Sofa J149 by Erik Ole Jørgensen from 1978 and table by Poul Volther designed in 1951
On the 1st September FDB Møbler opened a new furniture store in Lyngby - a quiet and prosperous suburb of Copenhagen some 12 kilometres north of the centre of the city. The opening seems to have been relatively modest - no great fanfares and little in the press - but this could mark a very important shift in the furniture market in Denmark and beyond.
FDB Møbler are part of the COOP and the company was important through the 1950s and into the 1960s for producing reasonably priced but well-made furniture that was designed by some of the most famous designers then working in Denmark including Poul Volther, Ejvind Johannsson, Erik Ole Jørgensen, Mogens Koch, Jørgen Bækmark, and Børge Mogensen.
More recently Johannes Foersom and Peter Hiort-Lorenzen and Thomas Alken have designed furniture for the company although until now it has been marketed under the parent brand of the Coop.
Many of the famous pieces from the 50s and 60s are being made again and under the banner Tradition of design at democratic prices.
Relaunched in 2013, still under the Coop brand, the first pieces sold well … in fact it is said that they sold in a couple of months what the company had planned to sell in a year … and presumably that encouraged them to relaunch more designs and to open the store.
The quality of the products is high and the careful choice of new colours and finishes - natural wood with matt oil or strong pastels or deep colours, again with a matt finish - have been chosen to be more appropriate for contemporary taste.
J46 designed in 1956 by Poul Volther
J52 designed by Børge Mogensen in 1950
J149 and J146 by Erik Ole Jørgensen
J81 by Jørgen Baekmark
J48 designed in 1951 by Poul Volther
Mikado chair from 1996 by Johannes Foersom + Peter Hiort-Lorenzen
Household items by Ole Palsby and Grethe Meyer are being produced under the Enkel label of the Coop and are available in some of the supermarkets in the group but all are sold on line through the Coop site.
It will be interesting to see if and how this is all rationalised in terms of marketing and it will be fascinating to see if new designs are commissioned.
IKEA have clearly become very popular for their competitive/low prices and, in part because of their success, they seem to have split the market so some design companies have had to try and compete at or close to the IKEA price level and some major Danish furniture companies have moved, in part, to the premium end of the market so it will be very interesting to see if FDB can march into the gap and claim the middle ground.
With my grasp of Danish being so shaky - to put it mildly - I’m struggling to sort out the history of FDB or Fællesforeningen for Danmarks Brugsforeninger … Association for Danish Consumer Associations.
Basically the association of cooperatives dates back to 1884 when the first cooperative was formed in Zealand and various co-operative groups have joined, changed names and then acquired or developed other businesses so the group now includes the Danish supermarket chains Super Brugsen, Fakta and Irma and since 2001 everything has come under a holding company called Coop Denmark although that larger holding has united with NKL in Norway and KF in Sweden as Coop Norden.
FDB Møbler, Klampenborgvej 248, 2800 Kongens Lyngby