The Picnic collection was born out of a clear concept: a large communal seat, a neat circular structure, a two-hights system, replete with a soft cushion, designed by Form Us With Love.
‘Our second Annual Briefing was on the topic of sharing, asking: “how do we gain collective trust in a public space?” And as we saw the might of isolation soaring, we found ourselves longing for intimacy. It is in the close presence of others — in smaller footprints, all equals, with our heads together, that we feel the essence of sharing. In the case of Picnic, seating many with a low impact, is simple and smart,’ says Martin Halle, Creative Director at +Halle.
‘Picnic is symbolic. In our initial phase, the mantra was: “no man is an island.” The shape is round, and everyone is heard, facing each other. As primal as a campfire, Picnic explores what meetings in a circle entail. The formation also means a shield from the outside, creating a barrier of focus,’ says John Löfgren Creative Director at Form Us With Love and continues: ‘The strength of this product is in the numbers, as soon as you are four or five, trust and intimacy become natural characteristics and conviviality is encouraged and restored.’
The Picnic’s generosity negates the need for lots of chairs and tables in an open space and allows for tidiness throughout any environment. During the Annual Briefing, a behavioural-led design forum held in Stockholm and Oslo during 2019, Form Us With Love presented Picnic as an idea of de-cluttering, for better, more qualitative, sharing. The main purpose being seated face-to-face without fuss. ‘During the last year and a half, the emphasis has been on separating people from each other, and we have witnessed the desperate need for togetherness, gatherings, and real-life conversation, that natural sharing instinct is what Picnic manifests,’ Löfgren adds.
Form Us With Love aimed to honour this approach in a minimal, more straightforward, way. This is done by introducing a bench and an attached central table configured as a one-piece interior. The idea to reduce the elements is executed in a sculptural way, letting the furniture grown into its surrounding. ‘We looked at how architects often specify large tables and benches in public areas eschewing the common mess, we wanted to accommodate that by offering an elegant solution behaving like a tree in a meadow,’ Löfgren explains.
‘We were questioning whether sharing has to be loud and stressful? By placing Picnic in configurations that adhere and blends into its surroundings, mixing high and low, you will create a dynamic yet clean outlook. Its position in the room liberates, there is a silence except for the conversations you will hear murmuring, with the option of being closer or further apart — the essence of the sharing becomes satisfying,’ says Halle.
The proposal is to bring the silhouette of a classic park table inside and by doing so transform the feeling of forging community without losing the importance of the inherent behaviour. ‘The picnic table as we know it is a little blunt, but making it round and dressing it, you transform the rustic and simple to warm and tidy, keeping the public sentiment,’ Löfgren recalls, ‘We were looking for the playfulness in one unit, facilitating the experience of being part of a whole,’ says Halle.
Picnic is grand, remarkably intriguing and has its emphasis on the kinship between those who sit in it. It is all about table and seat, and the interplay. The piece speaks volumes in one colour but can also be enjoyed as a mixed scheme with patterns and bright additions. ‘We look forward to seeing all sorts of combinations, as this is a product that does not have to be homogeneous, there is an artistic tone and a level of attraction embedded in the design,’ Löfgren reflects. ‘It is exciting to sit in Picnic, everyone knows how to use it, and by bringing it inside, we are breathing new life into a timeless sharing structure,’ Halle concludes.
This Swedish studio is renown for an explorative process and is the worlds best at bettered solutions for the assembly and use of everyday objects. Continuously referred to as responsible and critical, the studio’s mission is to deliver design applications based on a ‘circular economy’. The studio is famous for challenging typologies of the public realm, addressing the need for increased movability. In 2017, the studio founded Prototypa, a critical forum that invites designers, architects, manufacturers and artists to share their design process, a successful concept, which is still travelling the world. This is precisely why; the annual brief on Sharing is given to the studio.
Explore the products from our Picnic series