Q&A with Welling/Ludvik


Hee Welling and Gudmundur Ludvik are the design team behind the Pato Collection, which was launched in 2013 and since then has been expanded with a wide range of variants that accommodates many different needs.


What is your design philosophy?
Keep it simple – that is our mantra. We always aim to optimize our design to its clearest, most useful, production friendly and simple shape. By dismissing all unnecessary items and details, we find the true essence of the design, which we believe creates the best, most honest and long-lasting product.

What makes your design special?
The goal for each piece of furniture is for it to be simple, comfortable and functional with well-balanced proportions. Our designs are based on pure functionality and aesthetics and are a result of thorough research and testing to find the best solution for any given situation.

What made you want to work with Fredericia?
Fredericia has an amazing history, based on great craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail. In our opinion, the Fredericia collection includes some of the best and most honest furniture designs ever made. Since studying at The Academy of Fine Arts, Fredericia has been a company we have dreamed of collaborating alongside – particularly because we share so many values. We believe that the right match between manufacturer and designer lifts the quality of the product to an even higher level.


How do you secure a kinship between the Fredericia’ design DNA and your product design?
We share a close affinity to Fredericia’s design principles of beauty, simplicity and expert craftsmanship, so our product designs are all about being true to our own values.

What has been the inspiration behind the product?
We are inspired by many things - new materials, production techniques, sustainability and the world around us - what works, what doesn’t work and what can be made better. With Pato, we wanted to create the optimal chair, suitable for every situation - anywhere. A chair with a simple expression, but with the best possible comfort, produced by using the best materials, the most efficient production techniques, together with the best Scandinavian sub-suppliers.

How long has the process been from the first idea to the final product?
The first version of the Pato chair took around three years to develop, from the first idea until product launch. Due to the success of the first chair, Pato has turned into a larger series of furniture, so it has been an ongoing process since 2010, and the family is still growing. 

Which characteristics in your design are you especially fond of?
The edge around the Pato shell provides the chair's character, and it's an important detail as it provides comfort and prevents the edge “cutting” into the knees and back when sitting. Besides that, it visually adds precision and sharpness to the expression of the chair. We also feel that it could not have been done differently, because the aesthetics, functionality, craftsmanship, environmental issue and price goes hand in hand, and that makes us very proud of the Pato chair.

Which detail in your design was the greatest challenge to materialize in the actual product?
The most significant challenge with the Pato family has been to preserve the potential for the family to grow and become sustainable both regarding aesthetics as well as the durability. Times are changing with new trends popping up all the time, and the environment is suffering because of this 'disposable' culture. This type of furniture, on the other hand, is considered from all angles and sustainability has been an essential factor in our work with the Pato chair. Another challenge was the version featuring the built-in writing desk and the importance of integrating it as a part of the series. A chair with a writing desk frequently creates problems when stacking, but it was an important issue for us, so we continued developing the product until we proudly could present the stackable solution.

If you had to describe Fredericia’s design DNA in three words, what would they be?
Craftsmanship, Quality and Honesty.