September 1, 2015

Northmodern Fair Redefines New Nordic Design


Denmark’s new contemporary furniture fair Northmodern celebrated its second edition in Copenhagen in August with a tightly and tastefully curated selection of exhibitors. As well as familiar faces such as Menu, Muuto and Ferm Living, the Bella Center’s halls offered up a surprising array of newly established Danish brands, each presenting their own interpretation of so-called new Nordic design.

“What we try to do is marry the traditional core values of Scandinavian design with our new perspective,” says Christian Ernemann, co-founder and CEO of Muuto—the new Nordic trailblazers who, although only 9 years old, were one of the biggest players at the event. “Traditionally Danish design was about making functional, democratic, long lasting designs with good craftsmanship—we build on top of that with new materials, new techniques and more conceptual thinking.”

In keeping with these traditional Scandinavian design values, simplicity, functionality and elegance were high on the design agenda at the fair. Shelving systems and seating designs that require no tools to assemble come courtesy of Novel Cabinet Makers, whose designs—such as the Stock shelving system—can all be assembled without any tools. Likewise, Henrik Frederiksen’s Danish Ash Freja chair simply slots together, as do the interlocking components of MWA Design’s Knot collection of shelves and tables.

Keeping the modern, space-squeezed residence in mind, new upholstery pieces were deliberately downsized. Danish stalwarts Wendelbo launched a new contemporary brand called WON. Targeted at a younger client, the debut line includes the compact Hold sofa—perfect for apartment living.

Dutch designer Lex Pott showcased his first ever upholstery pieces; sleek on the outside and cushioned on the inside, Pott’s new sofas and armchairs are designed to squeeze into tight spaces, as is Copenhagen-based brand Ferm Living’s small but perfectly formed Turn sofa from the studio’s Fall/Winter 2015 collection.

Other compact but more versatile seating solutions included playful poufs from both Muuto and OK Design, who launched soft quilted and knotted designs that can be easily moved around the room.

With a shared vision to simplify modern living, new brands at the show were not in short supply. New kitchen cabinet makers Reform make architect-designed panels and doors created to clad Ikea base units, providing an affordable way to create a designer kitchen. Furniture designer Ulrik Foss launched his brand Deform with a series of minimalist tables and storage pieces made in steel and wood, while Kasper Sixten and Frederik Erfurt, two young designers from Copenhagen, debuted their eponymous brand Sixten:Erfurt, with an equally pared back collection of chairs and tables in leather, steel and wood. “Good design should never dominate, only help and simplify,” explain the duo.

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