Every one of Lars Beller Fjetland’s birds started life as a supportive table-leg or an armrest but now live as part of the Norweigen designer’s flock of Re-Turned ornaments. “The “Re-turned”-concepts elevates leftover wood from being merely an ignored piece of trash to becoming a desired piece of feel-good woodcraft,” according to the artist. You can’t say fairer than that.
What’s your background prior to Bergen National Academy?
Before I started at the Bergen National Academy of the Arts I spent three years at the Norwegian School of Economics. It was three quite interesting years but I couldn’t help feeling like moving towards something more creative. Economy can be a rather dark affair because of its constant focus on increasing consumption, regardless of whether Mother Nature can bare it or not.
I guess that the goodwill aspects of my projects came as a direct reaction to this.
Where did the furniture come from that you used in Re-turned?
Recycling and reuse of materials is a big part of my life both as a citizen and a designer. It just feels plain wrong knowing the amount of usable material that gets thrown away each and every day.
I came up with the Re-turned project after cruising through my hometown on my old trusted bike. I saw dumpsters on every street corner and started to wonder how much quality materials I could find on a single raid plundering these urban sawmills.
A short trip gathering wood provided me with enough material to build at least 20 birds. This really opened my eyes to the fact that trash really is a misplaced resource.
How important is it to recycle/reuse these materials?
Prior to developing the Link series I visited a local tannery outside Bergen. I remember seeing pile after pile of discarded leather, thrown away because it didn’t meet the ridiculous demands of perfection demanded by luxury brands. A slight discolouration, insect bites or other scaring was enough to place these hides in the unwanted section.
Out of frustration I decided to design a range of luxury products that only consisted out of scrapped leather. This resulted in the Link series.
For me as a designer it’s my mission to design objects that can survive several generations.
It’s not just about creating something that is rough and rugged – it’s just as much about creating classic lines that will appeal to generations to come.
Your latest endeavours range from collaborations with graphic designers to more sculptural, artistic experiments with form and material. What can we look forward to seeing next?
The last few years I’ve been collaborating with a Norwegian based graphic design bureau called Grandpeople. They have done the graphical profile for the Re-turned series and the graphical profile for my webpage.
Additional results of this collaboration will be launched sometime this year. I’m also working on a light installation in Carrara marble which is a study of how materials can reflect and add colour to light.