Kasper Kjeldgaard

Kasper Kjeldgaard is the designer of Fritz Hansen's minimalist Oneline™ pendant, a slender line of light that draws on Nordic simplicity to illuminate spaces with ambient light and reflective details. Since graduating from the Royal School of Design and Architecture in 2016, Kjeldgaard has been acknowledged for his extraordinary and poetic design universe of balance and suspense. Driven by a desire to create a composition that makes sense in itself, Kjeldgaard continuously pursues broadening the definition of design through his work.

Through his balanced creations, Kjeldgaard explores and communicates aspects of nature, such as friction and gravity. In the process of creating, there is a continual striving to learn new techniques and test new materials as every object is given shape on the metal lathe. Kjeldgaard's work has a refined expression with a clear emphasis on craftsmanship. His objects hide nothing but lay bare their inner workings, available for decoding.

Kjeldgaard's works have been featured at multiple exhibitions with Mindcraft in Milano, Wallpaper Handmade in Milano, and a solo exhibition at Patrick Parrish in New York. He is the recipient of Craftsman of the Year Design Award, 2018, and the Formex Nova Design Award, 2019.

In conversation with: Kasper Kjeldgaard

The Oneline lamp’s minimalistic style is often compared to Poul Kjærholm. How do you think about that comparison? What is your philosophy when it comes to minimalist expressions?

I’ve always had an affinity for Poul Kjærholm and his design thinking. While studying at school, we had a PK54 table, and I often found myself under the table studying the legs. Then and today, I feel inspired by Kjærholm and his way of showing everything in his designs and not hiding anything away. I also find it very intriguing that when all his designer peers were creating using wood, Kjærholm decided to work with metal. He was way ahead of his time.

The whole idea of working with metal is very personal to me – as metal allows you to express your ideas without having to deal with the organic features of natural materials. For me, every detail needs to have a function and every function needs to be shown.

In my art works, I like to bring out the poetry in the compositions by bringing two seemingly opposing materials together. Like the heaviness of steel and the lightness of feathers. In the case of Oneline, however, I did the opposite. I used complementary materials and pared back as much as possible in the process to make a product that is not only minimal, but also functional. A piece that will maintain its relevance over a long period of time.

How does your practice as an artist inform your work with commercial design lighting? How was the transition from one world (art) to another (commercial) when creating Oneline?

Most of my ideas come while I am working with the materials in my studio – hands-on. I can best describe the transition process from art to commerce and vice-versa like the movement of a pendulum. When working on an artistic concept, I can come across solutions that I can eventually apply to a commercial project, and the other way around. It’s swinging back and forth.

The traditional school of thinking that you first need to identify a problem and then try to find solutions is not a philosophy that I follow.

In which context(s) did you imagine Oneline hanging? E.g., an office or a kitchen?

The idea of Oneline started many years ago as a lamp that would work over my office table. Today it hangs above my kitchen counter, where it works very well. But I can see it equally well suited as a long stretch in a canteen or a big meeting room. Or even turned towards a wall, almost like an art piece.

I think the piece is very versatile.

How does the Oneline pendent affect a space?

The lamp has a very geometric expression also when it’s not lit. The simplicity of the design makes for a delicate graphic contour that is quite sharp. It affects a room with its thin shape and, of course, in the way it diffuses light.

What was your process for creating Oneline? How was it to collaborate with Fritz Hansen in the creation of Oneline?

Well, the prototype of Oneline was absolutely horrible in terms of quality and light diffusion. What I did not know going into the collaboration were the company's quality standards and material expertise. For example, they understood the materials that would get the luminosity hight enough while ensuring full light diffusion. Ultimately, they had the expertise to take the lamp from a very good idea to something ready to sell.

Furthermore, the dialogue during the development process was very good too. Every change that was ever made from the original design was approved by me. I felt very safe throughout.

What is your creative process?

Rapid prototyping. Thinking and going right into creating.

What is most important to you in your work – the process? The outcome?

The results. Though the process is important to me too, I prefer designing pieces I can actually create myself.
I think some creatives prefer and get their best ideas through sketching and then have someone else develop the product. But for me, I really enjoy the process of learning how to do the hands-on creation myself. For example, if I am to do a glass piece, then I will go learn glassmaking and create the piece myself.

The process helps me identify what is rational and what is not. I feel I get wiser when I am actually working with the materials myself.

Who or what influences and inspires you?

There is so much that inspires me. It could be, for example, as simple as the shapes in a picture. The other day I saw an image of the sun that made me think of different ways I could use that in my work.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on a few architecture projects and upcoming solo exhibitions.