At the start of 3daysofdesign - the Copenhagen event when stores and galleries and design studios have open house - there was an official launch for a new joint venture for the Danish furniture companies Montana and Erik Jørgensen for the opening of their new design studios and show rooms on Bredgade - just beyond Designmuseum Danmark - in the street of top-end design stores, antique dealers, auction houses and galleries.
The partnership or rather their co-habitation will be interesting to follow.
Erik Jørgensen was founded in 1954 by a saddle maker and upholsterer and the company has a well-established reputation for extremely well-made furniture from a back catalogue of important designs by furniture designers of the classic period including Hans Wegner and Poul Volther … Jørgensen manufacture the Ox Chair by Wegner from 1961 and the Corona Chair by Volther that was designed in 1958.
However, Jørgensen have also commissioned contemporary and young designers for important new furniture designs including the Hector and the Bow sofas from Anderssen & Voll and Shuffl from Anne Boysen. Of course these designs make full use of the company’s skills in upholstery … particularly for upholstery over what appear to be difficult or at least unconventional shapes.
These pieces are exceptionally well made and robust so the company is generally seen as a contract design company that is well used by architects, and designers for top-end commercial interiors. A main office and display space out at Nordhavn, at Pakhus 48, will remain but Bredgade is clearly a move into the more domestic side of the furniture market although not into direct retail.
Montana was founded in 1982 and is well known for both their very confident use of strong colours and for their storage systems that are now so extensive that they can be combined for almost any space and any storage needs.
What the two companies have in common is an incredible sense of design self confidence. So this should now be the place to take anyone who tells you that they find Danish interiors too white, too bland for their taste and just too much pale soaped oak.
Montana will keep their retail space at the city-centre end of Bredgade - on the corner of Sankt Annæ Plads - but this second building in Bredgade will be a major venue for their studio and sales staff.
For anyone fascinated by design, but not working in the industry, it is easy to under appreciate just how important commercial sales are to many large design companies so this building is not where you can wander in off the street to buy a chair or a book shelf but is the place for meetings and serious sales and to inspire potential customers with strong shapes in strong and often unconventional arrangements or colours although it seems more than likely that the Bredgade studio will feature as the backdrop in photo shoots.
What makes it interesting to look around studios like this during events like 3daysofdesign is that you begin to get at least some idea of just how important a visually inspiring work environment is for people working in design day in and day out. Owners of good wine shops presumably don’t drink any old super-market plonk in the office and great restaurants presumably don’t expect their senior staff to eat beans on toast so definitely no table tennis here or kids’ slides from one floor to the next.