Danish creations, Taiwanese homes and Italian words of wisdom.
The raft of launches at the Copenhagen International Furniture Fair in May proves it is still one of the most important showcases for Danish design. From a busy stand, Erik Jørgensen presented Delphi, its first sofa system designed by Hannes Wettstein, featuring a slender base and a chunky, upholstered body. Hee Welling’s Smile chair for Nielaus showed the ongoing Danish love affair with geometry. “I wanted to play with the notion of symmetry,” he said.
In the city showrooms, Fredericia Furniture presented the Agitari chair, designed by Peter Karpf. The prototype features a curved, ultra-thin back. Engelbrechts continued the slim trend with its first sofa and chair, Kato, designed by Kasper Salto, with minimalist armrests.
Carl Hansen & Son reintroduced the CH28 chair designed by Hans Wegner in 1951, available to buy in the autumn. Monocle also got an exclusive preview of the Fritz Hansen PK8 chair designed by Poul Kjaerholm in 1978.
Jesper Andahl, marketing director at the Bella Centre, home to the fair, is optimistic about the future of the fair, despite a decline in visitor numbers. “We want to broaden the concept of the fair and introduce more interior products and lighting, much like the 100% Design festival in the UK. We want to represent young talent to create a new image for Danish design,” he says.
A traditional Taiwanese stone house located in Taipei at the edge of the Yang Ming Shan National Park has been transformed by local practice Xrange. A fortress-like façade disguises a softer interior. Walls, furnishings and doors are crafted with touches of hinoki and walnut. With two storeys and 500 sq m of space, the home is a myriad of narrow, tall living areas – small wonder it’s been called the Ant Farm House.
Always a fan of the unexpected, Monocle loves this idiosyncratic take on the classical concert hall. Designed by architect Norihiko Dan, the building can be found in the central Sakae district of Nagoya, Japan. The surreal armadillo-like form and decorous interior of convex surfaces, sweeping partitions and voluminous spaces provide the venue’s necessary soundproofing. Music director Nariaki Saegusa and sound designer Makoto Karasawa helped design the acoustics.
Which city offers the best quality of life?
Venice is the ideal city, but for working I prefer Stockholm or Lisbon.
And your favourite city?
What makes a perfect city?
No traffic, no pollution, beautiful spots.
What are your favourite design features in other cities?
Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Renzo Piano’s Paul Klee museum in Bern and in general, any museum with a good shop and bookstore. For pure shopping, though, the Stockmann department store in Helsinki is hard to beat.
What would you eradicate from the built environment?
Ugly mass construction buildings of the 1960s, especially here in Milan; they should be redesigned with new colours by architects Sauerbruch Hutton.
If you could make one change to the urban fabric, what would it be?
To preserve historical shops and restaurants, and to encourage the quality and personality of shops’ interior design.
On a more personal level, what is essential to quality of life?
You don’t need a big house to be happy. Le Corbusier understood this point when he built his small Cabanon alongside the sea.