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Christian’s Trip to DesignTrade
Last week, our Managing Director Christian Hawley took a short but exciting trip to Copenhagen for DesignTrade, the largest design and furniture trade fair in the city.
We caught up with him to find out where he stayed, where he ate and most importantly of all, what he saw!
Upon arriving in Copenhagen, Christian and his wife Debbie headed straight to Relæ, an exceptional restaurant voted the 53rd best place to eat in the world. Two of the most memorable perks of this restaurant was the delicious local beer and the quirky pull-out cutlery draws, which also held the menu. After an afternoon of travelling and feeding their appetites, it was time to get a good night’s sleep. Christian and Debbie stayed at the First Hotel Twentyseven courtesy of Muuto, which is conveniently located in the city centre.
If you’ve ever been to Copenhagen, you’ll know that the majority of people ride bikes around the city. In fact, Copenhagen has been voted the best city for cyclists and is now officially the first Bike City in the World. As well as taking in the wonderful sights of people young and old cycling around the city, Christian also stumbled across the gravestone of Hans Christian Andersen, the world-renowned Danish author. He visited Illums Bolighus, a large interior store that can best be described as the Danish version of Harrods. Unfortunately, the third floor of furniture from design icons was closed, but there was still plenty more to see elsewhere.
Strøget is one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets and features an abundance of shops from Gucci and Mulberry to the offices of Muuto and HAY. Christian was invited to a private dinner with the owners of Muuto, held in the attic space of their charmingly designed office. They enjoyed a feast of Danish food and French wine, before taking a tour of the office. One of Christian’s favourite aspects of the tour was the individually coloured rooms, designed to demonstrate different areas of the home.
The next morning, Christian was invited to view a selection of new Muuto products, including the Fiber and Cover Chairs. These designs are focused on comfort and simplicity, with the idea of creating strong identities from almost ordinary objects. He’s also got his eyes set on the Balance Vases, which are designed to stand as sculptural silhouettes with or without flowers. Afterwards, Christian made himself at home in the showroom, which was made to feel homely with plenty of foliage and fresh flowers.
The Sunday morning began with a short meeting at Muuto and a pleasant train journey to DesignTrade, which passed through the trendy Ørestad district of Copenhagen. Christian spied the eye-catching Bella Sky Comwell Hotel on the way, which is the largest hotel in Scandinavia. These fantastic sights set the mood for the rest of the day at DesignTrade, where Christian was immersed in new products from established brands such as MENU, Skagerak, Normann Copenhagen and La Chance. As pictured, the Rocky Credenza has a fantastic depth that is difficult to capture in photographs, but looks remarkable in person.
As well as seeing designs from well-known brands and those that we sell, it was also interesting for Christian to discover smaller brands with high-quality products. One of these was Plain Crafts by Søren Ulrich, who aims to create simple designs inspired by Scandinavian and Japanese woodworking tradition. Christian also met with Anne Rosenberg, the designer of beautiful Scandinavian textiles under the brand RosenbergCph. Featured at the show were perfectly-refined Canvas and Wool Cushions, plus soft Wool Throws. Anne Rosenberg is enthusiastic about being respectful to the environment and uses only high-quality, organic fine cotton.
More unusual designs were also seen during his visit. As pictured, the brush chair was one of the most unconventional of those and although it is a striking concept, it certainly doesn’t win any points for the comfort factor!
Ferm LIVING made a superb comeback with their new AW14 collection, which is designed for embracing the small and sincere moments within everyday life. This collection featured the vibrant Small Cabinet and Hook Candleholders, amongst many others. Most interestingly of all from other designers was the Danish Fuel Jerry Can, which is handcrafted and remade from old Jerry Cans. These are fantastic for a multitude of uses, making them both a versatile and unique choice for storage in the home. The Innermost Glaze Light was also presented in a new lustrous black finish, which creates a more current adaption of the original product. Innermost are all about combining British elements with influences from all over the world, which results in unique and exciting products.
Christian and Debbie ended their trip with a romantic meal at Geist, the restaurant where Christian proposed to Debbie 2 years previous. The atmosphere is relaxed yet alive with culture and enthusiasm, with the opportunity to watch the chefs cook in front of you. Christian enjoyed an eclectic dish of blue stilton with chocolate, which made for an unusual yet divine combination. One of the dishes also featured edible flowers, which is a rising trend within Scandinavia. Not only are edible flowers a healthy alternative to the ordinary, but they can transform the appearance of even the simplest of dishes and have an element of luxury too.
Overall, Christian and Debbie had an unforgettable time and arrived back in England with some fantastic inspiration for new products and potential new brands. Watch this space!