February 19, 2019

Etage Projects

A few words with the director and founder Maria Foerlev

Words Erica Lindberg

Etage Projects is an art and design gallery in Copenhagen. By exploring what a merge between art and design could look like, the line between the two concepts  (if such a line ever existed) is blurred. The gallery abstains from taking a stand in the questions ‘What is Art’ and ‘What is Design’. Nevertheless, they think that “we should question the term ‘design’; nowadays an abused word, deprived of all social and collective implications as initiated by the Bauhaus school. Rather than design, Etage Projects wants to reflect on the objects that surround us and the stories and reflections they produce.”

The director and founder of the gallery, Maria Foerlev, describes how her academic background formed what would eventually become Etage Projects: “I studied art and design history at Sotheby’s Institute in London, and then went on to an architecture degree at the Danish Royal Academy. When returning to Copenhagen after two years in South Africa, I struggled to choose between these distinct fields of art, design, and architecture. Luckily for me, many people in these fields felt the same.”

" There is a need for design for its functional utilitarian purpose. There is a need for art for its poetic psychology. There is a need for them together."

Etage Projects focuses especially on cross-aesthetic methods. This focus stems from an interest in the ways in which aesthetics affect us, and how ideas can translate into aesthetics. This is why Maria Foerlev has chosen to work with artists who create functional pieces as well as designers working conceptually, “their work relies on an engaging experience you cannot get as a passive viewer. You could say these works translate conceptual visions into the realm of functionality and daily-life objects.

According to Maria Foerlev, being able to exhibit works that are “deliberately ambiguous”, with “an alternative relationship toward traditional notions and functionality”, shows that there has been a cultural shift in the realm of visual arts. “The world really doesn’t need another chair, but it will always need ideas, emotions and engagement. Today we call it contemporary culture. We are thankfully done asking ‘Is it art or is it design?’” 

FOS, Mountain Vase
Soft Baroque, Small Side Table
Soft Baroque and David Horan, Stainless Steel Bench
Soft Baroque, Lumbar Support
Soft Baroque, Umbrella Stand