Axel Landström and Victor Isaksson Pirtti founded their design practice Lab La Bla in 2018 but their connection sparked way before that. The pair first met as toddlers in their native town of Luleå on Sweden’s Lapland coast, a remote region known for its subarctic climate, dense spruce forests, and history of iron mining — all topics Landström and Isaksson Pirtti continue to draw on in their practice.
They studied Silversmithing in Florence before returning to Sweden to study Industrial Design. The workshop has become the playground. Today they try to look for fun and absurd ways to hack traditional processes and materials with “konceptfabriken” Lab La Bla. The duo make between opposites – mining and agriculture, soft and hard, the wanted and the unwanted, remote and urban. Their research led practice uses materials as a lens to examine the fuzzy boundaries between man, industry and nature.
This approach resulted in a series of chairs made from core samples once kept in a scientific archive — to rendering objects from industrial refuse, like their Anti-Lathe vase, made from the waste of iron ore mining, always with an eye towards sustainability and environmental impact. Similar projects, like their recent BBQ series, take a more tongue-in-cheek approach to the process of re-contextualizing industrial materials. The simply fashioned series of fiery-hued wooden chairs, tables, and shelves were coated with a proprietary concoction of mining waste and factory dust from Swedish copper mines, designed to celebrate low-end industrial spruce like an expensive piece of meat.