Unikat Gallery — Alexander Lervik
Design + Art
Introductory text by Jonas Kleerup
November 2022
The inspiration for this can be partly traced to his parents, but also to the time in the 90s when he graduated from Beckmans College of Design. The minimal Scandinavian style that enjoyed great success during this period contributed to an era of its own that gained dominance well into the 21st century. Lervik’s graduation exhibition ”Ten stools — ten decades” did away with the yoke of the 20th century’s modernist spirit, the exhibition was an artistic interpretation of ten pieces of furniture from ten different decades that achieved international success. Job requests from Japanese design agencies and handwritten eulogies from Vitra’s owners poured in and the exhibition toured the world. Lervik got a great start in the industry, but at the same time felt that he did not want to jump on the easy path and become one of the ranks of the so-called Scandinavian design wonder. He wanted to complicate things and think far outside both the box and the white cube. 

The artistic thinking had an obvious background in the form of Alexander’s mother and stepfather, they were both sculptors and dragged him around to openings every Saturday when he was a child. This artistic upbringing has characterized Lervik throughout his career and he has often explored the area where art and design meet each other, especially from a sculptural point of view. For example, in the Spike Chair, an artistic form experiment that has a convenience even though the object has few similarities to a chair, or the lamp ”My Brain” from 2007, which is an early example of 3D scanning where Lervik has scanned his own brain. Both objects were produced and exhibited at the legendary design gallery Gallery Pascale in Stockholm. The creator Alexander Lervik is constantly on the go. He is not content to be placed in compartments, but prefers to jump between definitions that can free him from the classic role of furniture designer, which is basically his actual title. In recent years, he has explored art installations, inventions, photography, drawing elevators and was an early proponent of 3D printing’s potential change to our environment. 
The core of his business has been furniture, lamps and products that he designed for leading producers such as Moroso, Design House Stockholm, Artico and others. And he has been given solo exhibitions in Sweden and abroad. However, he has always chosen conceptual solutions, which means that the furniture gets a more personal or artistic framing when its story is told, something that could be seen at his exhibitions at Kulturhuset in 2018 and at the Sven-Harrys art gallery in Stockholm in 2020. He has also done ”15 x 15 x 15” where fifteen legendary photographers such as Martin Parr, Mary Ellen Mark and Gunnar Smoliansky were able to interpret his furniture through the camera lens. In the collaboration with Eva Dahlgren, glass and light were interpreted through specially written pieces of music and resulted in an exhibition at Bukowski’s. 

In addition to the artistic ambitions, innovation, future and sustainability are topics Lervik likes to address. He saw early on the enormous possibilities that the 3D printer could achieve, its impact on copyright in design and the environmental aspects it can produce and has, among other things, made a TED talk on the subject.

This year, together with Design House Stockholm, he released a 3D model without copyright that anyone can print and use. He has also designed hanging devices for artworks, swings that double as light sources and one of his earliest innovative projects was the door handle ”Bright Handle” from 2000 whose color changes depending on the accessibility behind its door. With a 20-year career as one of the foremost on Sweden's design scene, it feels logical that Alexander Lervik is now opening a gallery that will explore the more artistic and innovative aspects of design. It is precisely these that are the core of his success and what made him who he is today.
About Unikat Gallery
Unikat gallery shows experimental exhibitions with unique products, as part of meeting the future demand for craftsmanship and uniqueness. The idea for the gallery has grown over time. In 2007, Alexander Lervik designed the MYBrain lamp, an exact copy of his own brain, which has been described as the first Scandinavian signature object for 3D printing technology. In connection with the launch, he began lecturing on the future of technology, and two years later in 2009 he gave a TED talk on the same theme.

The thesis has been that already in 2030 — 2040 we will have seen a shift, where 3D printing has taken over mass production. I think that in the long run the design industry will have to start its own Spotify, as digital product files are shared in the same way as music was done in the nineties, says Alexander Lervik. As a counter movement to the simplified mass production, craftsmanship and uniqueness are predicted to be even more in demand in the future, and the gallery is a first step in that direction.

With the gallery, Alexander Lervik wants to create a smaller platform to investigate the borderland between art and design. Here he wants to show more experimental objects to develop as a designer, but also to approach the industry as he believes it will look in the future.