If summertime could choose its designer, Louise Campbell would be first call. Campbell's work is vibrant, energetic and captures the sentiment of a fresh summer day. One may find themselves smiling involuntarily when viewing her creations. In exchange for profundity, Campbell instead judges her work by how much fun erupts.
Born in Copenhagen in 1970, she is daughter to a Danish father and English mother. Campbell grew up greatly influenced by both countries. She graduated from the London College of Furniture in 1992. Four years later she set up her own studio in Denmark, which remains her base camp to this day. Artists, designers and architects alike are many times measured by their exquisite paintings, natural abilities and well engineered buildings. A better measuring stick is the personal affect a work of art has on its viewer. It takes boldness to leave room for the amateur eye. Yet, the more room left for interpretation, the longer the life of the work. Millions of eyes have millions of interpretations.
It is with this philosophy in mind that Louise Campbell accomplishes beautiful first and secondary art from her work. That is, she creates artistic interpretations that
are birthed out of her original work. She uses light and shadows to uncover images not seen in the original design.
A great example
of her second tier artistry is her work on the Spiderwoman, Retreat and Zanotta chair renditions.
These creations birth secondary designs once touched by artificial or natural light. It is beautiful to behold. In the Spiderwoman design, geometric shadows add complexity to an otherwise straightforward design, just the right amount of texture. The same experience emanates from Retreat, a honey-comb-like chair that seems to maintain it uprightness from an invisible axis. Lovely work. This type of approach also tends to engage a younger demographic that may otherwise not be interested in architecture. There is a youthful attraction to movable, flexible artistry that can be manipulated in real-time by simply adjusting the angles.
From her Denmark studio, Campbell has produced numerous notable works. Campbell joyfully describes her hollowed workspace, "We are situated in an old workshop in the heart of Copenhagen. The floor drops 28 cm from one end of the space to the other. This means that all our mess and coffee-spills end up in a pile at the far end of the space. Next to me!" Campbell has a three-prong philosophy in her studio, always start from scratch, find the core of the issue, and dare to be different. These simple, yet effective rules have expanded her client list which now includes: Louis Poulsen, Zanotta, HAY, Royal Copenhagen, Holmegaard, Stelton, Muuto, and The Danish Ministry of Culture, among others.
The work completed for the Danish Ministry of Culture has gained special significance. Campbell took a refreshing look at a rather stressful, stiff governmental environment. The result was the creation of a cozy, welcoming space. Her use of colors, and at times the lack of color, exceeded expectations.
Denmark, continues to benefit greatly from having Campbell as its citizen. She has taken it upon herself to improve the image and design of the city. One initiative has been "Walk the Plank." This is a collaboration between 30 modern furniture designers and numerous cabinet makers all who donate their time to create original designs. The objective is to leave a lasting impression on all who visit the city.
Notable exhibitions highlighting Campbell’s work include: Sim Sum, Madrid, EPAL, Iceland, Studies of Light, Louis Poulsen, 3 Falke Møbler, Copenhagen, ‘Quick. Quick, Slow’ – Danish Design Centre, and Waiting Rooms, Trapholt museum of Design. Awards received include: Thorvald Bindesbøll Medal, The Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum, Bruno Mathsson Award, and the Wallpaper Magazine Interiors Maverick Award.
Campbell has a design style that in many ways is counter-intuitive to today’s trends. She wisely commented on this dynamic in an interview with Danish Crafts. Campbell stated, "Trends arise because we all have a need to possess what others have, a need to belong. Parents who don't treat their children exactly the same are the exception rather than the rule. Therefore we learn early on that homogeneity is good, that it prevents conflicts, and that there is a certain orderly logic to the whole concept," Campbell concludes, "The premise of the craftsman is, cynically speaking, to go against the flow, whatever the consequences. They travel the uncharted path, as indeed they must in order to capture new territory."