Amanda Lilholt Hurup is an 27 years designer living in Copenhagen, Vesterbro. She just graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts as a furniture designer. She grew up on a small island called Samsø with her brothers and parents. Today she is running her own company called “Amanda Lilholt Furniture” where she are making and selling her own furniture and creating spaces for costumers, all from offices to private houses.
When did you realize that you were into creating with your hands?
I have always enjoyed using my hands, or my whole body. I was into sports when I was young, and I have been playing drums and piano since I was little. I grew up in a creative family; my father is a musician and my mother has both worked as a textile designer and as an architect. So I have always been used to dealing with music, colours, textures and shapes. Growing up on a small island meant creating your own playground, so I have been building a lot of caves and creating my own board games etc. My parents where building my childhood house from scratch and I remember how I loved to help “building”. Somehow I forgot that as I grew older and went to high school. So I did actually first realized it in a age of 20. I travelled through Asia after high school and, when in Vietnam, I stumbled over the webpage of The Royal Danish Academy Of Fine Arts and felt a clarification. I entered a creative folk high school (Den Skandinaviske Designhøjskole), which helped me decide that creating with my hands was just the right thing for me. I entered the Architecture school but realized after a year that I was better at creating in a smaller scale, so I got into the furniture department instead. After that I quickly felt the desire to create my own brand.
How would you define your designing style?
Experimenting, sculptural and artistic, but minimalistic at the same time… And masculine. Even though I’m from Scandinavian my style doesn’t reflect that. I like using materials as steel, brass and stone, which make my style more international.
What inspires you as an individual?
I get inspired all the time and by very different things. But nature and architecture are a huge inspiration for me. Travelling as well, to get out of my daily comfort zone helps me to create. Other people also inspire me a lot. If they are artists I admire their work and get inspired, abstract art and installations inspire me very much. It can also inspire me how other people dress, how they look and how they think. It can be a detail in someone’s coat, but it can also sometimes be a quote that inspires me to create or to reflect. And reflection is very important for me. To think about what you do and why you do it.
How is the process from idea to a finished piece of furniture?
The process from idea to a finished piece of furniture is not always the same for me. But I often use a main method consisting of making sculptures in the beginning, where I’m not allowed thinking about function. This method helps me to create unpredictable shapes that I can use to further development.
In my case there’s always been a huge difference between my originally idea/expression and the final product. A lot happens when I start working on it with my hands. When I make mock ups a lot changes and I get inspired to try new things.
I draw a lot in my head, more than on paper and make a lot of notes and then I normally create as many abstract shapes/sculptures as I can think of, just let the creativity flow. Then I make an analysis of the abstract shapes and sculptures, what’s interesting, what can be used in a piece of furniture and most important what kind of furniture does the sculptures inspire me to create. Then I choose the most interesting shapes and start making small-scale models. A lot of different scale models where I start to incorporate function. When I’m satisfied with one or to of my scale models I go to the workshop and make a quick mock up. Then I analyze the mock up, make new sketches and make another mock up and typically make another one. When I think the shape is there I start creating very specific drawings and description drawings and uses a lot of time on building the final prototype while testing different materials and colours.
I’m way more interested in shape than in function, but combining these two tings challenges me and I love seeing a piece of furniture with a function that often has started as a sculpture or something completely else, non functional. For me this method assures me not to make something that already exists.
Creating a piece of furniture is my own personal creative journey. I don’t look in magazines or get inspired by already existing furniture.
How does your furniture reflect your inspirations – can you come with an example?
One example is my new acetone collection that almost looks like the moon or the earth seen from above. The intention was to make a dead surface alive by making a surface treatment with colors and textures. And here the beauty of nature was inspiring me.
Another example is my wire chair that was inspired by all the uninspiring metro construction in Copenhagen. I looked at it and thought about how I could turn all those wire construction into something beautiful, so I photographed it for a while and started to build sculptures inspired from the pictures, and then the wire chair started to take form. It’s an example of how everyday life and reflections about architecture and constructions can turn into furniture.
What is your dream and ambition with your project?
My dream is to create furniture, sculptures and spaces that creates value for the people using it/living in it, to sell my thing not only in Denmark but on a international level. To create unique furniture and spaces that people use/live in everyday. To make a living of what I love the most, to inspire people through my pieces of furniture and my way of thinking.
Header by Philip Høpner