northmodern is a furniture and lifestyle trade show that takes place once a year in Copenhagen. Showcasing the most exciting international talents and the very best of Scandinavian design heritage, it’s a must for any design lover, no matter if you’re a buyer or press.
I headed there for the August edition, which had a focus on holistic, sustainable contemporary living. Housed in the airy halls of the Bella Center, a conference centre just ten minutes from the heart of the city, the show was a lively mix of the latest contemporary design, reissued classics, hand-crafted pieces and sustainable products.
I had previously been to Stockholm Furniture Fair and this in comparison was a much more relaxed affair – considerably smaller and fairly intimate. The atmosphere was chilled, designers approachable, gentle music playing and plenty of places to pause and rest weary feet. There was a wealth of young, emerging talent that I had never even heard of before under the glass roof of the Crystal Hall, while it was a pleasure to meet some of the more established brands such as Ferm Living that I have long admired (they showed their Subtle Dwelling collection, which I blogged about just before I went).
Here in part 1 of my review, I’ve gathered together some of my favourite finds from the show, including the latest, up-and-coming designers to watch out for and keep on your radar…
aggestrup is a new furniture brand founded this year by The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art graduate Camilla Aggestrup. She first presented her work at Milan Design Week this April, but showed a new design, the #80 in white, at northmodern.
Designed to offer privacy in public spaces, #80 is a modular sofa with a high angled backrest. It’s construction is light and delicate, with a metal frame and various cane modules, a material I also spotted being used at Stockholm Furniture Fair.
She says: ‘The mission is to create products that attract awareness towards moments in life and the human body itself. With the design in-between [I] can use the possibility to attract attention back towards our self. [I] do that by using different materials and the variety of materials and combination gives a different seating experience, different textures and feelings.’
2. Kovac Family
Kovac Family is a multidisciplinary company founded in Stockholm in 2012. Sustainability is at the core of their ethos, from their locally-produced, eco-friendly products to their innovative research into creating biomimetic lighting. Their hope is that the sale of their products will help fund their ongoing research.
The 25lamp caught my eye, a beautiful shell-like pendant made of 25 wooden lamellas. It’s made of FSC certified oak and comes flat packaged to reduce waste and excess materials.
They say: ‘Inspiration comes from nature – cause and consequence: How can we make this better in all aspects to improve the everyday life and our environment. Biomimicry is a hero of ours and also collaborator.’
3. Matias Moellenbach
A graduate of London’s Central Saint Martins, one-to-watch Matias Moellenbach established his own brand with at northmodern this year. Born in Copenhagen, he likes to mix a Scandinavian approach design with the use of artisanal British craftsmanship.
He showed a beautiful glass lamp, blown in Dorset by glassmaker Stewart Wiltshire as well as these delicate, simple pitcher and cups, part of his graduation project.
He says: ‘With all the products being designed by Matias Moellenbach and the studio as well managing production, we see our brand having a closer resemblance to the way a fashion label are being run rather than a ‘traditional’ interior design brand. We want each of our products to have a purpose and a story.’
WON is another new Danish brand, founded in 2015. Focusing on nordic living, respect for simple form, good quality and workmanship, WON aims to demonstrate that design makes a difference in everyday life. WON has got off to a cracking start, teaming up with a range of young and established designers, including 365° North, Steffensen & Würtz and Note Design Studio. I particularly liked their curvaceous, huggable Mango chair by Note Design Studio and the simple but elegant Tip Toe chair with its minimal black frame.
They say: ‘The principal idea is to develop designs that exude Scandinavian lightness and match the modern city home – where there is a requirement for functionality and flexibility – and where aesthetics play a central role.’
Founded by Kasper Sixten and Frederik Erfurt in 2014, Sixten::Erfurt is a Danish brand based in Copenhagen. Finding inspiration in art, photography and architecture coupled with Nordic design traditions and the needs in everyday life, they create honest, simple products made by hand.
I love the use of leather in furniture, and here Sixten::Erfurt have wrapped it round the backs of chairs or slung it over frames to create armchairs.
They say: ‘The Sixten::Erfurt brand is defined by a pursuit to show the beauty of the immediate aesthetics in simple and functional furniture. The aim is to combine elegant and timeless designs by respecting the natural properties of quality materials, with the philosophy that good design should never dominate, only help and simplify.’
I think you’ll agree, some lovely pieces and some very exciting brands to bookmark. I’ll be back next week with the second part of my review, featuring lots more design eye candy!
disclosure: I was a guest in Copenhagen of northmodern and stayed at the wonderful AC Bella Sky Hotel.