1Please give us a brief bio of yourself, your company, job profile, etc.
I was educated on the Royal Danish Academy of fine arts – school of Architecture, DPT of Space and Furniture. Since then, I have independently worked with the main fields of mine: architecture, interior design, exhibition design, and last but not least furniture design. Furthermore, I have worked as the head of the furniture: DPT of the Danish Design School, been teaching and censoring. In my own studio, when no task from outside was given, I spend my time designing on a huge and never-ending diversity of ideas for new furniture. Luckily, later, a few of them went all the way to be manufactured at different producers. Some have received various design awards from all over the world.
2Tell us a bit about your business and what you do.
GRUMDESIGN Troels Grum-Schwensen works with Architecture, Interiors, and furniture-design. The central approach is the architectural space and the wellbeing of human beings. We work with the outer limitations of the space; the building and the daylight. Furthermore, with the most important objects inside the architectural space; the furniture, which I often design innovatively in order to make - even serial-produced furniture able to adapt and be customized for specific rooms. The optimal balancing of objects – in shape and size, to the given space is the main goal.
For ambitious furniture-manufacturers all over the world, I offer balanced, aesthetical and sculptural design, combined with high-level problem-solution.
3Congratulations! As the winner of the 2019 Muse Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
I feel honored to receive the Platinum MUSE award in the furniture category. This might, by me, by the manufacturer; LAMMHULTS and by the outside world be considered as a recognition of PONTO-table as world-class furniture design.
4Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2019 Muse Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
PONTO table-system is based on a 15 years old idea/philosophy of mine, first executed as a bench purely in aluminum. The idea was quite simple but totally new; to slide an aluminum leg onto a huge and long profile which were, at the same time, the loadbearing beam and the seat. The gravity locked and stabilized the construction without screws or the use of tools. With only 2 different parts it became possible to make the bench in the length wanted and with the number of legs needed, freely positioned.
In 2005, I made a sketch for a table with the same main-principles as the bench, but with solid wooden legs. In 2016 I began to adjust this design and got the chance to get it realized in cooperation with LAMMHULTS in Sweden, who launched the PONTO-table in February 2019.
The strength of the two longitudinal aluminum beams allows extraordinary long (up to 558cm!) tables with only 4 legs and the slide-leg-mounting-principle, demanding no tools, gives a huge degree of freedom in where to position the legs and also in the measures of the table.
On this background – the unseen abilities in the design - I chose to enter the MUSE Awards competition with PONTO.
5What was the biggest challenge with this project?
The challenges were not few, as my goal was a clear simplicity with as few parts as possible. To find the right tolerance/gap between alu-beam and the wooden legs was a delicate balance.
6What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
- To work creatively with ideas and shape
- To express an attitude, by trying to find innovative, readable and honest solutions, with meaning in the larger scale and precision in the detail.
- The never-ending engagement and passion in trying to find better solutions.
7What makes your country specifically, unique in the creative industry?
Denmark has a special tradition when it comes to furniture design with very strong pieces and designers from the fifties. The caring for the details is something we have to bring with us, in our attempt to find new solutions and designs for the future.
8Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?
We have to make fewer and better products and buildings. New items and new architecture should really have meaning and be evaluated from a climate's perspective before making. This also means that they must have a long lifespan both physically and aesthetically.
9What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the creative industry?
The most important “skill” at all is empathy. Develop and sharpen your empathy for people, the environment, the users of your creation, the material and even each tiny screw holding it together.
Another one is an “agile zoom objective”. Always change your distance, as well as the angle to your item in the process. When you are occupied by a small detail; don’t forget to frequently zoom out and look at it in the context!
10Who has inspired you in your life and why?
Quite a lot of different people. Among them John Lennon, Alvar Aalto, Poul Kjærholm, a few of my teachers and many more.
11Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?
Thank You to LAMMHULTS, to MUSE Awards and to You who are reading this!