Categories
Opinion

”It has to be long term, and it really helps to be family owned.”

You’re running the company with your sister ­Charlotte who is the lead designer. What are the strengths of a family-owned brand? 

— The biggest strength is the independence. You’re able to take decisions based on what you want for the long term, instead of making some investors happy in the short term. And when you’re building a luxury brand, it has to be long term, and it really helps to be family owned. 

What’s it like to work with your sister?

— The key word in our relationship is respect. We respect each other’s differences. We’re a design driven brand. I think if you ask anybody in the company, many would say that Charlotte has more say as a designer than I have as the ceo. Which is unusual, but I don’t mind. It’s very rare that we disagree. 

Can you give an example of when it’s beneficial to be a family run company?

— My favourite example is when Charlotte spent 400 hours developing a tiara for a small exhibition in the royal castle in Copenhagen. Rationally, it was a bad idea, but we went along because Charlotte wanted to to it. Later, the Crown Princess Mary decided to wear it and we developed new techniques that we used for other products that we sell today. We ended up making a lot of money on that ”silly project” and it became a perfect example of the benefits of having a family owned company.

Julius, a stamped cuff bracelet, was originally designed by Charlotte Lynggaard as a gift to her son. It is designed with five tiny stamps, each carrying certain meanings that subtly greets one of the men in the Lynggaard family. 

Your father Ole is still present in the company. Is he more of an advisor to the business or the design part?

— The whole reason for my father to start this company was to design. His passion is for designing, not for running a business. When you ask him what he does, he always says he’s a goldsmith or a designer, never a ceo or an entrepreneur. At 84, he is still very active in the company. He likes to hear what’s happening, but he doesn’t interfere. It’s very important for our culture. 

How so?

— We have this saying called ”disagree and ­commit”, which is really important in the structure of the ­company. Of course, there should always be discussion, and people might not always agree, but once we make a decision, everyone is onboard. We can’t move forward if someone is still talking about how they disagree with the strategy. My father is an expert on this. He would never say ”I told you so”. It makes it easier to make tough decisions.

You recently launched a few pieces that you label men’s/unisex jewellery. Why now?

— Our two designers have been very much focused on women’s jewellery. My father always designed for my mother, and Charlotte always designs for herself. That’s the way it’s been working for the past 60 years. We’ve always made a few cufflinks but when Charlotte’s husband and son started wearing jewellery, they came into her mind. The names of the new products are the names of her husband and son, Michel and Julius. So the story is still about family, but it’s also the world that’s moving. I think the new products will be used by women as well, just like we see more and more of our women’s jewellery worn by men. Things don’t necessarily have to have a gender attached to it.

Visit the Ole Lynggaard website.

Categories
News

The former L’homme Rouge designer’s new accessories brand

Founder Jonatan Härngren doesn’t see his new concept Kultur5 as a brand, but more the name of a platform, structure, and a room for experiments. ”I wanted to answer one question: How can I create something that is inspired by culture, offer products, having a studio, but not being too much of a fashion brand? It might be impossible but something to strive for,” says founder Jonatan Härngren.

Kultur5 is also projects where he makes studies of ethically sourced materials, places, cultures, and products.

— We strive to educate with every project, to be informative and transparent.

He grew up outside of Gothenburg and with a dad working as an artist, he spent almost all the time in his wood workshop.

— Shape, material and color became a natural way to express myself.

Starting in 2008 he studied industrial Design in Italy, followed by Textile art in Stockholm, Fashion Design at Royal Danish Academy Of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Denmark. Shortly after, he became Creative Director and designer for critically acclaimed men’s fashion label L’homme Rouge, where he spent almost 7 years. Since August last year he’s been working for different brands, while developing Kultur5.

— I wanted to answer one question: How can I create something that is inspired by culture, offer products, having a studio, but not being too much of a fashion brand? It might be impossible but something to strive for, says Härngren, continuing,

— I want to focus on exploring, documenting, and defining the ”space in between”. It could be the space in between perfect and non perfect, finished and not finished, diversity, cultures, and groups emerged between two others, fragments of different objects put together. The ”space in between” is going to be the leading word in the beginning of every upcoming project.

Kultur is the Swedish word for culture, and is used to enlighten the importance of collective thinking, and studying objects and materials together.

— I’ve always been fascinated by art schools, their way of thinking, studying something together, and also because they are in the space between creative freedom and commercialism, which was one of the starting points. Let’s call it a culture, independency, a slow project where products are being released organically, where we always strive to keep a kind of freedom. This project allows me to be close to both the idea and the product itself since it is not dependent on too many producers. I wanted to work closely with manufacturers, not become dependent of too many places and persons, and be close to both the idea, inspirations, and the product itself. Therefore Sweden became a natural choice. Every product is handcrafted in Sweden.

Tell us about your first range of products.

— The first project, Conversations on the cliffs, is an idea I’ve had for a long time. A very personal series of jewelry for both men and women, based on my upbringing close to the archipelago, south of Gothenburg. The rocky cliffs, stones, deep conversations and rough music, youthful freedom, diversity, dry wooden bathhouses, and the soft and reflective, poetic ocean. The place is loaded with those feelings, and the idea was to copy a part of this place, stones and structures into another material. Silver became the natural medium, thanks to its abilities and softness to get shaped after another material or shape or surface. In this way, we could copy stone structures into the silver. We called the process copying nature. Silver also has the reflectivity, as the ocean, which was interesting, says Härngren.

The collection is genderless and has a raw expression with the oxidized stone structures.

— I wanted to get away from too much masculine expression and make them more fragile and poetic. Therefore they are not too thick and heavy. It’s about 5 different styles, including a lazer cut metal package (pictured above). Right now I am working on a bit more clean variations of the products that will be released in a couple of weeks, including a bracelet and necklace, says Härngren, adding,

— We will always keep the jewelry as a part in every project. In the coming project, which we’ve already started, we are working with aluminium and other reused materials. The project is based on the idea of personalities and form pressing, and will be released around August. •