With mother running an art gallery and father practising as a pathologist, it’s no surprise that Christian Flindt’s approach to design is a blend of the creative and analytical. He spent afternoons in his mother’s gallery playing with the various tools and mediums available to him. At age eleven, he visited a James Turrell exhibition being held at the ARoS Art Museum in Aarhus Denmark which he describes as a seminal and a ‘mind blowing experience’ that presented the puzzling contradiction of light appearing as solid objects.
Flindt went on to study building, architecture and furniture design in Denmark and England, developing a broad understanding of large and small scale design in the process. He now concentrates on those elements occupying architectural spaces – lighting, furniture and household objects. Flindt has closely followed his Danish compatriot Olafur Eliasson who creates structures and products on different scales and which are heavily influenced by light and its effect on surroundings and human perception. There is an immediate and visible connection between Eliasson and Flindt’s own work which demonstrates a deep fascination with pure and sinuous form inspired by another of his heroes – Zaha Hadid. Even though she is sadly no longer with us, Hadid’s influence can be seen in Flindt’s almost reverential approach to the issues of form and function.
Flindt gained valuable work experience while at an architectural practice in Melbourne Australia where he graduated towards an interest in the original ideas behind a building’s structure and the industrial production of its various components. What Flindt loves about being a designer working at a smaller scale are the soft sketches, the rough physical prototyping, the precise digital work on computer and the dialogue between designer, producer, engineer and materials supplier. What delights him is the versatility and variety of design delivering physical objects that capture the whole of the designer’s journey. Seeing, touching and using an object can be just as rewarding for the creator as for those for whom it was created.
Flindt’s original intention was to focus on designing and making furniture which he found to be a very tangible design process – an industrial product born from a direct ergonomic dialogue with the human body – while his work with light was infinitely more diffuse and elusive. However, after a decade of using light as a component of limited edition chairs, outdoor luminaires and dynamic lighting for hospitals, Flindt believes it has become a more natural and instinctive medium. While working with light is not as concrete as building a chair in solid materials, he understands how light will uniquely penetrate, illuminate, become filtered, reflected or wash over an entire surface.
Limited edition furniture and luminaires are among Flindt’s most notable pieces which can be found in international public and private collections. Flindt has designed chairs and a variety of smaller furniture pieces for Danish companies Paustian
and Design Letters & Friends but perhaps his most notable work has been in the world of lighting with Louis Poulsen for whom he has designed both decorative and architectural lighting. Louis Poulsen had seen his final project at the Aarhus School of Architecture and asked Flindt if he would make a light fixture for them. They liked his sculptural approach and his use of unconventional materials.
However, it took a few more years before he felt able to make detailed design proposals, the first of which was a woven series of pendants and floor lamps. Instead of using metal to reflect the light as Poul Henningsen had done, Flindt chose an extruded vinyl string to filter the light. The real breakthrough came in 2012 when Flindt designed the popular Flindt Bollard, a product that cemented his relationship with Louis Poulsen. ‘Louis Poulsen is the best company I have worked with’ says Flindt, ‘they’re demanding but respectful. I love working with them and look forward to the future, especially as they’re back under Danish management’.
Louis Poulsen is the best company I have worked with, they’re demanding but respectful. I love working with them and look forward to the future, especially as they’re back under Danish management.
Flindt enjoys varying styles, viewing each project as a new challenge and retaining a fresh approach with no thought of developing any particularly recognisable signature. What has excited Flindt most has been the evolution of LED technology whose versatility allows a wealth of possibilities in form, design and its potential for integration into other objects. These possibilities, combined with the push for greater energy efficiency, drives Flindt and aids his pursuit of bridging the gap between the decorative and the architectural which is apparent in his development of more effective, efficient and aesthetic lighting for Danish schools.
Light is a phenomenon that captivates Flindt both as a designer and as a human being, not least because it affects so many aspects of our lives and he consciously strives to connect with this muse to which he has an instinctive and lasting attraction.
Future Flindt’s Lighting Projects
Lighting & Acoustics for Danish Schools
Christian Flindt was winner of the Danish Energy Research Prize for his project entitled Dynamic Lighting for Hospitals. Now, in a new research project, Christian is building on that knowledge, combining lighting and acoustics to improve the learning experience in Danish schools. The project, led by Christian, is supported by the Danish Energy ELFORSK programme, the State Building Research Institute (SDI) and is due for completion in 2020.
Spectacular Luminaires for Spectacular Spaces
In the more decorative area of interior lighting, and in association with the Danish Art Foundation, Christian has just begun a project called Spectacular Luminaires for Spectacular Spaces whose aim is to rethink the chandelier.
For Louis Poulsen, the Flindt family of lighting will have new members, smaller fixtures for garden lighting and larger ones for piazas and city spaces.