Kaja Dahl's highly diverse portfolio ranges from perfumes to cutlery
You’ve got a highly diverse portfolio, ranging from perfumes to cutlery. What unites the various aspects of your work?
KAJA DAHL: My goal is to create experiences that trigger awareness and new forms of behaviour. I’m not interested in making crazy tactile concepts that encourage people to act in weird ways. I want to enhance natural behaviour and reward the senses. That’s what Lean-In is all about.
What inspired that concept?
I spent a year researching haptic perception and sensory rewards in interiors. I realized that there’s no real furniture for leaning, despite the fact that we have a natural instinct to seek a safe place to hang out in a room.
Is Lean-In for everyday use?
It’s designed for ‘moments in between’, for hotel lobbies, cafés, waiting areas and informal meeting spaces. People look for variation, especially in the workplace. Lean-In offers the chance to explore ways of positioning oneself in a space, other than sitting. I’m looking forward to seeing how architects and interior designers will implement it in their projects.
Does the modular aspect of Lean-In relate to the current trend for modular technology?
To be honest, I see myself firmly in the physical, haptic sector. I use technology purely as a tool for communication and research. In a way, I work with technology by working against it: things that I dislike or disagree with are always very interesting. The more technology intrudes in our lives, the more it inspires me to go in the opposite direction. I want to take care of what we neglect.
What’s next for you?
I just finished an exhibition design with an architect, and I’m talking to a perfumer and a small factory owner in Norway. I’m also talking to other product designers, but in that case it’s more about working with diverse personalities than about doing completely different things.
And some technology experts too?
One of my friends is deep into virtual reality, and we have discussed working together. I’d love to make physical objects for her virtual world. Our personalities match, but we work with completely different media – a joint venture with her could produce some fascinating results.