Reform at northmodern

Reform was set up in 2014 by Michael Andersen, an engineer who was formerly employed at Bjarke Ingels’s architectural firm BIG, and Jeppe Christensen who comes from an education in marketing and economics but also has a background in carpentry and design.

They identified a need for well designed kitchens and a reasonable price point and came up with the idea to use the base or carcase of the IKEA kitchen range but to add customised work tops and drawer and cupboard fronts … customers plan the kitchen they want and order the cabinets from their local IKEA store and the fronts and tops from Reform.


They designed their first Reform make-over kit that they have called Basis (above) with clean, straightforward lines in white with either slot-shaped or round holes for drawer pulls and a very clean, sharp-looking dark green top but the really clever move was to also commission further designs from major Danish architectural firms including BIG, Henning Larsen Architects and Norm Architects and further designs are on the way.



The kitchen from BIG has a slim dark composite top or that can be in plain steel and there is a choice of white or oak for cupboards and drawer fronts with simple but striking handles formed with a loop of black webbing used for car seat belts.

From Henning Larsen Architects the design comes with oak veneer for the top and ends and fronts with either oak and a band of copper or white with a band of steel.



A fiber concrete top for the design from Norm Architects can be combined with either a bronze-like front called Tombac or with sawn oak or a very dark smoked oak that brings out the grain of the wood. As with other work from Norm, the design appears at first to be very sharp and industrial but it is designed to soften and wear in with use. The concrete top shown at northmodern had an integral concrete sink … great style.

Menu Bottle Grinders

This pepper or salt or herb grinder comes from Menu and was designed by Norm, a design studio in Copenhagen that was founded in 2008 by the architects Kasper Rønn and Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen.

Good design usually comes about through one of three approaches: a designer can come up with something completely new ... a new and inspired object for a new function to produce something we didn’t even know we needed ... or a designer can take something we use every day and refine it and improve it and develop the form and construction or, as here with these grinders, designers can take something we take for granted ... surely there are hundreds of pepper grinders in the shops and a pepper grinder is a pepper grinder is a pepper grinder ... and go back to basics and rethink the whole thing.

With the Bottle Grinder you snap apart the two halves to put in the the peppercorns or rock salt or dried herbs or whatever and just snap the grinder back together. Simple. But I’ve never seen it done like this. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve ended up with pepper corns rolling around all over the kitchen work top or the floor as I’ve tried to pour them into a little hole in the bottom of the grinder with it’s silly little cork or rubber bung or tried to feed the corns in around the vertical axle of the mechanism having taken the wooden top off one of those tall wooden grinders where you twist the top and the pepper comes out of the base.

Menu Bottle Grinder.jpeg

With the Bottle Grinder, after you have filled it, you invert it; twist the two halves against each other; adjust the wooden dial in the top if you realise you want something finer or courser, and then you just stand it down. None of that business of pepper clagging up around the base where the work top has got wet and the base of the grinder damp. The finish is soft plastic ... sort of rubberised ... so you can grip the thing easily and clean off finger marks afterwards.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to go back and start the design process by rethinking the whole thing if, like the team at Norm, you want to design a good, practical and stylish product.