At the recent Salone del Mobile design fair in Milan, Danish interior design company &tradition and FvF joined forces to host a reception to kick-off the design fair. Craig Barrow, designer, DJ, and FvF collaborator was part of the fun, spinning tunes between Daft Punk and Rihanna.
When did you got hooked on music first, what was your first favorite track or album?
It was when I was about 11 years old. I didn’t really have any hobbies and wasn’t that into sports, so my mum forced me to go to this Saturday morning school called 11th Session. It was basically a mix of workshops were you could go in, pick up an instrument and start playing. The tutors were these great musicians with such varied tastes. So I’d find myself playing jazz and metal on the bass during the morning, then DJing with old trance and hip hop records in the afternoon. This one time I was in a music production workshop, listening to various folders of music on a computer and I came across Girl/Boy Song by Aphex Twin. I had never heard anything like that before; these classic orchestral sounds combined with these crazy all over the place drum patterns. I would listen to it over and over and still to this day the song amazes me. It was definitely one of my first favorite tracks and a turning point for me in what a huge spectrum of music there is out there.
Does music inform your practice as a designer?
They’re both quite different passions for me. Although I’m constantly listening to music whilst working, I wouldn’t say it informs my design work so much. Perhaps sub-consciously some influence occurs.
The interest in innovative and great design and community has been a common thread in the ongoing partnership between &tradition and Freunde von Freunden. Fine drinks were served by Belsazar who produce a elaborate and delicious vermouth. Hosting this reception was a pleasure, find more about the partners way below in this story.
How would you describe your approach to design?
A lot of my work stems from curiosities of things I see or learn about; processes and phenomena from science, nature, industry and production. This often leads to unconventional ways of using tools and materials in an attempt to re-create or mimic something or inspire a dimension such as form or color. Material understanding and experimentation are always a key part of my approach to design. As well as the more abstract work, I have projects that require a more industrial approach where I have to work in a more traditional design manor. It’s a contrast that I really enjoy.
“Taking inspiration from natural occurrences is a way in which I also take a lot of inspiration for my personal work.”
You’ve collaborated on a project with Nike. What was that all about and how did it come into being?
I was approached by Nike to create a collectable for the launch of the Air Max 720 sneaker. They were working with artists to create objects that represent their practice and style whilst responding to the sneakers themselves. I collaborated on the project with DJ Peggy Gou. Whilst we were throwing ideas around we discovered that both our favorite animals was the giraffe. From this we decided to create a playful homage to both the animal and the 720. We adorned a giraffe figure with various graphics and a tiny pair of the sneakers, positioned atop a plinth. We called them the Air Max Trophies Version Seven Hundred and Twenty. The colorway for each of the trainers were inspired by various natural phenomena; sunrise and sunsets, desert patterns, eclipses, the aurora borealis, to name a few. This led on to providing the color palette for the Air Max Trophies as well. Taking inspiration from natural occurrences is a way in which I also take a lot of inspiration for my personal work, so the whole process ended up feeling very natural to me.
Do you DJ often and do you set up a playlist in advance or do you go with the flow?
DJing out is something I used to do a lot more of, but in recent years I have been really focusing on my design work. Playing and listening to music is something I’ve always done to relax and have fun, regardless of whether I’m getting many gigs or not. I still play friends parties or events when asked. It’s something I’m getting back into and I am looking forward to playing out a little more. When it comes to preparing for a set, for me, it takes a bit of both. You’ve got to have catalogs of songs that you know work well together yet also be able to adapt what you’re playing depending on the vibe.
FvF and &tradition celebrate Salone del Mobile
It was a pleasure to host the event at Salone del Mobile and have Craig Barrow as a guest. Major thanks go out to our partners &tradition and Belsazar who kindly supported us with some tasty fluid treats. Learn more about Craig Barrow’s work and check our Mixtapes section for more insights into the work of musicians, designers and other creatives and learn about their love for music.
Text: Fabian Ebeling
Photography: Alexander Brand, Valeria Cherchi (event photos)