Jakob Berg (1958–2008) was inspired by all the shapes that caught his eye. Design was always a natural part of him. His basic idea about ergonomic shapes and his choice of materials were to a great extent determined by his social reflection and all-embracing attitude to life.
He was born in Roskilde, Denmark in 1958 and qualified as an industrial design from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1987. Shapes and ideas were always in Jakob Berg’s thoughts, and new projects always lay on the drawing board. From the outset in the 1990s, he cooperated with a number of Danish and international companies and received several distinctions for his work. He furthermore carried out furniture projects with Dania in Bolivia, Egypt and Vietnam. He was a ‘wood’ man with a consistent and clear preference for creating furniture out of wood that had elegant, functional and simple forms. Although he preferred his summer cottage in Kikhavn, Denmark,with its fascinating view across the Kattegat in all weathers, he travelled both far and frequently to participate in the actual realisation of his designs. For Jakob Berg, beauty was essential and in his opinion ‘Without beauty no human being lives for a second’.
A creative and artistic soul with a preference for the nostalgic. That describes Uffe Berg, who has been involved in art and design all his life and who seeks to add practical and beautiful works to everyday life.
He was born in Aarhus, Denmark, and has been an independent artist for many years. On several occasions his paintings and sculptures have been included in adjudicated exhibitions such as The Artists’ Autumn Exhibition in Copenhagen and The Artists’ Spring Exhibition in Aarhus. Uffe Berg seeks to blend the artistic and aesthetic with the practical. In that way, things function optimally in everyday life and are also beautiful to look at. And if a touch of nostalgia can also be added to the things he creates, it just adds an extra dimension that makes the final product even more exciting. His home is his favourite place, and he gains inspiration from being in nature. As an artist and designer at one and the same time, he does not prefer any one material to another, he just loves to work with all types of material that can be shaped and formed.
Collections: Cobbler Stool
If you do not always understand Monique's designs at first glance, do not get weary. Her functionalistic works that draws on industrialism and futurism simply takes a little longer than normal to get an overall impression of.
Born and raised in in the southern part of the Danish peninsula Jutland, Monique has always felt quite Danish. But lately she has discovered that her Italian roots are present and influential in everything from sources of inspiration and choices of materials to the very final expressions of her objects.
Monique graduated in Furniture and interior design from TEKO Design and Business School. Already two years before she had her final diploma, she set up her own design studio to generate new ideas and projects from all her theoretical knowledge.
According to Monique, design can easily be sculptural and aesthetic while at the same time also realizing its core function to its fullest. If design is done in the right way - fulfilling the right functions - one can actually get used to living a life with very few elements at home. In that case, the few elements you have left ought to live up the whole room and spaces. This is why Monique's focus is aimed at finding the right balance between aesthetics and function. Design should inevitably create a strong tie to its users, so it stays relevant throughout a whole lifetime.
Design should be simple, obvious and without any feeling of self-exaltation - and then it ought to include a humane touch. Based on this belief, Line seeks to develop new projects and objects that puts functionality into the forefront, and she loves to challenge herself combining new materials and styles.
Line was born and raised in a little city called Otterup located on the northern part of Funen, the second largest island of Denmark. She got her degree in furniture design from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2007 and has been exhibiting at grand design scenes such as the Cabinetmakers' Autumn Exhibition, Milano Design Week, Stockholm Furniture Fair, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Galerie Maria Wettergren in Paris.
Wooden materials are without doubt Line's preferred choice for designing, but she stays open to contest her own comfort-zone and try out new material combinations. Her approach is workshop based, which allows her to re-develop her creations during throughout the whole process. The scrutiny of prototypes should never be underestimated, and perseverance do pay off in the long run if you ask Line.
Functionality is as widespread and dynamic concept, that never stands still. When societies develop - basic needs and ways of doing things change as well. To make sure that her projects stay relevant in real life, Line finds it helpful and inspiring to follow these societal changes and how different communities solve the same challenges in various ways.
With the Scandinavian design tradition as point of departure, they combine the traditional with modern, minimalist tendencies. Designit creates easy-to-grasp designs that surprise at first glance and in use produce a joy of recognition.
It all started with the opening of a small office in Aarhus, Denmark, back in 1991, but today they are a multi-disciplinary design team covering a range of 30 different competencies. During more than 20 years, they have grown larger and worked with design and innovation gaining inspiration from peoples’ daily lives. They describe themselves as an innovative design team, with the world as their workplace. For even though their roots are deep in the Danish soil, their mind-set is European and their range global. No matter the time or place, Designit solves real problems for real people. For if it was not for them, things would not be designed by Designit. ‘We are Designit’ has both breadth and depth. And it paves the way for a future that is even better and even more creatively productive for both customers and their customers the world over.
Collections: Bollard Lamp
Form does not follow function. Form and function go together. That is how Povl B. Eskildsen describes the essence of designing. And he is a man who knows what he’s talking about, for he has created a long line of strong designs for both Danish and international companies.
He was born in Jebjerg, Denmark, close to the Limfjord and qualified as an architect from the School of Architecture in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1986. Since then he has worked as an independent designer on creating designs that reflect the present-day age and lifestyle. And he continues to do so, with great success, from his design studio in the heart of Aarhus. Despite the fact that portraits of him appear in American magazines at regular intervals, he prefers an everyday life away from the public at large. Wood and texture are top of his list of favourite materials, and he describes himself as a practical person with a sense of graphics. And although it is on his travels that he finds his inspiration, he is in no doubt that his favourite place in the world is Florence. Povl B. Eskildsen is a man who likes what he is doing, and therefore also envisages himself continuing to do so far into the future
Collections: Riviera Lounge
Chris L. Halstrom
With a Swedish mother and Danish father Chris Liljenberg Halstrøm shows her Nordic roots in her designs through a minimalistic approach and strong combinations of materials like wood, leather and wool. Function is her starting point and dictates the idiom of her beautiful designs.
She was born in Glostrup, Denmark, and graduated from The Royal Danish Academy, School of Design, in Copenhagen, where she also today lives, manage her own studio, and organize/ take part in Danish and international exhibitions. She prefers the materials of wood, wool and steel, and despite loving to experience the world, her home is her favourite place in the whole world. Chris Liljenberg Halstrøm is a curious and investigative woman. And it is in the investigation that she finds her biggest inspiration – an investigation of all possible angles of a design that draws her and broadens her perspective on the design process. Besides this, she is deeply fascinated by traditional Japanese architecture and design which focuses on the core function of the design. And because of this, it is no surprise that Chris Liljenberg Halstrøm challenges new alternative core functions of a future design when she is immerse in a new design project. Photo: Andreas Omvik.
He is a ‘wood’ man through and through, and has a passion for furniture design that it is hard to match. After many years of designing furniture of wood, Mogens Holmriis’ love of its properties and aesthetic potential still continues to grow.
This passionate ‘wood’ man was born in Bjerringbro, Denmark in 1955, qualified as a cabinetmaker in 1974 and as an architect from the School of Architecture in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1985. As head of design at Skagerak he left a strong imprint on a whole string of popular furniture designs. Mogens Holmriis has always had a love of wood and a capacity to gain inspiration from the diversity of life. And a love of both wood and diversity are well to the fore in his two shops in Aarhus and Ebletoft, Denmark. The shops named Huset Holmriis are his absolute favourite places to be. Here he does what he has loved doing for many years and still loves – advises and guides customers about designs. For talking with people about quality designs is where Mogens Holmriis is really on his home pitch. It is here things combine to form a harmonious whole, and he can enthuse about products of a such high quality and values that they can be used for generations.
He creates clear, precise expressions that place the user centre stage. And his designs are based on a deep-felt wish that one must be entranced and fall in love. And that both emotions grow as time passes. Niels Hvass is an idealist with sincerity as a key value.
He was born in Nykøbing Mors, Denmark, in 1958 and qualified as a furniture designer from the Danish School of Design in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1987. Together with Christina Strand, he has run the design studio Strand + Hvass since 1991. But his impressive career also includes teaching at the Danish School of Design, membership of the grants committee and board of the Danish Arts Foundation, exhibitions at the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition, etc. He grew up by the shores of the Limfjord, so the sea has always been an element that both attracts and inspires him. Niels Hvass believes in keeping things simple, and he would rather explore each material in its right context than prefer one particular material to any other. For it is in working with the materials that his inspiration grows, and ideas become reality. And there is no shortage of ideas. So far into the future he will be busy realising new visions and designs – pioneer figure that he is.
Take a furniture designer and a textile designer. Place them in the same room and ask them to define a project. That is more or less how the new duo Included Middle began their collaboration. Neither of the two established designers was looking for a new partner. But what none of them knew then was that the third space between their two professional fields was to form a new inspiring basis for design. "Because we come from separate professional areas, it is our dogma that both areas should be present in our products. Form, function, pattern and colors affect each other mutually when we work, and as Included Middle we almost become a third person, who creates objects based on all four parameters."
Included Middle are especially interested in the relationship between user and object. In their minds, interaction and communication are at least as important as form, function and aesthetic in a furniture design. And this gap is precisely what forms Included Middle’s new creative framework. A gap between two designers, two areas of expertise and two curious individuals, whose collaboration defines an intersection of knowledge, skills and experiments that find their place in the duo's new approach. An approach that is clearly in constant development, as ideas are tested and translated into objects, all with a unique sensuous dimension that makes you want to reach out, touch and use them. Which is exactly what the two designers intended.
A Japanese upbringing, a university degree in Living Space Design from Nihon University and four years as a cabinetmaker at Hinoki Kougei Ltd. – one does not immediately associate Akiko Kuwahata with a Nordic designer, but her role in the category is clear.
Apart from having been a visiting student at the School of Architecture in Aarhus, Denmark and worked at, among others, Hans Thyge & Co. (formerly RKDO) and Cecilie Manz, Akiko resides in Denmark, runs the design studio Akiko, with inspiration from old Japanese handicraft and with a Scandinavian formal idiom. And then she has a growing number of Danish exhibitions behind her. So although Akiko – as her name clearly reveals – is from Japan, her designs combine old Japanese handicraft with minimalist Scandinavian design. So it is not surprising that she prefers a natural material like wood, and explores its facets by working with it in her hands rather than using large machinery. The direct contact with the material is an approach to the design process that brings a smile to Akiko’s lips – an approach she feels sure she will go on preferring far into the future.
Collections: Akiko Petanque
Mia Lagerman (previously Gammelgaard) has an established position in the European design scene, where the Swedish-Danish designer has worked with some of the leading brands throughout for the past 20 years. The Danish Swede, who has lived in Copenhagen since 1993, but was born, raised and trained in both Stockholm and Copenhagen, is a true Scandinavian at heart, with a strong belief in quality, functionality and aesthetic. This trinity of values drives her work at her Copenhagen studio where she creates a wide range of products, from sanitation and furniture to lamps and product design. As a designer, Mia Lagerman sees her continuous development process - from idea generation over production to the end-result - as a journey towards the best solution, where the dialogue with project partners and the development of innovative methods are vital aspects.
Mia Lagerman's status as a designer is further illustrated by the invitation she received to take part in the 2011 competition to decorate the Finn Juhl Hall in the UN building in New York. Mia was one of five designers selected to rethink the interior design and design new furniture for the room. The following year, Mia Lagerman was elected chairman of the Cabinetmakers' Autumn Exhibition, an experimenting platform with an annual event where young and established designers and architects create innovative new furniture designs in tandem with manufacturers. The Danish-Swedish designer's refusal to sit back and rest on the laurels of past successes is also evident in her recently acquired master's degree from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen.
Ditte Buus Nielsen
That thing you have always needed. An overlooked object at a flea market that sparks your imagination. An interesting function that can be incorporated into alternative contexts. As a designer, Ditte Buus Nielsen is inspired by this sort of scenarios, and as design director for Skagerak, she is also used to seeing things from the other side of the desk. This unique position gives her insight into the entire process, and she is well aware that dialogue and cooperation are the recipe for the best products. "As a designer, I prefer to work with the products from start to finish, preferably in close cooperation with the companies, so that my ideas are heard, and the resulting product represents the optimal outcome for both parties."
Ditte Buus Nielsen has an MSc in industrial design from Aalborg University, and her whole life she has loved developing ideas and creating things. Along with the functional aspect, simple expressions that are drafted on paper and translated into miniature mock-ups are what trigger Ditte's creative mind. Wood and metal are some of Ditte Buus Nielsen's preferred materials, and the subtle designer has a practical approach to her profession that is firmly rooted in rational factors and holistic processes with everyday life and design history as two parallel paradigms and key sources of inspiration - along with the ambition of one day designing the perfect chair.
Even the smallest thoughts, incidents or trends can become something big one day. But no matter the scale of a project, usability, detailing and good craftsmanship should always be paramount in the design.
Noidoi Design Studio came to life in 2013 after two ambitious designers collided at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design and decided to joined forces to live out their shared dream of creating objects with personality and a long life-span.
Noidoi is Romanian and means "the two of us". The name refers to the two bright heads behind the design studio, Cosmin who was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania, and Kathrine, who spend most of her childhood in Gjovik, Norway, and two years in Sri Lanka as well. Today, the two of them are located in the little town of Kapp, which is right next to Norway's biggest lake and surrounded by all the classical virtues of Scandinavian nature.
In 2014, Noidoi Design Studio received the "young talents" award from the Norwegian Design Council, and they have already been exhibiting on grand design scenes in Stockholm, London, Milano, New York and Romania. As a design studio and duo, Noidoi keeps an open mind to new challenges and materials when designing. Their inspiration emanates from new trends in society such as urbanization and the need for smarter and more flexible solutions as spaces grow smaller and natural resources become more scarce
Jens Quistgaard (1919–2008) was an excellent designer. During his career he created designs that during the 1950s and 1960s became synonymous with Scandinavian Modern, and found their way to trade fairs, exhibitions and homes around the world.
He was born into an artistic home in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1919. As a boy, he was deeply interested in drawing and ceramics, and as a youth he became an apprentice in his father’s sculptor’s studio. Later, he became an apprentice under Georg Jensen and developed from being a draughtsman and relief-maker to being a sculptural designer. Despite his incredible productivity at Danish Design, he always retained the idea of designing on the basis of his own ways and of modelling by hand before a design was put into production. In all aspects of his wide-ranging life’s work he approached an assignment with a new design from the perspective of a sculptor. His designs have always been characterised by a consistent preference – and respect – for the craft traditions he got to know so well as a young man. Jens Quistgaard produced a great number of designs – more than 4000 for Danish Design – but never compromised when it came to sculptural form and natural materials having to go hand in hand.
Soren Refsgaard is focused on the details, because this is where superior design stands out from the merely mediocre. This is where skills, materials and the holistic approach become evident. Where one can enjoy a surface or a perfectly executed finish or see how a single component matches the larger whole. Because the holistic expression is Soren Refsgaard's maxim and the quality he aims to capture in his designs, where nothing is left to chance, and every element, detail and construction principle has its reason.
Soren Refsgaard is a follower of the Scandinavian design tradition, where form, function and Scandinavian materials are applied to tasks and aesthetic. Very appropriately, his clients include both Danish and Japanese brands, based on the obvious kinship between Scandinavia and Japan, with care and quality as a shared foundation. New ideas emerge all the time, storing themselves in the Danish designer's subconscious for later recall when they are triggered by the right task, energy or other key factor. Perhaps a detail from one project winds up the core idea in another. Perhaps a mood or the outline of an idea suddenly unfolds its full potential. And sometimes it is simply a matter of hard work, testing one idea after another before finally arriving at the best result. As part of a larger whole.
There is quite literally a world of difference between life on the West Indian islands and in Denmark. Nevertheless, Douglas Ross crossed the Atlantic many years ago in search of a new life in the northern hemisphere with plenty of new horizons.
He was born under distant skies in St. Johns on the West Indian island of Antigua, but has lived in Denmark for many years. ‘Chequered’ is the word he uses to describe a long career as, among other things, a self-taught carpenter, joiner and designer. And a flair for auto-didacticism is essential for Douglas Ross, who has a deep-down urge to learn by doing. He is still learning. And still doing. Because he is persistent and because he is still just as hungry to learn new things as he always has been. For life offers great potential for staying hungry and staying foolish, as Steve Jobs’ well-known quotation underlines. His favourite material is wood, and he gains inspiration from exploring wood’s many possibilities. Although he finds both tranquillity and joy near the Swedish lake Vättern, he envisages a future in which he can always be close to his workshop. To learn and to create.
Collections: Folding Trivet
Life is his greatest source of inspiration and the Troll Church near Nibe, Denmark his favourite place. And he believes it is easier to treat people with courtesy than the opposite. Bernt Santesson was born in Aalborg, Denmark and is a North Jutlander in the best sense of the word. Painstaking, calm and friendly.
He is a qualified lithographic draughtsman and graphic designer, and today runs the Santesson Graphic Design Studio in Aalborg. Apart from this, he has a long career behind him at various advertising agencies in Danish cities like Copenhagen, Herning and Aalborg. With this background one might initially think that Bernt Santesson would prefer paper to any other material, but it is only one of his three favourites: Wood, paper and stone. Fortunately. For his design of the cross-back garden bench in wood has over the years helped define Danish quality garden furniture design as we know it today. The inspiration for the bench comes from the historical Danish poet and painter Holger Drachmann’s house in Skagen, Denmark, and Santesson’s re-interpretation of it has become a quintessential symbol of Danish summer and pleasurable hours in the garden.
TAF is an architecture studio. TAF is a graphic zoom on the family name Gustafson. TAF is French slang for work. TAF is Mattias Stahlbom and Gabriella Gustafson, who founded the firm shortly after their graduation from the master's program in interior and furniture design at Konstfack - University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. For 13 years, the duo has created an impressive catalogue of modern Scandinavian classics in lighting, furniture and interiors, and today the company is one of Scandinavia's most successful. Because TAF is diligent. Competent. Receptive. Asked about the duo's main source of inspiration, the answer is, "Our real inspiration is our collaboration with the manufacturers, because good teamwork produces a great result - and because groups are often more interesting than individuals."
TAF thus takes a humble approach to its profession, which involves viewing all projects as architecture on different scales and following an approach driven by logic, analysis, discussion and reflections on form. TAF's studio is located in a former bakery in the Sodermalm district in Stockholm, and the two designers base their work on similarly down-to-earth and socially oriented values, integrating design in society to give it the same essential and social role as the daily bread. Quality is another of TAF's core values - quality in design, materials and concept. A little like bread, which is most delicious and nutritional if it is based on just those ingredients.
Hans Thyge Raunkjær, Jens Nørgaard, Søren Stellfeld, Ivan Fusgaard, Sine Raunkjær and Peter Pilgaard make up the design team Hans Thyge & Co. Most of them are based in East Jutland, Denmark but their work extends far out into the international design scene.
Hans Thyge & Co. is a dynamic design team that since 1990 has worked on design, interior design and architecture as well as concept development, graphic art and exhibition design for companies all over the world. The centre of gravity is furniture design and interior design, and the focus ranges from the definitive detail and tactile expression to the large space around us. The design team comprises an autodidact, a designer, two architects and a technical draughtsmen as well as a sales manager in Shanghai. For Thyge & Co. all materials possess exciting properties that are to be challenged and brought out in the design process. They find inspiration in all type of artistic expression of high quality and with personality, and they love the view from the design studio across the water towards Samsø and Mols, Denmark. For Hans Thyge & Co., design is a question of stimulating memories and dreams and paving the way for new design perspectives.
True to her Danish roots, simplicity and integrity are trademarks of Nina Tolstrup’s work. A simple and contemporary yet also distinctive aesthetic, combined with the belief in good design for all is a recurring theme in everything she designs.
She was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and completed her studies at the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris in 1990. Throughout her entire career, Europe has been Nina Tolstrup’s scene. She has a strong international profile and, among other things, has worked as a concept developer, freelance photographer, head of design and freelance designer. In 2000, she established the London-based design studio StudioMama with her husband and design colleague, Jack. Nina Tolstrup describes herself as an optimist, and finds inspiration in her family. And it is also in the family summer cottage in Seasalter, England, that she likes to be most of all. She is a colourful person who prefers to work with wood. And she has a passionate belief that designs made for real life go a long way to describing her timeless and informal style – also many years from now.
Collections: Pilot Hanger
The design trio VE2 is made up of three creative individuals: Hugo Dines Schmidt, Tilde Nygaard and Morten Lauritzen. In the interface between form and space, the ambition is to create cohesion via characteristic and aesthetic designs with a clear functional justification.
They come from various parts of the country, but all three qualified in industrial design from the School of Architecture in Aarhus, Denmark and worked with established design houses and architects before establishing VE2 in 2007. It is in everyday life, the people in it and the fact of making a difference that they find inspiration for new designs and projects. And they do not prefer one material above any other, but enjoy working with all materials that can be designed, become enhanced with age and reflect a ‘life’ or be combined with something new. Hugo, Tilde and Morten are sterling individuals with a strong functional aesthetic sense and a pronounced ability for adapting. Separately and together they weigh up the good in life in general and the design studio in particular. And they are on the move and yet very much present in the now at one and the same time. They unwind and enjoy life. Hugo prefers Svinkløv Badehotel, Tilde the sea shore at the end of her road, and Morten a well-provided table with family and friends around it.
From a forest house in a Danish railway town to Tanzania in Africa. From Memphis Tennessee in the United States to the City of Smiles in Denmark, Aarhus. Stine's upbringing has without doubt been culturally diverse and full of contrasts. Her background as a designer is similarly diverse.
Initially, Stine specialized in the field of clothing design and textile knitting, but after a while she also acquired the title as industrial designer from Design School Kolding in Denmark. This gives her a unique take on how materials can engage in various constellation and functions.
Stine's design process often starts with a great portion of curiosity for the many aspects of craftsmanship and a camera around her neck. The many ideas to new projects emanates from the details in close-ups and in the dynamics between the visual and sensual.
Stine's practical approach is build up around two actions - inventing and testing. Thus, new forms and expressions are often determined in the very meeting between Stine's hands and the chosen materials, and she has as always been fascinated with how living materials has the ability of shifting form, color or surface.
To her, it is important to respect the fact that designers cannot and should not always try to tame the nature of materials - especially if you intend to create functional and appealing design that can be passed on from generation to generation.
Collections: Between Lines