Design studio GamFratesi's strength lies in the different backgrounds of its leading characters, Enrico Fratesi and Stine Gam. When designing new products, these opposing forces draw strength from each other, creating a balanced new item.
DANISH ARCHITECT Stine Gam and Italian architect Enrico Fratesi combine in their design studio, GamFratesi, Scandinavian accuracy and Italian exuberant creativity. Founded in 2006, the studio's portfolio is filled with furniture and lamps, designed for brands such as Gubi, Louis Poulsen, Hay and Fritz Hansen.
Enrico and Stine, how are you doing?
“We just returned from our summer holiday in the south of Italy, on the Amalfi coast, to rainy Copenhagen. We travel a lot, and when on holiday we prefer to go to where Enrico was born in Italy. Both at home in Denmark and when travelling for business or pleasure, we observe our environment continuously and collect ideas to inspire our work. It's a wonderful way to work – and doesn't even feel like work.
At the moment we have numerous projects on our desk, due to be published at the 2020 Milan fair. Our customers include companies with which we've been working in recent years and have a good, warm relationship. We're also working on a few new interesting projects, but cannot talk about them yet. But it's going to be something unexpected!”
“We observe our environment continuously and collect ideas to inspire our work.”
How do you work together?
“Stine is clearly more particular and thoughtful of the two of us, while Enrico is more energetic and quick in his moves. Our way of working has just naturally turned out the way it is today. We work in a symbiotic way and share everything about work and also outside work. Our backgrounds affect the end result: we're a combination of Scandinavian, simple harmony, and on the other hand, Italian exuberance and openness. This spontaneous fusion of two worlds is our strength.”
“GamFratesi is a combination of Scandinavian, simple harmony, and on the other hand, Italian exuberance and openness.”
Tell us about the Bat Lounge Chair range you designed for Gubi.
“In 2012, Gubi launched our Beetle chair range that became a great success. The Bat Lounge Chair was designed later when commissioned by Gubi. Our job was to design a chair that was different from but compatible with the Beetle. And out came Bat, which we designed to have soft contours, no matter which angle you view it from.
This year saw the launch of a new Bat chair with armrests, a compact and comfortable chair. Its versatile material alternatives enable a range of uses in different environments.”
“The versatile material alternatives that are available for the Bat chair enable a range of uses in different environments.”
You are also partners outside your studio. What does your home look like?
“We live north of Copenhagen in a house built in 1932. Our home is decorated with details that suit the style of an old building. We always want to leave room for the building's history, while adding modern elements to it. Our color palette is mainly neutral, spiced up with a few brighter colors, such as blue.
We are collectors and our home has both vintage treasures and plenty of anonymous items, such as ceramic vases and bowls. Our home doesn't have enough room for our collecting hobby, so many items tend to travel back and forth between our home and the studio.”
“We are collectors and our home has both vintage treasures and plenty of anonymous items.”
Can you give us your best tips for your hometown, Copenhagen?
“Louisiana is our favourite museum thanks to its unique location and architecture. It's never a normal museum visit but offers a special experience in which architecture, art and the surrounding nature all blend harmoniously into one.
Grundtvig's Church in the Bispebjerg district is a breathtaking experience as soon as you walk in. It's magical how a building can be so humble and yet so splendid at the same time.
Copenhagen's Botanical Garden is an excellent place to pop in for a quiet walk to get away from the noise of the city. We often go to the Apollo Bar for lunch, it's a relaxed place that serves good, uncomplicated food in pleasant surroundings.”
Products designed by GamFratesi
• Architects Stine Gam (b. 1975) and Enrico Fratesi (b. 1978) founded GamFratesi in Copenhagen in 2006.
• They have designed not only lamps and furniture but also engaged in interior design, exhibition curation and arts projects.
• GamFratesi has received numerous prizes, most recently the Bruno Mathsson prize in 2018, IF Award in 2017 and Finn Juhl prize in 2015.
• GamFratesi's product portfolio is extensive. Products design by the studio include Gubi's Beetle chair, Hay's Tulou coffee table, Louis Poulsen's Yuh lamp family and Fritz Hansen's Suspence lamp.
Text: Hanna-Katariina Mononen Images: Manufacturers