a special edition of The Egg

my thanks to staff of Fritz Hansen in Valkendorfsgade in Copenhagen for allowing me to photograph the chair and for the time we spent discussing the work of Jacobsen and the designs and colours of the Hallingdal range

 

The Egg in suede at the Copenhagen store but showing clearly the same strong and more sculptural look seen when the chair is covered with leather

To mark the anniversary of The Egg … Arne Jacobsen designed the chair for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen in 1958 … Fritz Hansen have released a special version of the chair covered in the Kvadrat fabric called Hallingdal that was designed by Nanna Ditzel in 1965 … perhaps not as well known or as easily recognised outside Denmark but, like the chair itself, a design classic that has been in continuous production since it was launched. 

In fact, although I can’t know the real figures, there is a very good chance that more people have sat on a chair covered with Hallingdal without realising what they were sitting on than have sat in an Egg chair … in the late 60s and through the 1970s for its well-deserved reputation for being hardwearing and for the range of colours it was the go-to fabric for upholstery for commercial seating for office chairs, chairs for schools, and seating for doctors’ and hospital waiting rooms.

It was a revelation seeing the chair covered in Hallingdal in the showroom of Fritz hansen in Copenhagen. 

Now we tend to know The Egg in the version covered in leather and often see it used as a sort of statement of status, and taking on a bold sculptural quality. Covered in a fabric, particularly in a soft natural colour, it immediately looks more subtle, more discrete, more inviting and comfortable and, curiously, smaller.

Initially, Jacobsen wanted the chairs in the hotel to be covered with leather but for fairly obvious economic reasons had to agree that the chairs used in hotel rooms would be covered in fabric. He designed a relatively heavy fabric in a mix of the deep blue and green shades he often used but also gave it a stronger texture with distinct wavy lines through the weave.

The Hallingdal fabric is actually a bit of a chameleon for it takes on very different characteristics depending on the combination of colours … in natural greys or browns or creams used in combination then it looks like a Harris Tweed but with two contrasting colours for warp and weft it gains a sharp pin or small check pattern that is quite sassy and in strong bold single colours it can look just as powerful and assertive as when the chair is covered with leather.

This shows that even when a form is as bold and as distinctive as The Egg, colour and texture are incredibly important in reinforcing the character of the design or modifying it and toning it down.

note:
I understand this special edition is currently available only in Denmark

Kvadrat

Republic of Fritz Hansen

 

Oak Tree - an exhibition of work by Tina Astrup

 

 Tina Astrup graduated as a textile designer from the Danish Design School but also completed a post-graduate degree in furniture and spatial design.

Inspired by the timber and the colours seen in a local saw mill, where oak was stacked and seasoned, the work shown here is a project that has evolved over four years. She takes large disks of timber - sections of tree trunk - or substantial wedges of oak and baulks of wood and enhances both the pattern of the natural grain that mark the growth of the tree but her process seems also to echo mechanical cuts and saw marks that show how a tree is felled and the trunk cut into planks.

She uses vinegar poured over the timber that has been wound tightly with wire … a process that brings out tannins in the timber and creates slashes of dark colour in a way that echoes the effect when textiles are tie dyed.

 
 
 

This changes the character of the oak to make it darker both in terms of colour and in the sense of being much more dramatic.

We tend to see oak now only after it has been worked - so finely cut and planed and smoothed and pale - and see oak as the ideal wood for wide, hard-wearing floor boards or for strong finely-made furniture.

Along with beech and ash, pale or almost white oak is still a hall-mark if not the hall-mark wood for the modern Scandinavian interior. Through the classic period of modern furniture design, the English even talked about ‘light oak furniture’ to distinguish the look they wanted from the ‘dark’ oak of 19th-century and earlier furniture that was regarded as old fashioned or unfashionable.

But oak trees, in the wood or the forest, can be twisted and gnarled - powerful and impressive - and even disturbing.

The cuts and marks on these pieces by Tina Astrup reconnects us with what is, after all, the force - the almost aggressive force - of chopping down a large tree and cutting it into planks and should take us a step back from the product to the natural material and to the way we work with timber to see new possibilities in how designers could work with and use oak in very different ways.

 

Kunsthåndværkere & Designere
Tina Astrup

the exhibition continues until 28 October 2018
at Officinet - the gallery of Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - Bredgade 66, Copenhagen

 

Helene Vonsild at Frue Plads

 

The textile designer Helene Vonsild was at the market on Frue Plads with a wide selection of the designs that she markets through her company 1+1Design. 

As well as commercial designs for textiles she uses fabrics she designed for Kvadrat to produce a range of cushions and bags. 

A shoulder bag with an adjustable strap in dark grey rubber was interesting because it illustrates well an important aspect of good design that is not discussed enough. 

The straps for the bag, with a series of slots and with notches along each edge, is an industrial product used for tree ties … a robust strap to hold a young sapling against a supporting stake … so strong to prevent the tree moving and snapping in wind but soft so it does not rub the bark of the tree with any movement and adjustable so it can be moved outwards as the tree grows or as a new and thicker stake becomes necessary.

Fixed to the bag with the right size and the right colour of button it could hardly be better for an easily-adjusted shoulder strap. This is a designer using ingenuity ... seeing an existing product in a new way for new uses or identifying a problem and finding the best way to come up with a solution.

1+1Design

Lives & Works in Fiskars ..... an event for June at Design Werck in Copenhagen

 

 

On Thursday evening there was the launch of a special event at Design Werck.

In partnership with ONOMA - the Cooperative of Artisans, Designers and Artists in Fiskars - Design Werck will show furniture, art, textiles, graphics; ceramic works and glass made in the historic village that is 80 kilometres west of Helsinki in Finland.

Founded in 1996, the association now represents 117 members. Twenty members of the cooperative will be showing their work here in Copenhagen and the exhibition, with works for sale, will continue through until 30th June.

Design Werck, Krudtløbsvej 12, Copenhagen K

 

 
 

Artists, designers and makers showing their work:

  • Heikki Aska, cabinet maker
  • Marko Escartin, wood worker
  • Antrei Hartikainen, cabinet maker
  • Lulu Halme, graphic designer
  • Sonja Tuulia Halttunen, graphic designer
  • Elina Makkonen, goldsmith
  • Olli Kari, muscician
  • Petri Koivusipilä, cabinet maker
  • Minja Kolehainenen, cabinet maker
  • Ivan Kulvik, cabinet maker
  • Camilla Moberg, industrial and glass designer
  • Piitu Nykopp, visual artist
  • Deepa Panchamia, textile artist
  • Katja Öhrnberg, visual artist
  • Ari Turunen, jewellery smith
  • Arto Vuohelainen, photographer
  • Karin Widnäs, ceramist
  • Tuulia Penttilä, cabinet maker
  • Matti Söderkultalahti, cabinet maker
 

food for the opening event was by Restaurant Kuparipaja in Fiskars and iced cider, gin and akvavit was from the Ägräs Distillery in Fiskars

 

Woven Lines

 

An exhibition of the latest work by the textile designer Helene Vonsild has just opened at the craft and designers gallery - Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - in Copenhagen. This is an intriguing and very beautiful and elegant exhibition that is a development of the techniques and the ideas shown by Helene last May when the work Human Textile Object was selected for Liquid Life … The Biennale for Craft & Design.

 

 

K&D - Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - Bredgade 66, 1260 Copenhagen K

the exhibition continues until 8 April 2018

I am Black Velvet

 

This is the last week to see the exhibition of the work of Erik Mortensen at Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen. I am Black velvet shows the haute couture designs for Pierre Balmain and Jean Louis Scherrer from 1982 through to 1995. 

I am Black Velvet, Designmuseum Danmark

the exhibition continues until 18th March 2018

I RUM - by Anja M Larsen

 

 

Laser-cut textiles ... an exhibition of designs by Anja Merete Larsen … studies in aesthetics and acoustics

"Where is the line between public and private? Can we change people's habits by repositioning a wall, pull a curtain or turning a door? It has great value for both employers and individuals to create confidence-inspiring space.

There is currently much debate about creating work environments that can suit both introverted and extroverted personality types. Environments where people can find peace, energy and focus. What is the optimum for an effective workplace? I think this is an interesting discussion to take up."

 

Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - Officinet, Bredgade 66, Copenhagen

3rd - 18th February 2018

 

BlackStar 1-180

 

Vibeke Rohland, the Copenhagen textile artist and designer, has just published a major book on her print series BlackStar 1-180 with studies exploring the theme of her signature design of the plus sign over-layed.

BlackStar 1-180 is available for purchase on line and from the bookshop at Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen, Cinnabar in Copenhagen and the design store Stilleben

 

Vibeke Rohland

Venterum at Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere

 

 

An exhibition of the work of the ceramicist Kirsten Holm Nielsen, the textile artist Birgit Daa Birkkjær and the paper artist Jette Nørregaard under the title Venterum or Waiting Room inspired by the building which was the pharmacy of the hospital.

Kirsten Holm Nielsen

Birgit Daa Birkkjær

Jette Nørregaard

the exhibition continues until 24 September at Officinet, Bredgade 66, København K

 

 

Yamanashi Hemslöjd at designmuseum danmark

 

 

An exhibition of weaving, embroidery and knitting at designmuseum danmark … the work of Mikiko Yamanashi and of Yamanashi Hemslöjd, the school of weaving, that she opened in the Swedish Cultural Centre in Tokyo in 1971. The exhibition is one of the events that have been organised in Copenhagen to mark the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the formal diplomatic relationship between Denmark and Japan.  

from 5th September, and continuing through until Sunday 10th September

 

Kunsthåndværkermarked - first day

 

 

Today was the first day of the major annual craft market at Frue Plads in Copenhagen - Kunsthåndværkermarked - with ceramics, glassware, jewellery and textiles. Organised by the members of the association of Danish crafts - Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - the market continues on Friday and Saturday 11th and 12th August. 

 

an “Adidas Original”

publicity photographs from Adidas/Kvadrat and pen portrait from Designmuseum Danmark

 

 

… or should that be an Adidas / Kvadrat collaboration with a Stan Smith classic and a Vibeke Rohland original?

Vibeke Rohland, the Copenhagen artist, designed the fabric in 2005 and Squares has been in production by the Danish textile company Kvadrat since 2008 and is available in ten colour ways.

The collaboration between Kvadrat and Adidas was so top secret that even Vibeke was kept out of the loop until the first publicity came out this month. Her reaction? “Cool” Had she no idea at all … well there had been a very weird phone call from the design department at Kvadrat back in February asking what size shoe she wears … it did seem odd for any sort of company publicity material but then she forgot all about it.

Adidas missed a publicity trick as Vibeke can regularly be seen running … and I do mean running … up the harbour from her studio to Toldbod and beyond.

Maybe these sport shoes wouldn’t get past the Wimbledon white-only dress code but for anywhere else they sure beat plain canvas.

The shoes will be available from early July in three different colour ways.

Vibeke Rohland

Squares from Kvadrat

I am Black Velvet - Erik Mortensen - Haute Couture

 

 

The Danish designer Erik Mortensen was born in Frederikshavn in 1926 and studied in Copenhagen as an apprentice to the fashion designer Holger Blom before moving to Paris when he was just 22 years old - to the House of Pierre Balmain - first as a student and then from 1951 as an assistant to Balmain. After the death of Balmain in 1982, Mortensen was appointed head designer of the fashion house.

He left Pierre Balmain in 1990 and from 1992 was head of design for Jean Louis Scherrer. 

More than seventy of the works that Mortensen created in Paris are shown in I am Black Velvet - a major exhibition at Designmuseum Danmark.

I can not claim to have any real interest in fashion and I do find the extravagance and ostentation of haute couture not just slightly alien but actually rather disconcerting … my inner puritan starts to come out … but even I have to admit that the quality and craftsmanship in these outfits is outstanding and the complexity of the shapes and silhouettes and the incredible richness of the colours is certainly dramatic.

 

I am Black Velvet at Designmuseum Danmark until 28th January 2018

 

3daysofdesign at Frederiksgade 1

 

working drawings shown by Overgaard & Dyrman along with many of the tools that they use to make their metal and leather chairs

 

The large apartment building at Frederiksgade 1 is close to the Marble Church and has been hemmed in by engineering works for the new metro station so for several years the front entrance has been reduced to a sort of narrow alley fenced across by high dark-green hoardings and has had a ‘temporary’ wooden ramp over the front stone steps. 

But this building is home to an amazing group of design companies. In fact it connects through to the furniture store nyt i bo that is sort of across the courtyard at Store Kongensgade 88 … sort of because at upper levels all the apartment spaces, all round the courtyard and above nyt i bo, are occupied by design companies. For design in Copenhagen it is - to use a word I hate using - a hub.

Here there are offices or studios or display space for House of Finn Juhl, File Under Pop, Helle Flou, Overgaard & Dyrman, PLEASE WAIT to be SEATED, Vibeke Fonnesberg Schmidt and others … and, of course, across the top of the whole thing, Getama.

For 3daysofdesign nyt i bo hosted a number of pop-up displays and demonstrations by companies including dk3 and Sika-Design.

One of the entries in the programme for 3daysofdesign describe the place as a “creative society” and packed out with visitors on the first evening I guess that is a much better description of the place than as a hub.

 
 

Weaving Kiosk at Frederiksgade

 

 

Weaving Kiosk had set up a loom at Frederiksgade and showed some of the work they produce.

Rosa Tolnov Claussen and the Finnish fashion designer Merja Henele Ulvinen work together to run a series of weaving classes that introduce the craft skill to people who have not woven textiles before and they have designed pieces, like a backpack/bag, that students taking the classes can produce and take away with them … both the bags shown here were on loan from the new weavers who made them.

This is not about a nice hobby for weekends - though it could certainly be that - but neither is it about some sort of extreme political angst about people taking back the means of production. 

But it seems to me that important initiatives like this are about making people aware of a strong tradition of making by hand the objects we need and use everyday. And by making design less about consumerism or passive search and buy - unless you define activity as swiping a finger across the screen of a phone or iPad - and certainly more about understanding materials and appreciating how things we use are made and understanding how it is possible to find good design that we like and good design that should - even if it is in a simple way - enhance our lives every time we use what we have.  

And it seems to me that having makers, craftsmen and designers, working in the community rather than out on an industrial estate or in an open-air museum - should inspire us and inspire our kids to be fascinated by designing and making and producing so they understand much more about what they are buying. If children don’t see a work bench, how do they know they could one day be a cabinet maker and if they don’t see a potter at a wheel how do they understand how, by stages through our history, people have found ways to make wet clay into useful or beautiful pots or pots that are actually both useful and beautiful. Without handling yarn and making textiles how do we understand the different characteristics of linen or cotton or wool and how can we really appreciate the different textiles we buy? 

Weaving Kiosk

 
 

Kvadrat for 3daysofdesign

 

Kvadrat are an interesting design company in terms of branding. Even if you ask people in Denmark who are outside the world of design - and they do exist - most know the name and the fabrics. In England I’m not sure that anyone, outside the business of making or selling furniture, would be able to name the company and not always then or, if given the name, would be able to say what they make which is interesting because nearly every backside in the UK will have sat on a Kvadrat fabric.

At 3daysofdesign, the company made an appearance in many different events throughout the city so the new range designed by Raf Simons was shown at the furniture store Paustian in Nordhavn and featured at Fredericia in the city centre.

At Pakhus 48, Kvadrat’s own showrooms in Nordhavn, there were amazing and fascinating masks designed by GamFratesi using fabric designed by Giulio Ridolfo.

Kvadrat

Paustian, Kalkbrænderiløbskaj 2

upholstery fabrics by Raf Simons shown at Fredericia

 
 

Really at Kvadrat

 

Sometimes you come across a design or a product that had not been on the radar - but it stops you in your tracks. It's like driving along a road and suddenly there is an amazing view and you can’t help yourself and just go wow.

Well it was a bit like that on seeing Really at Kvadrat at Klubiensvej in Nordhavn on Thursday.

In part, this was because I had seen nothing on the internet about Really so, for once, this was the impact of something that appeared to be very new and came out of the blue ........ or maybe it just shows that I’m not going through the design magazines with enough care or attention because Really was shown in Milan.

Probably the best way to start is to quote the introduction in a catalogue from Really:

“Responding to the urgent global issue of waste, Really upcycles textiles to create materials that challenge the design and architectural industries to rethink their use of resources and to design their products with a circular economy in mind.”

 
 

 

The result is new Acoustic Textile Felt and Solid Textile Board - a new building board. These are made from end-of-life textiles - for instance, worn-out bedding from large laundry companies - and the process does not use toxic chemicals or water or dyes. At the end of their own useful life the felt and boards can be “re-granulated” to feed the start of a new product so hence that concept of circular design.

Solid Boards come in different gauges and can be cut and put together for furniture with many of the same techniques as plywood. Thicker boards even have the same impression of layers as plywood with white cotton used for the core layer and coloured outer layers in Cotton White, Cotton Blue, Wool Slate and Wool Natural and that can be more obvious when several thinner layers are combined to form a heavier or thicker gauge of  board ... for instance for table tops. 

Boards can be cut, drilled or milled, sanded and planed, laser cut and glued. Surface treatments are also similar to the finishes for plywood with lacquer, oil or wax.

In the display at Kvadrat, a number of bold benches and tables designed by Max Lamb were shown along with a mood board collection of samples and ideas that, in a good way, reminded me of lino cutting … not the prints but the tangible qualities of the linoleum itself with all the various options you have for depth and sharpness of cut that reveal the layers down from the smooth matt surface and also because the boards themselves have some of that warmth and softness of colour that is a distinct characteristic of simple linoleum.

reallycph.com