Wednesday 12 June 2024 - Monocle Minute On Design | Monocle

Wednesday. 12/6/2024

The Monocle Minute
On Design

Image: Mathias Eis

Fair play in Copenhagen

Hot off the press from 3 Days of Design, this week’s newsletter traverses the Danish furniture manufacturer taking cues from its forebears to +Halle’s ultra-modern vision for office aesthetics. We also settle in at design-led brand Muuto’s outdoor seating installation and meet the duo behind Toogood X Frama’s colourful collaboration. First up, we hear from Nic Monisse with his top takes from day one of the fair.

Opinion / Nic Monisse

Three top takeaways

Established in 2013 by four companies, Copenhagen’s 3 Days of Design festival has grown into one of the global industry’s leading events. This year’s iteration, which starts today and runs until Friday, features more than 350 exhibitors, which are showcasing their wares in galleries, shops, showrooms, halls and public plazas across the city. The Monocle team is out in force too, hosting a talk with Swiss appliance specialists V-Zug and providing coverage for Monocle Radio. Here are three insights from the opening day.

Creative criticisms
Denmark’s +Halle is shaking up the contract-furniture scene (see below). What sets it apart isn’t just its striking products but also its creative process. The firm hosts an annual briefing event at its Copenhagen HQ, where designers from across the globe brainstorm common workplace issues. The designers then present their solutions and receive constructive criticism. This goes against the convention of brands briefing designers without consultation and prevents creatives from working in isolation. The result? Products that are uniquely adept at tackling specific problems.

Timeless design
While reporting for this newsletter, the Monocle team stopped in for smørrebrød at the pop-up café in furniture company Mazo’s showroom. Our conversation with co-founder Magnus Stephensen went from the choice of cheese in the sandwiches to the brand itself. “We started in 2019 after buying back the archive of my grandfather [mid-century designer Magnus Laessøe Stephensen],” explained Stephensen. “But we don’t relaunch everything. We pick things that have relevance today.” His advice for making the new and the old work together cohesively is to find consistent values. In Mazo’s case, that means quality, materiality and attention to detail. This principle could, however, be applied by anyone seeking to furnish a home with pieces from different eras or update a work of heritage architecture.

Get hands-on
While it might be tempting to rely on 3D-printed models and CAD to mock-up new designs, for the team at Carl Hansen & Søn, there is no substitute for getting hands-on. The firm’s apprentices continue to work with wood by hand because it allows them to better understand how the material responds to weight and pressure. This improves their knowledge of the material’s properties, which helps when it comes to manufacturing with machines.

Nic Monisse is Monocle’s design editor. For more news and analysis, subscribe to Monocle today.

Around The House / Carl Hansen & Søn

Past, present and future

Danish furniture company Carl Hansen & Søn is celebrating its rich heritage with an exhibition, Shaping the Future, at its Copenhagen flagship shop. The show resurrects several significant designs by major Danish modernists from the company’s archive. Among them is architect and designer Kaare Klint’s 1930s Spherical Bed, which has been skilfully updated by Carl Hansen & Søn’s cabinet-makers and apprentices. “We worked on it for six months using traditional machines,” says cabinet-maker Jeppe Ravn. “We also had Klint’s original drawings and sketches as a reference so we could respect his proportions when we were expanding the bed from a single to a double.”

Image: Mathias Eis
Image: Mathias Eis

Other pieces on show include the relaunched Opala and Pendant metal lighting series by Hans J Wegner and Henning Koppel’s circular Bubi light. Crucially, it’s not all an exercise in nostalgia. The idea of moving the design conversation forward remains a priority for the company. This week contemporary industrial designer Rikke Frost is launching her new RF1905 coffee table and the RF1904 lounge chair, while Austrian design studio Eoos is taking over the Carl Hansen & Søn courtyard with new outdoor furniture.
Visit Carl Hansen & Søn at Bredgade 21-23 during 3 Days of Design.

In the Office / +Halle, Denmark

Alone together

“We established +Halle because there was so much boring office furniture out there,” says Martin Halle Hisdal, the Danish furniture manufacturer’s CEO. “We saw an opportunity to make it sexy.” As CEO, he has spent much of the past decade responding to this brief. His latest project is no exception. Designed by London-based studio Industrial Facility, the Tulipan (pictured bottom)is a soft, small private enclosure consisting of an in-built desk and a seat-cum-door. It will be launched at 3 Days of Design.

Image: Mathias Eis
Image: Mathias Eis

It’s a striking work that breaks the mould of stuffy office furniture. Though the Tulipan’s footprint is no bigger than that of a small desk, the user can close the seat and door components to create a semi-secluded booth that’s ideal for focused work. Significantly, and unlike other cubicle-like spaces designed for privacy, it has an open top, ensuring that the user doesn’t feel isolated from the office environment. “It’s for when you want to get some work done in a defined space without having to leave or be removed from the office.”
Visit +Halle at Kattesundet 4 during 3 Days of Design.;

Image: Mathias Eis

Words with... / Toogood X Frama, Denmark

Perfect pairing

Danish furniture and homeware firm Frama has collaborated with UK design and fashion brand Toogood for 3 Days of Design. The result is a bold, colourful and site-specific installation in Frama’s HQ and accompanying café, Apotek 57. It features new tables and artworks that provide a striking setting for enjoying a coffee and a bite to eat. To complement the installation, a capsule collection has also been unveiled, with highlights including a hand-painted edition of Toogood’s Roper Gilet and sculptural wall hooks. To find out more about the partnership and the art of a good collaboration, we spoke to Frama’s founder and creative director, Niels Strøyer Christophersen, and Faye Toogood.

How do your studios align creatively?
Niels Strøyer Christophersen: The collaboration happened organically. Our studios are similar in size and we share a lot of values. But we’re also very different because we are trying to convey meaning in our work that’s personal and specific to who we are.

Faye Toogood: There’s a shared dedication to pursuing our own personal paths, irrespective of what everybody else is doing. In terms of the differences, Frama has a rigour and an attention to detail that we admire, despite the fact that at Toogood we tend to rip up the rule book and start again with every project.

What’s the benefit of a collaboration like this?
NSC: These cross-disciplinary collaborations that bring together design, architecture, art and food in one space are significant because they encourage us to be curious about other fields. That’s something that can lead to more exciting partnerships and products in the future.

What’s the benefit of making a limited number of more personalised or handmade products?
FT: As a society, we keep producing new things for a world that probably doesn’t need any more. So we should ask ourselves: what will connect people and make them want to hold on to these objects for longer? I believe that it’s about revealing the human hand and having its presence felt in products. That would make us want to look after things.

Visit Toogood X Frama at Fredericiagade 57 during 3 Days of Design.

Image: Mathias Eis

On show / Ukurant, Denmark

Out of the box

Started in 2019 by a group of graduates from Copenhagen’s design school, Ukurant is a platform for young designers that promotes new and experimental approaches. “It was a result of conversations that we had about entering the design industry,” says the group’s co-founder, spatial designer Kamma Rosa Schytte. For this year’s 3 Days of Design, the group put together Ukurant Unwrapped, an exhibition featuring the works of 19 designers that span 11 nationalities. The showcased designs, selected through an open call earlier this year, highlight a diverse range of disciplines and ways of working with materials and surfaces.

The installation is themed around the economics of becoming a designer. It aims to raise awareness and spark discussions about how young practitioners can establish more economically sustainable practices. It addresses questions such as how to price work, time and skills, and examines how the industry can support and promote them. “We want to start a conversation about the challenges in the industry,” says Schytte. “And 3 Days of Design offers us the perfect platform to do that.”
Visit the Ukurant showcase during 3 Days of Design at Frederiksholms Kanal

On The Terrace / Muuto, Denmark

Back to nature

In Copenhagen’s city centre, just off the busy Østergade, Muuto is opening a leafy, secluded courtyard to the public throughout 3 Days of Design. Here, the design brand is inviting people to discover Settle, its new range of outdoor seating by Norwegian design duo and longtime Muuto collaborators Anderssen & Voll. Visitors can also enjoy the brand’s exploration of neuroaesthetics – specifically, the beneficial effects that nature and natural materials can have on our wellbeing.

Image: Mathias Eis
Image: Mathias Eis

Over a coffee or a snack, you can make the most of the soft outdoor seating that combines tubular steel with wooden armrests and is available as an armchair or a two- or three-seater. The quick-drying, rain-resistant upholstery comes in taupe, dark-green and grey colourways that also give the overall design a sense of calm and comfort. As 3 Days of Design promises a busy schedule, we would recommend taking a moment to relax on these couches. Now here’s hoping for some sun.
Visit Muuto’s showroom and courtyard at Østergade 36-38 and Muuto Store at St Regnegade 12 during 3 Days of

On Craft / Fredericia, Denmark

Craft in action

Expert craftspeople from Denmark and Sweden are busy soaping wood, upholstering chairs and sewing leather as part of Federica’s Crafting the Present exhibition. “These people are incredibly skilled,” says Rasmus Graversen, who took over as the third-generation CEO of the Danish brand in May. “It’s a privilege to work with them. We work in close dialogue with our craftspeople to keep developing and improving our heritage but also to avoid stagnation.”

Visitors to the firm’s expansive showroom will be able to discover the intricate processes behind three of its most recognisable pieces: the Ox Chair by Hans J Wegner and the 2204 Wing and Spanish Chairs by Børge Mogensen. Danish designer Maria Bruun, who has previously contributed to the brand’s catalogue with the Pioneer and Islets collections, curated the exhibition. “Furniture makes up the scenography of our lives,” says Bruun. “My hope is that people will find a new way to connect with these pieces and their handmade beauty because design is ever present.”
Visit the Fredericia Showroom at Løvstraede 1 during 3 Days of


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