The creative mind behind our bestselling statement feather shades, we sat down with Søren Ravn Christensen, founder of UMAGE, to talk about what inspires his work.
How did you develop your career as an interior designer and UMAGE?
Through intensive work on doing interiors of bars, night clubs, galleries and restaurants, but also through the combinations of well thought-out concepts and the interiors to support them. In time a gap in the European lighting markets emerged and Northern design became very popular, but still at extremely high price levels. We knew we could do it less expensive and sometimes even better. That sparked the beginning of the UMAGE; flat packed affordable Danish Design concept now selling in more than 40 countries around the world.
Your iconic lighting designs are popular throughout the world, what inspires you?
Usually a combination of “this is a challenge or problem that, if solved, could make a difference to many” and basic knowledge of market needs. Then, and not before, I seek different alternative materials, constructions and production ways to solve the riddle. Quite often nature plays a great part in developing the right shapes and tactile feel to the product. The latter being an important gradient in many of our design: if you want to touch the product, you are likely to have made the first step towards a purchase and a lasting design.
Tell us a bit about your personal interiors style.
They say I must have a fetish for wooden chairs and coffee tables because I have so many and I change them often. It is the craftsmanship of these usually old (50’s and 60’s) pieces of Danish Furniture Designers that appeal so much to all of my senses. But in any great interior, it is never the one item that make the room or the atmosphere, it is the combination of things and always – flowers and plants – not a lot, but enough to make the room welcoming and alive. As with lighting, a single flower can make a table or a corner look twice as appealing as it did without.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
For relaxation it would have to be tranquil places around the world (Northern Sweden – wooden tree-huts, Canada – lake-hiking in British Columbia, West Indies Islands – St. Croix, St. Thomas, Glenorchy in New Zealand, French Polynesian Islands or Lamezia in southern Italy) – far away from civilisation, but civil none the less.
Finally, what is the one thing you can’t live without?
Good that you said “thing”, but truthfully, there are no interiors you cannot live without. I believe in feeling and seeing and not keeping things for longer than necessary. Even items I have had for a decade fade away and often only stories and experiences associated with the objects can maintain the attraction. It is like food, too much of the same thing is never fulfilling in the long run. In other words, I crave the change and whatever can keep my curiosity entertained and boredom at bay. You need a dream to get up in the morning, so I say, keep dreaming and never accept mediocracy.
Click here to explore our collection of ceiling lights, including many UMAGE products.