Graduate 2016: Between design and art

Education and students

What is art and what is design? The boundary can be movable and hard to define – but the quest to find it can result in something both beautiful and functional. Meet the designer, Kasper Kjeldgaard. He used his degree project to explore connections and transitions between design and art – and who also happened to exhibit in New York at the same time.

Your degree project is entitled ‘Speaking of Sculpture” – what is it all about?
My degree project was about expressing and explaining my work as a designer and artist. I studies the potential of sculpture as a design tool in a general context, and particularly in my own practice.

I made 13 objects, consisting of pure sculptures and practical objects (lamps), and tried to show the specific relationships between the sculptures and the practical objects.

What was your motivation for this project in particular?
Nature and the forces of nature excite me. I find the laws we are all subject to, such as gravity, rotation, friction etc., incredibly interesting, and those are the things I studied via my work on the objects.

I feel great when I see a weight hanging against the ground and knowing that it points exactly towards the centre of the globe. What I find interesting are objects that relate to space, and the bodily perception of the difference between something that is ‘round’ and something that is totally round.

Did you work with other people during the process, and what did that do for your work process?
Alongside my degree project, I was preparing for the exhibition, If it’s a chair at the Patrick Parrish gallery in New York So I worked very closely with the curator, Henriette Noermark. 

The collaboration related to the conceptual content of my project, and the immediate expression of the objects. In a way, Henriette was my consultant for the project, while Patrick Parrish was a client who placed demands in terms of scale, expression and aesthetics. That gave me some very clear guidelines throughout, and they helped add substance to the project.


Umiddelbart inden sin afgang udstillede Kasper Kjeldgaard på Gallery Patrick Parrish i New York.

Where do you imagine your degree project will make a difference?
I always believe that lingering in the presence of a sculptural object is valuable in itself. If my objects give the viewer just a moment of contact with, and understanding of the physical world that surrounds us, and the laws that govern it, then something new and relevant is happening.

It was also exciting to participate in the discussion about where the boundaries between art and design are, and especially to find the places where mutual fertilisation occurs.

Can you see any employment opportunities in your degree project?
After graduation, for many years to come I will continue what I am doing now. I will exhibit objects, and I will produce designs suitable for production. I will work as a freelance designer, and of course I believe opportunities will emerge.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of designing the way you do?
The movement from idea to sketch, from words to the final object, is so rewarding, that I really think everyone should have a go at it! The feeling you get when you have shaped an idea that enters our physical world, just because I wanted it to, is highly addictive.

What do you think is your greatest strength as a KADK design graduate?
As a KADK graduate, I have an education that has sharpened the way I look at the world of things, and the relation of things to human beings. My studies have also given me an affectionate relationship with materials and good craftsmanship as a designer.

Where do you see yourself career-wise in five years’ time?
In five years’ time, I will have made myself a life, in which, as far as possible, I am able to use my professionalism. This could be in exhibitions, specific design projects, teaching and maybe even research.