Design or Art?

by Annabelle Filler on

The relationship between a designer and an artist has led to the collaborative project, Pettersen & Hein, in which Lea Hein and Magnus Pettersen combine their shared enthusiasm for materials such a concrete and steel and their love for imperfections. In their universe, function follows form and everything is connected. Recently launched at the Stockholm Furniture Fair, Pettersen & Hein’s objects are building blocks composed of fairly simple everyday materials. The end-result, though, is nothing but simple.

Pettersen & Hein’s practice consists primarily of working with steel materials, iron, and individually dyed concrete elements with varying polychrome surfaces and almost organic looking textures – every piece is unique. Refining and transforming the somewhat boring, industrial materials into vibrant elements constituting objects such as tables, lamps and mirrors, Pettersen & Hein makes objects that are poetic, sensuous and fragile despite the masculine, rough materials. In their hands, materials are shaped, combined and dealt with in an unexpected manner: the concrete is colored in pigment, the stainless steel plate is polished, the perforated steel is coated with yellow chromating and the iron is treated with beeswax. Perhaps changing an everyday material into the contrary.

The objects are all untitled, because ‘it all depends on how and what the viewer reads into the object,’ Magnus Pettersen says. As American minimalist, Richard Artschwager once said ‘If you sit on it, it is a chair. If you look at it and walk around it, it is a sculpture.’ Strongly inspired by the thoughts and forms of minimalist artists Donald Judd and Richard Artschwager as well as looking towards the shapes of constructivism, Pettersen & Hein have found their own voice in the intersection between art and design, work and object – finding that when boundaries between design and art are effaced potential for magic and poetry occurs.


 Photo credits: Andreas Omvik