Starting our designer portraits series with Jangir Maddadi was obvious for us.
We first met in 2010 and have wanted to collaborate ever since. It took us a little bit of time but finally here we are!
Actually, at the very beginning a common acquaintance put us in contact. At that moment we had no idea of what he was doing and thought he was a sort of ‘designer du dimanche’, making furniture in his basement every now and again. Imagine our surprise when we discovered his work! In just a few years he has created iconic designs for both private and public spaces. His Union Bench and Swarm Lamp have become must-have design pieces and his new Captain Chair and Grace Table are just ready to follow the same path. Heidi & James are thrilled to represent Jangir and his beautiful contemporary design pieces which will be available from this autumn on our website. In the meantime, let me introduce you to our Swedish friend.
Jangir Maddadi is a Swedish designer based in the lovely town of Kalmar, southeast Sweden. Originally from Kurdistan, he arrived in the country at a young age and never left this town that he loves. He first made a breakthrough on the design scene when he designed the Union Bench, a beautiful and ingenious system of benches for public spaces. It is not rare for us to bump into them by chance. Last time it was on our way back from a wedding in the south of France, a couple of months ago. Obviously we were a little bit tired after a wonderful celebration and stopped on the way. It was a big petrol station with lounge areas indoor and outdoor, both full of Union benches! It took us a second to actually realise what was going on. And yes, petrol stations can have great interior designs!
Since his promising beginnings, Jangir has developed a range of great contemporary designs showing talented skills and unlimited inspiration. His starting point is always to solve a problem, be it a functional or an aesthetic challenge. We caught up with him to see how he gets inspired and what he is dreaming of.
H&J: What do you do when you need some fresh air? How do you get inspired?
JM: I travel very often and seeing people in various contexts inspires me a lot. I especially love observing people in airports! You can have people from very different parts of the world in the same place at the same time; they come with different bags, hairstyles and glasses: everyone is different; it is a very interesting place to be. Just studying people is great for me, at the end I am designing products for the human being and I want my designs to cross borders.
H&J: What about the inspiration behind your products?
JM: Well it really depends on which product I am working on. For the Swarm Lamp for instance, I wanted it to be very organic so I did a lot of research on flying organisms: bugs, flies, bees, anything we find in nature. You can see this back in the lamp hopefully!
H&J: How did you research?
JM: Well the Internet is great of course, and I also looked at insect books a lot. I found particular good pictures of body shapes. It was really something that I liked a lot. At the same time, there were so many different ones, it got really difficult to choose a specific flying organism! So I put everything away and started to sketch. I found the basic shape common to all of them so I created this generic shape for the lamp, which is why I called it Swarm. A group of bees can make a swarm, or a group of flies can make a swarm. Swarm is an archetype of flying organism.
H&J: Which object of design would you have loved to design yourself?
JM: The Aston Martin Vantage, it is a pretty nice car. I would just do a couple of changes in the interior!
H&J: What would be your absolute dream as a designer?
JM: Right now it would be an architectural project. But not a fancy big high tower. Something for normal people who want to have good temples to live in. I’m quite tired of this cheap and dirty way houses are being built nowadays, and it is most of the time bad for the environment as they are being wasted in just a few decades. Or maybe designing a new space capsule? That would be lots of fun too!
H&J: A few exceptional anecdotes have happened to you since we first met, and you always brought the news in such a calm and relaxed way (while I was falling off my chair on the other end of the phone). Which moment remains the most extraordinary one for you?
JM: Definitely the day I was standing in front of the Swedish King and gave a speech (Jangir received the young entrepreneur award as naturalised citizen of Sweden from the King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in 2010).
H&J: Shaking legs?
JM: Well I was nervous, no doubt! It was a day that I will never forget. That same day I had this enquiry from Columbia Pictures for the Men in Black movie (The Union Bench Panorama is part of the set of Men in Black 3) so it was a very cool day.
Actually another great moment for me was when the Swarm lamps were selected number one lighting in Milan. For my micro company muscling in with these other big companies that was something.
H&J: What is a great day like?
JM: A great day is a sunny one, in the workshop solving a problem, making a product and focusing on creativity. Workwise, that is an ideal day.