GAMFRATESI — Interview


Based in Copenhagen, GamFratesi studio was founded in 2006 by Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi. Respectively from Denmark and Italy they shared their own culture and background to create design with a great thinking and craft tradition. Fascinated by the materials and the details, quality is the key for their works. We let you read their interesting answers and enjoy their projects.


Hello Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi, how are you?

Fine, thank you.

Can you introduce yourselves?
Tell us more about both of you and the GamFratesi studio.

Stine Gam was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. She studied architecture with a master in furniture design. Enrico Fratesi was born in Pesaro, Italy. He has studied architecture and graduated with a master in industrial design. Gam and Fratesi gained experience as architects in architecture studios in Japan and Scandinavia before establishing their own design studio in 2006. After their studies they moved to Copenhagen, Stine’s hometown, as a new beginning. Sharing traditions become a strong point for the couple who, fascinated by their cultural contrasts, are transformed into a careful line to follow for the entire future. Both in work and in daily life we are constantly confronted with contrasts, and contrasts are often the centre of our inspiration. This research has become such a natural part of us that it will also show in our work.

[you’re both architects] Are product design and architecture the same kind of working process/approach?

There are several ways to deal with design and architecture. For us it is quite similar. The process starts by thinking of the human being at the centre of the project, finding the combination of materials and form to be able to interact in a positive relationship with people. We aim to create intimate products, furniture like micro architecture.

Where does your interest in product design come from?

We have always been fascinated by details and materials and working in design became a natural decision.

Can you choose one of your project and describe the process that you led from conception to production / to the making?

Project and process can sometimes develop in a different way. It is therefore difficult to define your own recipe on how products start from the idea up to the finished product. Anyway we do work very close through all the different stages of the creative and developing process. We share many of the same competences and interests, and appreciate to be able to work in such a tight collaboration. During research and development working in the workshop is very important for us. It is never just a drawing. The computer is a tool for us, but what is important is the physical form of the material, it is to stand and work on the prototype, even where something that is very raw, can be beautiful – and where it is continuously evolving and changing.

We can analyze two practical examples, which represent different ways of developing our product:
“Haiku” sofa is a project of extreme complexity in detail, form and proportion, which required from the first sketch to the final model a wide range of mock-up, 1:1 scale models, tests for comfort, padding etc. At the end of the process we are faced with a perfect product that required a lot of manual work, intelligent workshop solutions and high sensibility until the last moment before the presentation.

A project like the broom “Baffi” is instead a greater percentage of intuition. It is a simple line combined with the ability to flip in a completely innovative way, an object that has been historically defined for centuries. After developing some scale models to evaluate functionality and aesthetics, the design was pretty much defined. Then the final stage was about 2 years of research in order to be able to make this project industrialized without any compromise on quality. Both examples show two long processes, and two very different ways to arrive at the production.

What is exciting in design today?

Contemporary design in these last years is in part changing the face from being “glossy” to being more simple and alive in everyday life. The task of design has always been this, but I think that in previous years was not so, therefore with great pleasure we are experiencing this return. Less products but more quality.

Can you talk to us about your working and living place?
Is it an inspiration for you?

Our base is Copenhagen where we live in an apartment in an old palace of the 30s which I would define simple, intimate and Scandinavian. Our studio is located in an old loft factory in the south of Copenhagen — our workspace is very original, a single access by a metal ladder of 25 meter tall to arrive to large cosy space, with old wooden floor, large windows, Sweden coast view, fireplace and a good atmosphere.

Is there any designer or movement you appreciate a lot?

Sure there are. Luckily there are many good designers that help fight bad design all around us!

Which books are on your bedside tables?

Very different, history and romans books.

Do you have any advice to give to our readers, students and future designers?

Work hard, be passionate and curious all the time…

The last word…

All the best.



Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Baehler – 10.13

Images : ©GamFratesi.

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