A huge strength of the northmodern furniture and design fair is that it gives the visitor a really good chance to compare the very different approaches taken by the different designers. Many of the companies exhibiting are small and many are recent start ups and many are producing similar things … chairs, tables, decorative objects in wood. That is not a criticism but in fact just the opposite because what you see is a phenomenal range of styles and different approaches to marketing, packaging and so on which shows clearly the strength and the depth and breadth of the Danish design and production industries.
There is a lively and varied approach to design in Denmark from the novel and experimental through to those companies that want deliberately to build on the traditions of good design and high levels of Danish craftsmanship in their own products.
Inside the boxes for The Donut from Lovewood it says that they have been “produced and designed in Denmark” … by “talented and dedicated furniture artisans with great respect for the Danish design tradition.”
From Hammershøj, about 50 kilometres drive north of Aarhus, Lovewood was launched in 2014. There were three initial products:
- The Donut - a tea light or candle cup - in wood
- cushions that are covered in traditional horse blanket and
- wall clocks with the face in wool fabric or leather and hung from a leather strap.
The Donut is a beautiful, simple piece but very very carefully designed. It fits neatly into the palm of the hand so is tactile - when was the last time you couldn’t resist picking up and cupping in your hands a candlestick? - and by just pushing one finger up through the hole in the centre you can push the tea light up to remove and replace it. There is a clever inner ridge that keeps the tea light centred and clear of the inner sides - a neat subtle touch to the design. Its soft shape shows the grain of the wood well but it also comes in a number of very carefully chosen and mixed colours … at DESIGNTRADE last August Martin Skov explained to me just how much time had been spent on getting the colours right. Similarly with the cushions it is clear that there is not only a love of a traditional Danish cloth but it is combined with real care taken over stitching and finishing.
A major new addition for the northmodern show was a stool with three legs and cross rails in oak and a leather-covered seat in tan or black. As with their other products the stool has a remarkable level of care in both design and production … the seat is gently hollowed and well upholstered and the underside of the seat is also covered with leather … that makes it very pleasant to pick it up and move it … with many stools you look at the underside and you see and feel roughly finished mdf or ply. The mark of a good product is when even the parts that are not immediately obvious are as well finished as the rest of the piece. The legs are interlaced with leather cord … clearly not structural but here a nostalgic reference back to a piece of furniture fondly remembered from childhood where, as you move around the stool, you see an interlocking star that changes with your viewpoint. Many of these types of bar stool can feel too high and unstable and when in plastic very unforgiving on the backside … the stool from Lovewood could not be more comfortable and the tree legs make it inherently more stable if the floor is uneven and the T-shaped cross-bars form a foot rest at the front that is at exactly the right level.