A TALK WITH OEO STUDIO
Photography by Kasper Løftgaard
OEO Studio is a multi-disciplinary design studio established in Copenhagen in 2003 and focusing on interiors architecture, product design and brand innovation.
It is headed by designer and creative director Thomas Lykke – former interiors editor at Wallpaper* Magazine – and CEO Anne-Marie Buemann. We asked them about the origins of the studio, some juicy curiosities about their work and their relationship with Mutina.
How did it all start with OEO Studio?
OEO Studio started back in 2003 with an ambition to revitalise what is known as ‘Danish Modern’. Back then there wasn’t much drive to embrace new ways – not much verve. Danish design was associated with little more than an ‘old chair’.
When did you decide it was time for you to go from local to global and why did you choose Tokyo?
We have never seen ourselves as a particularly Danish studio. We have always had an investigative international mind-set. As a small studio we cannot be everywhere. Japan was chosen out of passion, curiosity and fascination – for the people – and never purely from a business point of view.
How do you approach interiors?
We always ask ourselves what the ‘reason for being’ is. In other words, what makes an interior different and relevant – not only now but also years on. Trends don’t interest us. Rather, we want designs to embrace people. We always try to create interiors that make people feel comfortable, intrigued and inspired.
What element do you think can never be missed when you walk in a room?
How do you develop your projects? What kind of collaboration do you engage with your clients?
We tend to think of design very late in the process. First we seek to define the core essence of the experience or product – then we work backwards and add design. Our approach is very holistic. We engage with all kinds of projects. We like being challenged – just as we like to challenge our clients with our mindset. Kadeau was the first restaurant we have ever created. That was a great challenge and a very satisfying one.
What aspect do you like the most of Mutina’s world?
We love the high quality of Mutina and the brand’s eclectic and creative universe. There is a subtle edge to the Mutina design typology, but they never forget that the products are intended for people in the widest sense and not only for designers. We love the diversity of the collections, the colours and the textures. Mutina tiles are beautiful and refined in any context.
With the Kadeau project, what sort of experience did you want to create in using Patricia Urquiola’s Azulej? How would you describe the place using one word?
Kadeau is about making people feel at home, welcome and comfortable.
The choice of using Azulej reflects an ambition to create a subtle and relaxed ambiance where you feel at home, enjoying dinner alone or with close friends. We bring a sense of femininity into play in the form of warm sandy tones juxtaposed by oiled oak and patinated brass.
Our one word would be: Sanctuary.
Do you have a favorite Mutina collection?
We have many. But to pick one each then Anne-Marie’s would be: Azulej and Thomas’ is Pico.
What is the most uncommon project you worked at?
That would be Japan Handmade, which is a once-in-a-lifetime project and our great pride.
What’s up next with the studio?
Many projects are cooking, including new restaurants, new products and new brands. And we have just started the building process of the new FLOS Scandinavia headquarters and showroom, which is to be quite spectacular and ‘uncommon’