Artisan Wednesday | Q+A with Mette Barfod, Editor In Chief of Ark Journal

To gather a deeper and more intimate connection with the artists and artisans we work with, we asked each to answer a series of questions. We will be showcasing each Q+A in correlation with our familial content. Enjoy!
x Shop Zung

 

Without giving away your location, describe where you are right now. What are the things you see, smell, or hear around you? 

We have just moved our office to a beautiful part of Copenhagen called Frederiksstaden. The area was planned and built in the 18th century for the nobility who wanted stately homes close to the center. Besides beautiful houses, the area has become the new design precinct with a lot of showrooms, shops and restaurants. There’s a lot to look at when it comes to design and architecture, and being close to the water there is always the lovely smell from the sea. 


Taste, touch, smell, sound, sight — which of the five senses do you rely on the most? Why?

The five senses have a much bigger influence on the way I perceive my work as Editor In Chief than one may initially think. For me, sight seems to clearly be the dominant sense when I decide for features for Ark Journal. But when I experience architecture the smell, sound and touch have a big impact on how I experience materials, form and function.


Tell us about your relationship with Shop Zung. To begin, when and where did your relationship with Tommy start? Could you describe one of your favorite moments or projects working with Tommy and our Shop?

The first time I met Tommy was in Copenhagen during 3daysofdesign. We met through a common friend – Niels Strøyer Christophersen, founder of Frama. The year after we did a beautiful design exhibition at Studio Zung together with Tommy, Objects.nyc and the Danish design brand Skagerak. It was a pleasure working with Tommy on that exhibition. For me Studio Zung completes a wide range of projects, integrating architecture, design and the artistry of living all inspired by a holistic lifestyle and sensuous design - minimalist and understated, that goes so well with the Ark Journal mindset and the Scandinavian design culture. 

 

We want to know more about your creative process, walk us through it. How do you begin each of your issues? Do you anchor it with an image, a material, colour, feeling? How do you come to a stopping point and know your work is complete, if you ever think so?

In our editorial team we talk a lot about what is going on in society, the art world, which people will influence the future design-world, how people are changing their living situation, moving out of the cities, getting smaller apartments etc, – and slowly we are putting the magazines together.

 

How would you describe your work? How do other people describe your work?

Ark Journal is a magazine devoted to the increasingly intersecting worlds of interiors, design, architecture and art. We visit extraordinary homes and studios around the world and interview creatives about their philosophies and influences. Combining original photography, insightful commentary and impeccable design, the magazine wants to inspire and engage a dedicated global audience of design-oriented consumers and professionals.

With its Copenhagen base and global reach Ark Journal is the cornerstone of an international platform, encompassing editorial collaborations and global events.


We are curious about how Ark Journal started. What inspired you to create the very first issue? How has it changed throughout the years?

In a Scandinavian environment marked by a lot of interior magazines, art magazines targeting art collectors and architecture magazines for architects, I wanted to create a print magazine bridging architecture, design and art – showing them as an interplay and with a Scandinavian sense of enduring values and aesthetics but a broader geographical sweep. 

We have now been on the market for 3 years, and we have changed very little when it comes to the concept and content – we can see that the increasing interest for biannual magazines like Ark Journal on high quality paper are just growing over the years. 


 

Think of an object in your home that has the most significance to you. Could you share with us what it is and the memory behind it?

In the next issue coming out in September we have an interview with Ilse Crawford where she is talking about “a head, heart and hand” approach to design representing the combination of imagination, empathy and craftsmanship, which both captures and encapsulates the humanity of her vision when it comes to objects and designing. I can very much relate to that approach when it comes to my own selection of objects for my home. If I should choose one important selection/collection in my home – it must be my bookshelves with my art and design books.

 

We live in a society where so much of our identity is surrounded by the things we consume whether that be the things we buy, the food we eat, or the content we see, along with the fast paced nature of it. How do you approach mindful living and sustainability in the context of your work and in your everyday life? 

I believe in long-term relationships on all levels: when it comes to the team I work with (some of them I have been working with for more than 20 years), my friends I hang out with, and the objects I am surrounded by at home. Most of my furnitures/design objects I have had for many years, I love seeing them age over time.


What do you envision for Ark Journal in five years?  

I hope that we will continue developing not only the magazines but also do more collaborations and exhibitions with other design-brands.


What do you want people to take away from your publication? What is the legacy you imagine for it? How do you want to be remembered? 

I hope Ark Journal will continue to give inspiration and wisdom to our readers, but I am also hoping to see more independent magazines popping up like Ark Journal.

 

Are you looking forward to anything in the next few months? Any new exciting projects or plans? 

I think we all are looking forward to the world opening up again, to meet people in real life and getting inspiration and having nice conversations. Ark Journal will continue doing launches around the world – for autumn we have many exciting projects coming up in New York, Milan, Copenhagen and Seoul.

 

Photo courtesy of Mette Barfod, Ark Journal, and Pernille Loof