UNSCRIPTED with Louise Campbell: Harmony is Exhausting

On UNSCRIPTED, Danish product designer Louise Campbell contemplates the consequences of her cultural duality and going beyond the “pleasure of a vibe”.

by Zohra KhanPublished on : Aug 06, 2021

"You don’t have to cross the globe for adventure. You can find it around the corner if you remember to keep your eyes open."

- Louise Campbell

It was hopping the best orchards from where one could steal the most luscious apples and discovering local cemetery and the many gardens of Copenhagen in the 70s that Louise Campbell describes as best days of her childhood. Born in a strict household to a Danish father and an English mother, the rules and regulations of her home (one in which she would meet her parents only during homework, dinner and bedtime) were balanced by the adventures of her outdoor life. On UNSCRIPTED this week, 50-year-old Campbell gives us a closer peek into her life where we discover why she likes to start things from scratch, design at the pace of seasons, and prefer 99 experiments over one final result. 

  • Glimpses from Louise Campbell’s childhood | Studio Louise Campbell | UNSCRIPTED | STIRworld
    Glimpses from Louise Campbell’s childhood Image: Courtesy of Louise Campbell
  • Campbell from her toddler days (left) and with her Morris Minor convertible (right) | Studio Louise Campbell | UNSCRIPTED | STIRworld
    Campbell from her toddler days (left) and with her Morris Minor convertible (right) Image: Courtesy of Louise Campbell

The consequences of being split between two different cultures and the inability to fit perfectly in either one was how Campbell found her roots in design. She graduated from the London College of Furniture in 1992 and later went on to study industrial design at the Danish Design School in Copenhagen from where she completed her studies in 1995, before setting up her independent practice a year later. Calling herself equal amounts of two different things – the confusing mix of Nordic and English – Campbell says, “I try to find the best through both the worlds and my design language is some strange blend of where the two meet and they meet at very few places.” 

  • Looking out to her beloved garden – a moment of calm captured by Campbell at her new home, located an hour away from Copenhagen | Studio Louise Campbell | UNSCRIPTED | STIRworld
    Looking out to her beloved garden – a moment of calm captured by Campbell at her new home, located an hour away from Copenhagen Image: Courtesy of Louise Campbell
  • Campbell’s studio from Copenhagen that she left earlier this year to move to the countryside | Studio Louise Campbell | UNSCRIPTED | STIRworld
    Campbell’s studio from Copenhagen that she left earlier this year to move to the countryside Image: Courtesy of Louise Campbell
  • A view of the sea from outside Campbell’s new home  | Studio Louise Campbell | UNSCRIPTED | STIRworld
    A view of the sea from outside Campbell’s new home Image: Courtesy of Louise Campbell

Chatting with STIR from her new studio space – an intimate, seaside abode surrounded by dense forests in a little village in the North Sealand in Denmark – she shares many intriguing facts about her life, including the reason behind her move to the countryside. “My life has always been very chaotic and full of surprises and as I have grown older now, taking this decision to leave town is very much to do with the need to simplify the daily routine,” she says. We ask if her life outside work also follows the 'free and unrestricted' route as her design practice or if there are any rules or words of advice that she stick to, she mentions, “I have to admit that I follow a couple of rules. I start the day by swimming in the sea, I walk for at least an hour in the forest. I advise people to dare to be different because when I was a kid it was embarrassing to be different and what a waste of time that was.”  

  • Prince Chair, HAY. 2002 | Studio Louise Campbell | UNSCRIPTED | STIRworld
    Prince Chair, HAY. 2002 Image: Courtesy of Louise Campbell
  • LC Shutters, Louis Poulsen. 2012 | Studio Louise Campbell | UNSCRIPTED | STIRworld
    LC Shutters, Louis Poulsen. 2012 Image: Courtesy of Louise Campbell
  • Nervous Zénith, Baccarat. 2013| Studio Louise Campbell | UNSCRIPTED | STIRworld
    Nervous Zénith, Baccarat. 2013 Image: Courtesy of Louise Campbell
  • Blue Elements, Royal Copenhagen. 2011| Studio Louise Campbell | UNSCRIPTED | STIRworld
    Blue Elements, Royal Copenhagen. 2011 Image: Courtesy of Louise Campbell
  • Limited Edition Capsules, Nespresso. 2019 | Studio Louise Campbell | UNSCRIPTED | STIRworld
    Limited Edition Capsules, Nespresso. 2019 Image: Frédéric Stucin
There is nothing wrong in the pleasure of a vibe but it’s not where one should design from.

The Danish furniture and lighting designer, who feels she’s more connected to Scandinavian design’s seriousness and lack of interest in novelty value, Campbell is known for her experimentation with materials and processes, and her focus on finesse and detail. Some of her most noted projects include her vision of her future home conceived for Das Haus at the IMM Cologne 2014, the Papercut series of intricate folded paper lamps and vibrant LC Shutters for Louis Poulsen, 240 circles meticulously embedded in the Very Round Chair for Zanotta, and small, delicate imperfections flickering the Nervous Zenith chandelier for Baccarat. From tableware, furniture, lighting, and everyday objects to interiors and exhibitions, her works employ local craftsmanship and new materials, and she believes in manifesting ideas at a natural pace.

"For me, this whole career choice is far less about results than it is about process." - Louise Campbell Image: Courtesy of Louise Campbell

Speaking of how she powers her creativity, Campbell observes, “Looking for divine inspiration on digital platforms becomes superficial, temporary, like a feeling or a vibe.” Here she lets us in on a beautiful nuance of her design practice. “There is nothing wrong with enjoying the pleasure of a vibe but it’s not where one should design from. I design at the pace of seasons. I try to be thorough. I try to whisper rather than shout,” she adds.

More on UNSCRIPTED, Campbell describes the busy environs of her dreams, tells us of her favourite comfort food and an obsessive hobby, and explains why she loves versatility over assiduous planning.

Find more about Louise Campbell’s inspiring life and her design journey from her full conversation by clicking on the cover video.

UNSCRIPTED:
Curated by Pramiti Madhavji (Consultant, Content Adviser, STIR), UNSCRIPTED is a STIR-original series of quick-witted video interviews with leading design professionals who give us an undiscovered peek into their lives. A melting pot of quests, revelations and quirks, the series releases a new episode every Sunday as designers reveal unheard and unknown nuggets from their lives, in response to 30 questions.  

All photographs © Studio Louise Campbell. Images may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced, or used in part or whole without obtaining permission. The photographs in this video are not licensed for personal, commercial, or public use, or use in the public domain in any form.

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