Meet the maker: Christine Flensted of Flensted Mobiles
Flensted is world-famous for producing modern mobiles considered covetable design objects by adults. Sales and marketing director Christine Flensted tells us more
Flensted is a family business with a rich history. Tell us a little more?
My granddad, Christian Flensted, designed a stork mobile for my aunt Mette's baptism, and this inspired him to make mobiles, not just for children, but also as design objects for adults.
He was a vegetarian and thought that he'd like to live off his vegetable garden with his family and started Flensted Mobiles to get a little extra on the side - but the company grew a bit bigger than that.
How do you fit into the family business?
My focus for now is sharing our story. The company has such a wonderful fairytale to tell, but my parents have always been very humble, so I've taken it upon myself to brag a little on their behalf.
What do you find special about mobiles?
A mobile brings movement into a home where everything else typically stands still. I believe the combination of movement and balance affects people's lives for the better.
It is amazing how many e-mails we receive, saying our mobiles have brought joy, peace or happiness into a home. I think in many ways it is the same feeling that music gives people.
What materials do you generally use for your mobiles?
We use many including wood, stainless steel, cardboard, aluminium. The possibilities are endless. I am considering introducing new materials and maybe re-introducing some of the materials my grandfather used.
Flensted has a great social responsibility programme, could you share a bit more about this?
My father has organised the production in quite an amazing way. We have 60 homeworkers working for us, who assemble our mobiles by hand. We encourage them to work from home and every two weeks our production manager, Finn, drives around distributing materials to assemble mobiles or picking up the finished items.
My father calculated that this model would save 15 tons of fuel a year. Some of these homeworkers are nurses who work during the night, some are retired and some are disabled in one way or another, which makes them unable to find a regular job.
We also work with Save the Children and Amnesty International. An example is the mobile "Cyclephant" - a percentage of each mobile sold is donated to Save the Children.
Which is your favourite Flensted mobile?
Each has its own unique story and meaning. My favourite varies from day to day and I find that it changes according to what stage I am in in my life. For instance, I never really cared for our mobile "Expecting Mother", but now that I am nearing a time when I want to start a family, I suddenly find it wonderful. I love how our product line is so huge (we now have 200 mobiles in production) that there is a mobile for everyone.
The most interesting place you've seen one of your mobiles hanging?
The Guggenheim Museum in New York is our biggest customer and coming to New York for the first time, seeing our mobiles hanging there, was a special moment. I also love how many movies and series the mobiles have been in.
My grandfather loved going to the cinema, and he jumped off his seat when he went to see Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf and his mobile "Flowing Rhythm" suddenly appeared in the background.
A design tip for our readers?
Buy a mobile and see what it does for your home. Make sure to hang it near a lamp, so you can enjoy its shadows, and in a spot where it won't touch the walls, as it needs to be able to spin.
• See more at flensted-mobiles.com