Clara von Zweigbergk
A short conversation with Swedish designer and graphic illustrator Clara von Zweigbergk on how play has influenced her career.
What toys or games did you love as a child? Is there one that you’d say has shaped your sense of creativity as an adult?
Growing up in the countryside, I was always building and making much stuff: tree houses, weird pieces of furniture and lamps, and also a few games. Also knitting and sewing animals and clothes. We mostly played Monopoly, cards and Yatzy, but in high school when my friends got into Trivial Pursuit, I was out; my memory for names never impressed anyone. A complex puzzle is my favourite game now; it can absorb me late into the evening.
How do you keep your playful inner child alive in a professional landscape? How can work be more like play?
This will, of course, differ a lot depending on the profession you are in. In our studio, intuitive play involving a lot of trial and error is necessary to move forward. For me, play and experimenting without a very set goal is the best way to get a nice outcome. I think this goes for many other fields, too, it might just not appear as obvious as it does in design. Mainly my product design process is very much based on play, in the sense that I start with something I enjoy doing or a technique I'm curious about learning - usually a handcraft of some kind. The materials mainly used are paper, clay, thread and wood. Without any specific goal, I see what comes out and then look at it and ask what it can be used for, and what typology it can become.
Describe your path to your career – has it been linear and typical, or unusual and accidental? Where there any major turning points, catalysts, or forks in the road?
Fairly linear, I would say, but quite broad. I knew early on that I wanted to work in art and design somehow. The first part of my career has been focused on typography, graphic design and art direction, then also including advertising and editorial illustration for a few years. After having worked closely with industrial designers for many years and having opened my studio in Stockholm, I wanted to explore how I could apply my design language in 3D. This started with a few products stemming from folded paper. One of them is the Kaleido Tray for HAY, another is Themis Mobile for Artecnica. Since then, I have been lucky to do products in many materials I knew little about at first. I love the process of learning about materials, production limitations, and possibilities, which is never the same.
What are you most looking forward to during 3daysofdesign?
After such a long period of restrictions, the highlight will be to meet friends from all over and to celebrate HAYs 20th birthday!