Heist label heads, DJ and production duo Dam Swindle have collaborated with Amsterdam design agency Robuust to create an interior design range for record collectors. The ‘Minimalist Living | Maximum Volume’ collection consists of three pieces: the Frame01 wall mount that frames a single record with a 3D illusion; the Cube01 floor-standing storage module that holds up to 70 records; and the Booth01 made-to-order bamboo DJ booth with steel sideboard speaker stands.
In advance of the collections release, we caught up with Lars and Maarten to find out the project came together.
What sparked the idea to embark on this project?
The Robuust guys are both big into house music and they always had the idea to do something with music and interior design. Since it’s such a specialist market, they wanted to make sure they got ideas from creators that are knee deep in the vinyl world. It also helped that they were both big fans of our music. When they pitched the idea to create a collection, we were really enthusiastic. We’ve both spent a lot of time in designing and redecorating our own houses and obviously have a lot of records lying around everywhere, so that interest in both worlds came together nicely for both Robuust and us.
Any reference points in the design world you aspired towards or took inspiration from when you had the initial idea?
We wanted to create something with the minimalist aesthetic that we both like, and at the same time make sure to create a collection with its own identity. There are a lot of items on the market already that have the same idea behind it and we set a ground rule for ourselves to show a new perspective on these kind of objects.
Why did you choose Robuust Amsterdam to bring this idea to life?
They’re young, enthusiastic, really into music and have a fresh look on design. They make beautiful products with an aesthetic that really fits with what we’ve been doing with our label design for instance. We had a lot of fun during the first concept meetings and it really just clicked. Also, they’ve got the same entrepreneurial approach as we do and usually make choices based on a bit of research, a bit of knowledge and a lot of gut feeling. We really like that about them.
As design enthusiasts yourselves, how much input did you have in the creative process?
A lot. We have been bouncing ideas back and forth for a long time and with every new list of ideas, we ended up deleting most if them because they weren’t special enough. And with each item we scratched off, we came closer to finding that direction that was gonna stay on the list. This was really something that could have only happened with the four of us working together. The cool thing was that the Robuust guys were really open to our design ideas, but I have to say: those geometrical tricks that really make these designs special were totally their idea 😉
More broadly, can you talk us through how this range came to life?
This was a process of a year and a half of brainstorming, researching, modelling, deleting, revisiting old ideas and finally narrowing down to the best designs to launch with. With these two steel products and the booth, we’ve got design as well as functionality playing a big role for the vinyl lover. Framing a record is something very familiar and is as much a design thing as it is a music thing. Having a coffee table stand for records also has its clear use and position in any interior. The booth brings DJing and interior together and every time I walk into my living room, I’m happy to have the first prototype there.
What was the most challenging and rewarding parts of the project for you?
The biggest challenge was doing something new. So many things have already been made before or are already for sale at Ikea or Urban Outfitters. And finding that unique design element was also the most rewarding thing. And every time we show these objects to someone new, I see a look of surprise and wonder in their reaction. That’s exactly what we hoped as a response.
You’re leading with the mantra of ‘Minimalist Living, Maximum Volume’. What’s important to you about this concept of minimalist living?
It might sound a bit like a paradox to go for minimalist living and create items for collectors. That said, these items are made from a minimalist design point of view. We took away all the excess elements, until there was nothing left to take away. The angles are simple, the assembly is smart, the product is durable. For us, these are all essential parts of minimalist living. This collection is not about who has the most records, it’s about really seeing what you have. With these objects, we’re doing our best to make that seminal record design the hero and showcase that record in a beautiful frame.
Our ‘Reduced’ mix series explores this idea of a minimalistic thinking and a reduced state of mind through self-care and music. Taking a more holistic approach to your mantra of minimalist living, we’d be curious to know if there’s any self-care practices you engage with alongside and/or away from your careers in music to aid this kind of lifestyle.
That’s a big question. Self-care has been on our minds for a long time, but it’s not something that has come natural to us. As touring DJs, caring for ourselves (or family & friends for that matter) has not been easy. We won’t get into the heavy stories behind it all, but there are definitely some ground rules we’ve been keeping ourselves to. Steady exercise, routines, healthy food, making sure to spend time with friends and family. It sounds so simple and probably even a bit boring, but that’s exactly the point. That’s how you stay afloat in all the chaos, jetlags, deadlines or pandemics for that matter.