Design By Nature

A new furniture collection where Front and Moroso invite the wilderness in

The Nature Furniture collection is the first result of a research project by Swedish designers Front, made in collaboration with Italian furniture brand Moroso, called Design by Nature.

The new pieces of furniture are recreations of fragments of wilderness, using 3D-scanning, milling and weaving The pieces appear like moss-covered rocks and mounds, three-dimensional forms found in nature that suggest places for the human body to occupy.

Sofia Lagerkvist, co-founder and partner of Front, says: “We wanted the pieces to create the feeling that someone had lifted a whole glade from a forest with a gigantic shovel and moved it to a home.” Anna Lindgren, co-founder and partner of Front, adds: “We documented these places using different techniques, both high tech and traditional. We wanted to collect both the dimensions and physical properties, but also the experience and atmosphere of nature. There were lots of paintings and drawings, and we 3D-scanned entire areas in different natural settings and used those forms to create the pieces of furniture.”

The textiles that cover these complex forms are an integral part of the works, designed by Front and produced in collaboration with Febrik/Kvadrat. Images from Front’s scanning process were digitally rebuilt and woven in tapestries customised to fit the three-dimensional furniture pieces.

The Design by Nature project has taken four years of development by Front, in collaboration with experts and researchers in many fields. The design approach behind the works pays close attention to nature, and the works build on research on physical and mental health effects, as well as the cultural and psychological significance, of natural settings, especially in Front’s native Sweden. “Being close to nature is of course a stress reliever and good for your health. But we are also interested in other strong effects of images of the natural world. For instance, there are studies that suggest that people feel good when they see various aspects of nature at the same time. You instinctively understand that there are many ways to survive: you can take fish from the water, you can pick berries and hunt in the forest and fields. This is very basic, a fundamental part of human perception that we are interested in experimenting with.”

Another part of Design by Nature has been a study of the creativity of animals and the structures they build, through taking specific inspiration from structures and objects made by animals, from single-cell organisms to mammals like bears and beavers. Anna says: “Our interest has been to look at how those structures work and how they relate to their surroundings. What materials do animals use, how do they choose a site, what is the intelligence we can see in their design approach?” These objects will be revealed alongside the Nature Furniture pieces in a major exhibition in Milan in 2021, in collaboration with Moroso.

Sofia Lagerkvist says: “We have collaborated with Moroso for many years and it has grown into a great friendship as well. It is very rare and inspiring process to work with Patrizia Moroso. She is very involved as a creative force and her curiosity to try new techniques and material gives us a designers the possibility to push the project even further and beyond the point that any other company would dare to do.”