Kristina's love of art and design started as a child. At the tender age of seven she was already exhibiting the early traits of an interior designer, removing the furniture from her room each week to redecorate it, a phenomenon which continued into her teens. Coupled with her genuine interest in design, she started to devour books on the topic, dreaming of life as an artist, despite her parents' advice against pursuing this, often low-paid, career path.
Her love of painting evolved into graphic design. After winning a contest for logo design at the age of sixteen, she enrolled at Glyptotekets Tegneskole (a private drawing school) in Copenhagen and, encouraged by her teachers, she then went on to graduate from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in Copenhagen. After five years working in an agency, she set up her own studio from where she created black and white illustrations, which soon led onto sculptures and, eventually, furniture too.
Her journey was rich and interconnected. Moreover, her conscious decision to study design at the Academy, which encompassed architecture, product design, furniture design and graphic design, combined with her understanding of brand, communication and visual identity gained from her graphic designer role, attributes to her success as an artist, businesswoman and founder of her own studio today.
So, what inspired Kristina? She fondly recounts two sources of continual inspiration throughout her life: nature and her grandmother. Coincidentally, both are intrinsically linked to her childhood home in the countryside town of Præstø, located 150 kilometres from the city of Copenhagen.
Surrounded by rich forest, which she walked through every day with her dog, she subconsciously absorbed the natural kaleidoscope of everchanging colours; as the leaves turned from summer to fall and the sky brightened and dimmed with each new season. Even today, she notes that colour, inspired by nature, continues to play an important part in her design language.
Living next door to Kristina, her grandmother was as much of a role model to Kristina as her own parents. With her finger on the pulse when it came to fashion, her grandmother prided herself in choosing quality apparel and footwear, with vehement loyalty:
"She always wore ECCO. Even from when she was young, I remember her wearing the original ECCO shoe. I can still picture it — simple, with distinctive laces. When she had worn out a pair of her classic ECCO shoes, off she would go to buy a new pair of the very same model," Kristina remembers fondly and, laughing affectionately, adds: "she either owned pairs in marine blue or pure white and, if things got wild ... she would have them in both colours."
Kristina Dam, Designer & Business Owner
Rooted at the heart of family life, ECCO was a brand Kristina grew up with and came to value just as her grandmother did, for its premium materials and minimalist design. It is why she only buys ECCO for her children too, remembering the sage advice given by her grandmother to "only buy the best shoes for your children."
Simplicity and minimalism saturate Kristina's private and professional life; from how she lives to how she designs and the intrinsically beautiful products she creates. Rather than running after trends, she prefers to root her design language firmly in the principles of iconic Danish designers such as Hans J. Wegner and Poul Kjærholm, where importance is placed on the use of authentic, basic materials.
With this in mind — a shared passion for using honest materials combined with the joy of simplicity — Kristina draws a parallel with ECCO, in particular, the new ECCO SIMPIL sneaker, noting: "When less is more, it's still important to add that small design detail which will catch your eye," adding, "I like to call it 'Sculptural Minimalism'. The elegant metal detail on this shoe can be its 'Sculptural Minimalism'; it didn't have to be added, but it is just enough to make this minimalist sneaker all the more beautiful and feminine, by simply being there."