Natural materials, loveable, plain objects recalling Scandinavian design and pastel colors. Perhaps not even Scandinavian, rather distinctly Franta Ági. But what is that like? Everything is connected to everything in the world of Franta Ági, and there are no coincidences either: we would like to convey this positive and unique atmosphere with this interview.
We interviewed product designer Ági Franta, the founder of the frantaagi brand named after herself.
You created your first piece, the star lamp in 2013, with which you also won the Hungarian Design Award. Tell us a bit more about this, please: where did this story tart?
It’s a simple story: 10 years ago everything collapsed around me, and although very slowly, but I was directed to my path by the many questions I had to ask myself and the answers I had to find and face. At that time, I was attending a home decoration course, it’s a strange twist of fate that since the family atmosphere was not that good during childhood, I trained myself to create harmony, moving from the outside to the inside.
I started making lamps after a dream. I had no idea where this road would take me, but my call was strong. A few years later, I made it to the star lamp, and the lamp made it to the Museum of Applied Arts: this was the first time I somewhat believed that I was worth something and that joy was not only intended for others. So I stuck to lamps, and slowly home decorators and interior designers started to work with the star lamp – everything fell into place. Last year, I manufactured lamps for an office building of the size I could never even dreamt of.
Certain elements of the star lamp are variable: the color of the lamp shade, the snaps and the hanger cable can be tailored to our taste as well as to the interior. Were there ever any combinations that you thought would never work?
Yes, it happened, but I am always open to good ideas. For example, during the renovation of the Tourinform office in Szentendre, the interior decorator asked for cherry red lamp shades, which I honestly didn’t understand at the time, as the design is so characteristic in itself that it should not be further accentuated with an emphatic color. But I understood everything when I saw the drawings, and the end result was perfect.
Star lamp, star tile and star rug: the design of the lamp is also echoed in your latest products, in the pattern of the rug and the shape of the tiles. But what makes these pieces even more special is that there is a very deep thought behind every shape.
I always discover these afterwards, I experienced some kind of “dictating” several times. The first was the star lamp, projecting a five-pointed star into the space, which is the symbol of the awaken man. The Algiz rune is one of the most powerful symbols of protection, and the laid out shade contains four of it.
Then came the tiles: when I dismantled the silhouette of the lamp, two complementary shapes were born. To understand myself and the world, I received the help that the one (ancient measure) always seems two in this world (for example, the 24 hours of one day consist of both a night and a day, a couple is formed by a woman and a man) and what’s most important is what occurs between the beings. Back to the previous examples: there is sunrise or sunset between night and day, there is mystery in it, also shown by their colors; and there is love between man and a woman, which is often associated with pink fog. In addition to harmony, chaos is also created many times, because conscience is missing, and there are only patterns, and people miss out on experiencing reality. The two versions of the tile can be endlessly combined both by one and by two. I also realized this retrospectively.
The use of reusable and natural materials, such as birch tree, cardboard or wool plays an emphatic role in manufacturing your pieces. The further added value of the products is that they are made by involving local manufacturers. How does this process go exactly?
Everything helps me. I read from horseman archer Lajos Kassai that if you have a goal, you can arrange the world around it. This is what happens in my life, too, but I would rather use the word goal in a manner that the nature of the conscience should manifest through me, and that will be the best for everyone. I know this is true with every inch of my body, but I needed to get attuned to it.
I needed long years so that this can be a quick process today: earlier I was looking for a carpenter for years to create the star lamp out of wood, while last year simply my sister’s partner told me that a friend of his would love to do it, and he even lived on the next street! It’s true for everything that once the disciple is ready, the master appears. I work with approximately 10 manufactories, I dare to say on their behalves honestly that we do this by contributing to each other’s joy. If I am nice, open and loving towards the world, the world will be just the same towards me.
Do you have regular customers?
Yes, many. They are the ones that show me the most that I am on the right path, even if it seemed difficult many times. My master reminded me that there is the right path and the easy one. Today, I thank heaven that it didn’t let me leave my right one. I sense some kind of spiral pulsation in this, too, the same as in the seasons, and if you pay attention, they can show more from themselves every year.
I always create photos of my products during spring: at first, I paid lots of money for the photos, and lost a lot of energy in the meantime, and I wasn’t overly impressed by the end result. Yet now (and every spring for 5 years now) I get someone from fate whom I would not even find otherwise and who always shows and brings a new perspective about my products. It started with Dávid Biró, who chose the star lamp to be the subject of his object photography at the Department of Photography of the University of Kaposvár, and so I had my first “win-win” collaboration through him. I didn’t have to add anything, I don’t even know who was happier. And now you came to me, and I already sensed from your fine vibrations that a miracle is about to happen: I didn’t even say a thing during it and yet I saw my products from a completely different angle. Much more than ever and this gave me a new impetus again.
Back to the question: I also have a Swedish designer “guarding angel” customer, who always comes and buys my products once they are launched. I consider him a sign post.
The tile and the rug can already be ordered from you at your online store, but your brand is not only expanded with these two products: we can also expect additional novelties from you in the near future.
Yes. I received the suggestion before Christmas that I should not spend my time with fairs, but rather by relaxing and focusing inwards in harmony with the laws of nature. A complete product family appeared in my mind’s eyes, one that is fully distinct from the star design. The first one will be a stool, which is already in progress. I am excited and hopeful, I hope I can show it to you soon!
frantaagi will not only be expanded with new products in the near future: it should also be mentioned that the brand will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the creation of the first lamp, and the online store will soon be expanded with a new, large rug, too.
For further new stuff, keep an eye on Ági’s website and social media platforms:
Photos: Balázs Csizik