The Tucano writing desk.Design: Monica Förster Design Studiofor Zanotta (Year completed: 2020). Image courtesy: Monica Förster Design Studio

Monica Förster, Design News 2020

Monica Förster is one of Sweden’s leading designers. She was born (in 1966) and raised, in Lappland, the Sweden north part, close to the Arctic Circle. She studied in Beckmans College of Design and Konstfack (University College of Arts, Crafts and Design) in Stockholm.

She lives and works in Stockholm where she established the Monica Förster Design Studio in 1999. Thanks to her designs, she was quickly recognized as a talented designer and attracted numerous international clients.

She has created products that are the symbols of contemporary Swedish design. Her field of work are furniture, industrial design, lighting design.She also collaborates with architects on interior design projects. She designed numerous furniture items and other products like tiles, textile, candle holders, vase, table aware, cutlery… 

Monica Förster builds her modern products as a mixture of the past and present. The base of her work is respecting the tradition, alongside with a curiosity for new materials, their combinations and techniques. Her design always carries a poetic note and recognizable character.

Förster’s work is characterized by functionality expressed in strong, simple forms. The best example of the functional product with a pure form is her new seating range Panda designed for Modus. She is inquisitive and always like to investigate. The result is sometimes products with new functions or a multifunctional product like Melange collection for Wittmann. These tables fulfil different functions. An elongated coffee table doubles up as a magazine rest. The same side table is also a stool, or, with handles added becomes a portable tray with feet.

She deeply respects the tradition and, on this base, create the modern objects like her Hide and Seek for Zanat. These sculptural and hand-carved round objects, are made in solid maple. In different shapes and sizes, they are designed to serve as a set of tables (side or coffee tables) while the hollow inside of the containers, under the cover, serves as storage space. The different carving patterns, designed by Monica Förster Studio, add the individuality to these multipurpose tables.

The Tucano writing desk.Design: Monica Förster Design Studiofor Zanotta (Year completed: 2020).Creative Director: Monica Förster.Team: Colm Keller, Harald Sundberg, Alicia Knight  Image courtesy: Monica Förster Design Studio and Zanotta 
The Tucano writing desk.Design: Monica Förster Design Studiofor Zanotta (Year completed: 2020).Creative Director: Monica Förster.Team: Colm Keller, Harald Sundberg, Alicia Knight
Image courtesy: Monica Förster Design Studio and Zanotta

Natural materials are often Monica Förster’ sources of inspiration. A good example is her Sana chair for Zanat. It is an elegant and light dining chair made in solid wood. The special feature of the chair is its finely sculpted and multidimensionally curved backrest that provides seating comfort. The outer side of the chair’s backrest is entirely hand-carved with carving patterns which were designed to emphasize the curved shape of the backrest and to give Sana the character of a modern handcrafted object. Monica Förster is aware that a combination of the old craft techniques, high-tech research and new production process bring additional values to the products.

It is a long list of international clients, Monica Förster works with. Some of them are Alessi, Bernhardt, Cappellini, De Padova, Eric Joergensen, Georg Jensen, Offecct, Poltrona Frau, Rörstrand, Swedese, Tacchini, Tecno, Volvo, Whirlpool,… Monica also works as a creative advisor for many companies in the design industry.

Monica Förster won several Swedish and international awards as the Designer of the Year and prestigious Sweden’s Architect Association Award, The Golden Chair. Her work has been exhibited  in many museums and institutions such as Moma NY and VA Museum, London.

The desk with honest design

One of the novelties in Monica Förster’s collection for 2020 is Tucano. The Tucano is a new writing desk designed for Zanotta.

The Tucano writing desk.Design: Monica Förster Design Studiofor Zanotta (Year completed: 2020). Image courtesy: Monica Förster Design Studio
The Tucano writing desk.Design: Monica Förster Design Studiofor Zanotta (Year completed: 2020).
Image courtesy: Monica Förster Design Studio

For this product, the designer used quite ordinary materials like metal and leather. The frame is made of steel. The top, consisting of one single piece of stiff cowhide, rests on the metal frame without additional support.  

The structure gives a sculptural appearance to the product. The tubular steel is with a continuous profile which creates the support for the thin top. The legs are joined in the upper part, separated in the lower part. This position of the legs represents a visual balance with the tabletop. The leather follows the lines of the frame, giving to the whole product elegant shape.

 As it was said, the materials are ordinary, but their combination in this purpose is unusual. The use of leather as a traditional material for the work surface gives a nomadic character to the desk. The quality of the materials used guarantees the durability and easy maintenance of the product. Even the leather is resistant to stains and will remain almost unchanged, only with the patina of time.

The Tucano writing desk.Design: Monica Förster Design Studiofor Zanotta (Year completed: 2020). Image courtesy: Monica Förster Design Studio
The Tucano writing desk.Design: Monica Förster Design Studiofor Zanotta (Year completed: 2020).
Image courtesy: Monica Förster Design Studio

The attention to details contributes to the quality of the whole design. The corner joints are eye-catching details. They are left uncovered by the leather so lower metal construction is visible. The connections of the leather at the corners are also witty solved. The two cowhide flaps folding on the front and side parts of the top are joined with the visible rivets. Monica Förster in her design does not hide anything, substructure or connection details. With this approach, she transforms structural details into aesthetic ones and offers honest design to the user.

In the process of realization of the product, the special workmanship and the new way of processing the leather was applied. The thickness of the leather on the corner joints is tapered to create a depression that runs along the entire perimeter of the surface top. 

The aesthetic appearance was enhanced not only with the material combination but colour combination too. The tubular steel structure is lacquered matt black while the leather is dyed in eight warm, soft tones. These characteristics and their contrasts make the desk even more attractive.

This desk is with dimensions of 1150 x 520 x 740mm and fulfils essential requirements for work. It does not possess drawers, additional functional possibilities like power and USB outlets or other, but it is appropriate for work at home or hospitality facilities.

Tucano is a desk with pure form, modern in expression with traditional materials. 

The desk’s design is with a courageous approach to material combination, pays attention to details and possess innovations in the production process.

The Tucano writing desk.Design: Monica Förster Design Studiofor Zanotta (Year completed: 2020). Image courtesy: Monica Förster Design Studio
The Tucano writing desk.Design: Monica Förster Design Studiofor Zanotta (Year completed: 2020).
Image courtesy: Monica Förster Design Studio

Monica Förster created the functional desk, with attractive appearance, suitable for different spaces.