro Famos finished sand casting work at North Lands Creative

Buro Famos experimenting with colours and techniques during ISGNE residency.

ARTIST BIO
Buro Famos

Hanna Litwin and Romin Heide are both product designers and form the Berlin design studio Büro Famos. They work in several disciplines: furniture, tableware, lighting and accessories. Always with a clear focus on honest high quality materials. One passion of both is glass. Most of the times they do workshops with the glassmaker Cornelius Reer where they develop their ideas. Büro Famos has glass products on the market from vases, drinking glasses to luminaires for brand like Normann Copenhagen, Modo Luce, Bolia and Filumen. The works they did at North Lands as part of the ISGNE 2019 was awarded the Apolline Prize 2019 at Grassimesse in Leipzig, Germany.

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