When you are growing up, the concept of “fun” might turn into a nostalgic childhood memory, an insignificant hobby or an empty illusion. The six talented designers behind the Stockholm based Cray Collective, make a strong case against this claim. For them, “fun” is their reason for existence.

crayAmandah Andersson, Andreas Frienholt, Amanda Karsberg, Dennis Graben, Lisa Berkert Wallard and Lotta Lampa found their creative other halves in each other while studying fine art and product design or fashion design at Beckman’s College of design. Various collaborative school projects proved that they flourish best while surrounded by each other’s inspirational auras. After graduating, the decision to share a studio space was quickly made. A continuous rotation of the most imaginative ideas, the cross breeding of their design objects and the joint creation of a few stimulating environments organically evolved in Cray Collective.

The six designers take on collective as well as individual assignments. The idea behind Cray, however, is that you never work alone. “When you hire one of us, you indirectly hire all of us” is what it comes down to according to Andreas. None of the members would ever hesitate to place their brain in the hands of the other. Being complimentary to each other in knowledge, skills and experience, they lift each other up to greater heights. They function as each other’s agents and unconsciously draw most of their inspiration from each other’s process.

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Originating from diverse creative backgrounds, their ideas can’t be fitted in one artistic medium. Fusing interior and product design, with fashion, photography and even film, they erase all boundaries between separate disciplines. This multi-disciplinary approach comes best to its right during their group exhibitions. Once their dynamic experiments with colour materials and shapes start to interact with each other a true Cray universe comes into being. “We like to think that our work enjoys hanging out together as much as we do” is a rather touching explanation for their interest in scenography by Lisa.

Eclectic, playful and colourful are certainly adjectives that would be applicable to them. Yet the members are strongly opposed to setting up any sort of guidelines. “Our most important rule, is that there are no rules” is how Andreas briefly sums up their manifesto.

 

The full portrait story by Juliette Sijnja about CRAY COLLECTIVE was published in PLATĒA #1 Winter 2015. Photography by Felipe Barbosa