I’ve introduced the Danish design brand Fredericia before on the blog, when I visited their beautiful, light-filled showroom in Copenhagen. Today I am excited to delve a little deeper into their furniture collection and show you some of their designs styled in my own London home.
Fredericia was founded in 1911 and named after the small Danish town of Fredericia, on the eastern edge of the Jutland peninsula. It has always been a family owned and managed company, from its modest beginnings as an upholstery workshop to its role in the emergence of Danish modernism led by designer Børge Mogensen in the 1950s. Today, it is a key player in the international design scene, collaborating with a host of respected designers, such as Jasper Morrison, Space Copenhagen, GamFratesi and Geckeler Michels.
The brand strives to create what it terms ‘The Modern Originals’ – high quality, timeless pieces of furniture that are built to last and become even more beautiful over time. In-house designer Børge Mogensen had a philosophy for furniture that was ‘unpretentious, pure and honest’, and that message has stuck with Fredericia. Their designs are finely crafted armchairs that you can sink into, leather sofas that get softer and softer with wear, and multipurpose, solid wood tables that you can pass down through generations.
In many ways, they’re a brand with one foot in the past and one foot in the future. They’re respectful of their strong heritage built over a 100 plus years, and the decades of knowledge they’ve gathered, but also mindful of current movements in the design world and the most exciting, young designers to engage with. New pieces added to the collection are simple with clean lines, but the celebration of their materiality, be it the construction of a set of solid wood legs or the curve of a table top, hark back to the brand’s foundations.
Their furniture are the classics of tomorrow – Fredericia has managed to stay relevant by always creating designs that are carefully crafted and lovingly detailed. Transient trends come and go but I think that kind of attention to detail can never go out of style.
Swoon Lounge Chair by Space Copenhagen
Design duo Signe Bindslev Henriksen and Peter Bundgaard Rützou of Space Copenhagen designed the Swoon Lounge Chair in 2016. Recognising a gap in the market for a small easy chair that suited both contract markets and home interiors, they conceived an organically shaped design with beautiful fluid lines. An injection moulded shell upholstered in leather or soft fabric gives the chair its signature, sculptural curves, while solid wood legs give a slightly mid-century appeal.
Space Copenhagen’s thoughtful design process is all about slowing things down and delving into the finer details – thinking about how someone might sit, the texture, touch and feel of a chair – ‘We are obsessed with the material part. It is almost a passion for us to create something, that embodies a slow pace,’ they say.
The Swoon chair really invites you to gently lean back and embrace a moment of peace and quiet. The seat is deep enough to curl up on or sit cross-legged and a firm cushion supports the lower back.
(If you want to get to know the designers better, you can read my interview with them for Blueprint magazine here.)
Pon tables by Jasper Morrison
Pon is a series of simple side tables designed by British designer Jasper Morrison. They come in four sizes and can be grouped together in different heights or used on their own.
Morrison describes them as an alternative to the ‘overrated and badly named “coffee table”‘ – suggesting that instead of one, great big coffee table cluttered with things, these modest designs can be used next to a sofa or beside an armchair. Somewhere you can rest a pile of books or your coffee cup while you’re reading, without taking up too much space. Says Morrison: ‘Discrete objects are more successful in building good atmosphere than eye-catching ones.’
While they’re small in size, they’re made of solid wood (oak or ash) and feel substantial and stable. The oak Fredericia uses is ethically sourced from forests in Europe then either smoked, lacquered, soap treated, white oiled or simply left untreated. I love how the grain of the wood comes through in this black version and how the tops and bottoms of the table are gently curved to create a simple, elegant form.
Piloti Coffee Table by Hugo Passos
If small side tables don’t suit your style, then this adaptable, multi-functional coffee table might tick all the boxes. Designed by Hugo Passos, the Piloti coffee table comes in two heights and can be combined to create multiple surfaces, perfect if, like me, you have a thing for lots of coffee table books and magazines!
The Piloti table is sleek but subtle at the same time, due to its super slender profile. The wood is really exquisite on this design, beautifully moulded at the edges before connecting to these delicate legs.
The Spanish Chair by Børge Mogensen
Saving the best to last, this is the true Fredericia classic. Launched in 1958 as part of an innovative living space exhibition, it is a distinctive design made of solid oak and saddle leather. The chair, and hence the name, is inspired by medieval Spanish furniture construction and a traditional type of chair with wide armrests.
The chair is low and solid with a sturdy wooden construction and, what I liked, armrests wide enough to place a glass or cup of tea (with a coaster or something to protect the wood of course). The idea was that you wouldn’t then need side tables, or any tables at all, therefore creating a more open, informal space.
The thick saddle leather is sourced from tanneries in Sweden and then carefully hand-stitched and fastened with brass buckles. I can imagine it just getting better with age, as it softens and patinates over time – becoming that favourite, comfy armchair in the corner where you might sit with a steaming cup of coffee and a record playing on a Saturday morning.
I hope that has provided a solid introduction to Fredericia – it’s always different seeing a piece of furniture in real life, in a real home, as opposed to in the pages of a catalogue. What really came across to me, being able to touch and feel them, was their beautiful materiality – you can tell it’s a real passion for the brand. Materials are treated authentically and their natural patina and texture is celebrated. The designs don’t feel flimsy, they have a solidity and weightiness that feels like it could stand the test of time.
All images: Cate St Hill. This post was written in collaboration with Fredericia, all thoughts and opinions my own.