Scan Magazine, Issue 82, November 2015

Page 92

Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Finnish Architecture & Design

Stefan Lindfors – Finland’s creative superpower Stefan Lindfors is not just a creative force – he is a superpower. During his career, the 53-year-old Åland-born Finn has created no less than 400 projects of all sizes within interior architecture, design, sculpture and film. With creations including everything from an egocentric coffee cup to a seven-metre tall sculpture with integrated solar panels, this is a man who has managed to get the famously taciturn Finns talking about everything from dildos to sustainable energy. By Signe Benn Hansen | Photos: Marco Melander

It seems apt – or, actually, undeniably true – to say that, like his work, it is hard to put Stefan Lindfors in a box. However, if one were to try, it would be necessary to describe both the inside and the outside of that box. On the outside is the spontaneous, talkative artist who jumps from subject to subject the same way he, in his own words, shifts between projects because he does not have the patience to do just one at a time. On the inside is the Finnish designer who, though proud of his achievements, hesitates to assume the approval of others and, when talking about his juggling of jobs, hurries to stress that he has never missed a project deadline or broken a budget. Of course, when it comes to his work, it is all on the outside. Design, sculpture, interior architecture and film make out the box’s four supporting walls, but there is neither top nor bottom because that would pull the fields together and make them an entirety, and that is not what Lindfors wants. No, he wants to explore

each and every one of them for what they are. And the reason he does not, like his contemporary colleagues, stick to one field? It is simple: he was born curious. “I just want to do things – perhaps make a difference, write history,” says Lindfors and hurries to add: “But I actually regard myself as very conservative in my work. I always take each case separately.” A hybrid Though it is almost 25 years since Lindfors first impressed the Finnish audience with a 700-square-metre one-man exhibition at the Amos Anderson Art Museum in Helsinki, the artist has not lost his appetite for grand creations. On the contrary, he has, through the years, created some 30 large-scale sculptures in different shapes and materials. All have been commissioned works. “I work in such a wide range of fields that the idea that I would wake up and just make a sculpture really isn’t plausible – in my life, commissions work perfectly. If I get a commission, there are two important

Above: Sculptor, designer, interior architect and film director Stefan Lindfors. Right: Wings of Change, Lindfors’ seven-metre-high sculpture spins in the wind and is equipped with integrated solar panels to light up the night. The sculpture was unveiled in Helsinki city centre on 3 September 2015

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fixed points I know that I can lean back on: where it’s going to go, and the timeframe and budget. That means I can treat the project as an artist or as a designer,” explains Lindfors. “What I have, which might be different from my colleagues in sculpture, is an education and background in the design industry, and in that context it is natural for me to think about who I am doing my art for. But artists generally don’t think that way; they make art, so it’s more like ‘this is my piece, take it or leave it’, whereas I’m sort of a hybrid.” At the high-tech, windy American embassy in Helsinki, Anima, a LED-light illuminated sculpture that moves in the wind, perfectly embodies the artist’s words. The work was unveiled in November 2014, the same year that Lindfors’ 8.5-metre long Symbiosis was unveiled in the seaside city of Turku. Symbiosis is, however, still in the making as metal name tags are continuously added to it, creating a second surface. The name

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