When Peter J. Lassen left Fritz Hansen in 1979, it wasn’t under the best of circumstances. He was CEO, and times were rough for the Danish furniture manufacturer. “We were forced to sell the family company – and in some ways of course it was a catastrophe, but it was also a new chance,” his son Joakim Lassen explained to ArchiExpo e-Magazine. The new chance was Montana, the company Peter J. Lassen founded on the island of Funen in 1982.
As Joakim relays, Peter felt his departure from Fritz Hansen was an opportunity to refocus, and turn to one product, refine it, and take it very seriously. And what product can be found in every room in the house? Storage. It didn’t hurt that Peter was backed by a rather talented group of friends—designer greats Arne Jacobsen and Verner Panton, to name two. Today, the Montana shelving system is a recognizable piece of Danish design history, with its square shape, bold colors, and round corners.
Last week in Copenhagen, during 3 Days of Design, Montana launched a new system by Jakob Wagner. The largest introduction since the company was founded, Montana Free is a lacquered-MDF freestanding shelving system with 12 standard compositions that can be paired with an optional interposed textile shelf. Staying true to Montana’s shelving DNA with its soft rounded curves, the system is available in four colors, New White, Fjord (a steel gray), China Red, and Black.
“The brief was very precise, yet very open. It was clear we were taking a big step away from the wall, a big step away from storage,” Wagner notes. What Wagner means is Montana Free is more about display than tucking things away, with a few additional perks: “You can go a little bit wild on the panels and it can be shipped flat-pack,” he says.
But best of all, according to Joakim: “A magnet-based system means you can assemble this tool-free without a manual.”