Simon Legald, less is more

Since graduating from the prestigious Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in the summer of 2012, thirty-year-old designer Simon Legald has come a long way. A leading figure of Danish company Normann Copenhagen, with whom he's established a solid collaboration from the start of his career, Simon speaks of honesty and simplicity when referencing his pieces.

"Simplicity describes the true identity of objects, it makes them trustworthy. That's why I try not to add superfluous details to my designs. I like to highlight what's necessary, instead of hiding it. That's how you make an honest product". Here's what Simon had to tell us from his native Copenhagen.

What are you working on?
I'm busy on various projects, but I really can't say anything more right now.

Then let's talk about iconic design, what piece do you most admire?
"Claud Butler" Bicycle DSH (Dennis Sutton Horn), the model from 1934. This whole project is destined to last throughout time and trends.

If you could live a day in the life of another creative, who would you choose and why?
Olafur Eliasson, to play with shapes, materials, environments and large 3D objects.

What are your main objectives as a designer?
To create products that are long-lasting.

Have you noticed any changes in the field of design in the past few years?
Design has become much more global: everyone can access the same inspiration contemporarily, so styles and trends can be replicated in an instant. I think values such as integrity, honesty and originality are therefore becoming even more important.

Looking back, do you think there was a turning point in your career?
Well, I'm only 30 and I started working five years ago. So I feel I'm still at the beginning.

Which of your projects are you most proud of?
The creative process of “Form Series” for Normann Copenhagen was really interesting and a very formative experience. It took me three years to get every detail right, but patience paid off: I've very satisfied with the result.

Did you always dream of becoming a designer?
I always thought I would work as a graphic artist, perhaps in the advertising industry, but I soon realized that 3D products are much more interesting.

Did you see any interesting exhibitions this year?
I really enjoyed 'Ruptures' by Ai Weiwei, which I saw at the Faurschou Foundation in Denmark. What fascinated me was the presence of objects in the works of art on display.

What are your main sources of inspiration?
My inspiration comes from my curiosity about everything: materials, forms, creations. I tend to photograph anything that strikes me from my surroundings.

What's a typical day of work like?
I do everything, from answering emails to working in the lab.

How would you define your style?
My starting point is often an investigation of function and the archetype of a product. Then I try to find a way to create something new, but recognizable. Sometimes the material determines the product, sometimes it's the exact opposite. I would define my design style as "updated tradition".

What do you consider your greatest talent?
An abundance of curiosity. And the desire to create.

What are the challenges of your profession?
Having a job that you are passionate about is wonderful, but it also always keeps you busy. It's hard to clock out.

Which contemporary artists do you admire and why?
I love the work of Tom Friedman, who was born in 1965. He's an American conceptual sculptor who spends his time working with everyday materials, giving them a new perspective. All done in a very scrupulous manner.

Can you reveal some of your go-to places?
101 Hotel in Reykjavik for the view. Restaurant Gorilla in Copenhagen for its variety of dishes. And in general I adore Copenhagen, it's gorgeous in every season.

Can you describe your home to us?
It's small but contains quite an assortment of new and vintage objects. I tend to collect strange, old pieces at flea markets when I'm abroad.

Do you have a motto?
"Patience is another word for getting old".

Interview by Marzia Nicolini
© Simon Legald & Normann Copenhagen

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