northmodern shows clearly how strong and how diverse the furniture industry is in Denmark. Scale, approach, style of product and even preferred materials vary enormously from furniture company to furniture company but also what differs is the business model … particularly the difference between, at one extreme, companies that select design from a number of well-established manufacturers, almost like a curator might, and, at the other, companies that actually commission unique designs from independent furniture designers and work with a number of manufacturers to produce a collection that reflects what aims to be the unique style and the focus of the company.
Hornbak & Co
Hornbak have showrooms in Nordhavn in Copenhagen at Pakhus 48 and represent the Italian company Arper; the German designers and manufacturers Zeitraum; Offecct from Tibro in Sweden and Kasthall who are also Swedish. My assumption here is that they import primarily for the office and commercial market.
FK 6720 and FK91 by Preben Fabricius and Jørgen Kastholm from Lange Production Copenhagen
Based in Hellerup on the northern edge of Copenhagen, Lange Production were established in 2006. They have a carefully curated catalogue of Danish furniture where they have acquired the licence to reintroduce and put into production mid-century classics from the design partnership of Preben Fabricus and Jorgen Kastholm and furniture by Greta Jalk.
Chair by Greta Jalk from Lange
Chair and tables by Greta Jalk - Designmuseum Danmark, Bredegade, Copenhagen
Menu has been described in editorials as a design brand. Several companies like Menu have been established in Denmark over the last 30 or 40 years including Gubi, Normann, Muuto and Hay and there are similar companies in nearby countries including Design House Stockholm and most recently Hem in Germany. The companies vary in organisation so Menu does not have it’s own stores but markets only through selected retailers while Normann has a major store in Copenhagen as does Hay but both retail their products through a large number of furniture and interiors shops. What they all have in common is that they use a number of designers and independent manufacturers to create a distinct catalogue that tries to create a relatively clear brand style.
All the companies produce a number of lights and decorative pieces so it is possible to furnish a Menu room or buy many of the major items of furniture needed to set up a new home. Menu is increasing the number of major pieces of furniture in its catalogue and at northmodern showed the Afternoon Chair by Hung-Ming Chen and Chen-Yen Wei inspired by bentwood chairs from Thonet from the early 20th century but using powder-coated tubular steel.
The Menu web site lists 47 different designers or design studios that have worked with Menu on their products but there is a clear and deliberate Menu style so pieces work well together and in various combinations. One strong characteristic is the use of metal for furniture to create a spare and slightly industrial feel … a new range of three different sizes of table by the Stockholm-based designers Afteroom are said to have been inspired by Bauhaus furniture.
Bottle Grinder by Norm Architects
Corner Shelf and Corner Divider by Kyuhyung Cho
New starkly-simple seating called Godot with an arm chair and two sizes of sofa was designed by Iskos-Berlin and has just been launched and there is an elegant day bed by Anita Johansen, a young Danish designer who graduated in 2012.
Perhaps the strongest partnership for the company is with the Danish architectural practice Norm and new pieces by them shown at northmodern included new versions of the Bottle Grinder in polished or matt steel rather then the soft grey and stone colours of the original plastic versions.
Woud are the new company to add to the group and at northmodern they launched a new catalogue for 2016 with two new chairs. As with Menu they work with a number of designers - the catalogue lists 25 designers and studios - and again, as with the other ‘brand’ companies, they achieve a coherent style through their range of furniture, lighting and accessories.