Made up of three stylish female designers, Swedish design collective Front is often seen as a breath of fresh air in the furniture industry, which is mostly dominated by male designers. We met up with Sofia Lagerkvist and Anna Lindgren at the Milan fair to chat about the challenges of being a female designer, and their newest design for Porro.

Front is (L-R) Anna Lindgren, Sofia Lagerkvist, and Charlotte von der Lancken.

How did you arrive at the name "Front"?
Sofia: We like the name Front because it has the idea of a unit, and the word also means forward-looking and progressive. 

Who does what between the three of you?
Sofia: We do everything, and nobody has a specific role. So work becomes very organic. Since we know each other so well, there’s already a synergy. Sometimes it’s funny how little friction there can be with very big decisions.

As group of female designers, do you face certain unique challenges in this industry?
Sophia: We’ve definitely been very fortunate. In our school, more than 50% of the students are females. But when you see the posters that companies show of their designers, they’re all black and white photos of serious men. When it comes certain situations, like product development, we need to prove ourselves more so that they can understand that we are as knowledgable in the area as anyone else. So we're lucky that we have also been very interested in technical things.

Ellipse table from Porro.

How did the Ellipse table come about?
Sofia: Our brief from Mr Porro was to make a table with a centre leg. It's actually something that we would not have explored ourselves because there are a lot of very ugly tables that have a centre leg! Haha… But he wanted it to be like a sculpture.
Anna: It was a really fun challenge! We talked about the advantages of having a centre leg, like how you can sit all around the table — that's why we decided on an oval shape too. With a table like this you can get a closeness, and have conversations easily. We hoped to achieve a design that is sculptural but simple as well.

What was the design process like with Porro?
Anna: We have a good working relationship with Porro. With them, it’s always a very very high quality of work. You present an idea to them, and they’re going to push it hard to make it perfect.
Sophia: When we presented the Ellipse table to them, they were thinking of the right material that would make this piece solid, but also light. And they found this Swiss company that produces Dulver, a solid surface plastic that's very light. 

Porro is available at Dream Interiors, 456 River Valley Road, tel: 6235-0220.