Elephant Chair designed for NORR11 by Kristian Sofus Hansen and manufactured by Kvist Industries
For 3daysofdesign, Træ- og møbelindustrien or the Association of Danish Wood and Furniture Industries took over the main rooms on the street frontage of Moltkes Palæ on Bredgade in the centre of Copenhagen.
It was good to see the work of the serious side of the furniture industry with stands here representing the work of Cane-line; HUBE, Kvist Industries, Magnus Olesen, Møbelsnedkeri Kjeldtoft; PP Møbler; Skovby Møbler; Re Nature Beds; Republic of Fritz Hansen and WON. This was the crucial but, shall we say, the less hyped and primped up part of the industry.
As some of the style journalists or bloggers rush from venue to venue taking square pictures of the amazing plates of finger food and grab another glass of booze, they might do well to remember that these are the factories that make the furniture that sits under the label. That's not to say this was all about fork-lift trucks and export paperwork … it was styled by the design studio All the Way to Paris and certainly did not look like a trade show … but what was shown very clearly was exactly the same passion and enthusiasm for design and for high-quality production that is the hall mark of the Danish furniture industry as it developed through the 1950s.
NO1 - new chair from Fritz Hansen designed by Nendo
Fritz Hansen were here but with a simple stand that just showed the chair they have just launched - Chair NO1 by the designer Nendo. This is an interesting chair that has a beautiful and very elegant curved seat and plain curved back in laminated wood on a relatively traditional frame in turned and joined wood that, in terms of style, is a hybrid of traditional Japanese and Danish forms. This was not a display for the glamour life-style magazines but appropriately something to show to fellow manufacturers.
PP Møbler showed a desk by Wegner and an office chair - the 502 - designed by Hans Wegner. They did not need to show more … every manufacturer here would know the catalogue of PP Møbler … but again it was all about meeting fellow professionals for what is in part a social event and in part a way of entertaining established clients and a venue for making new business contacts. Even if you are only slightly interested in the workings of what is behind the branded stores this is fascinating.
PP Møbler is not a furniture factory but are still a major workshop of cabinetmakers. They have to be commercially astute to survive but, for them, a core element is maintaining the system of training and apprenticeships … after all, the life-blood of the Danish industry.
That's not to suggest that the other companies are production-line factories and there is a fascinating symbiotic relationship between these manufacturers, the design companies they serve; established designers, working either in house or working independently; and the young designers and the young furniture makers coming up through the system.
Talking to the representative from Kvist, I was asking about the Elephant chair that they manufacture for the design company NORR11, when the team from NORR11 arrived and there was a brief opportunity to talk to Kristian Sofus Hansen who designed the chair. I hope to be able to do a longer profile on this chair which could be a place to discuss how a design evolves and to explore that crucial relationship between designer, design company and manufacturer.