“It’s always a great recognition to receive an award for one’s work,” stated Poul Madsen, founder and co-owner of Normann Copenhagen, in a press release. The Danish design company took off in 1999 and launched their Flagship store in 2005–doted one of Europe’s 12 treasures by New York Times Travel in 2014.
Last year’s Normann Copenhagen designer spotlight was Simon Legald with his Form furniture that went on to earn the renowned German Design Award 2016. This year the company releases Hans Hornemann’s Rope modular sofa, first at Maison&Objet then at Stockholm Design Week.
To the Flagship Store!
ArchiExpo attempts a sneak-peak of the designers collaborating in Normann Copenhagen’s workshop. Unfortunately, the company is so secretive that they don’t even invite their Flagship store employees inside; we accept, with grace and gratitude, a coffee with Hornemann at Flagship. He talks to us about his furniture line, in-house designing and teases us about his Milan-destined surprise.
“We had Hans’ sofa in here one day and someone came in and bought it,” says Johanne Toft, press relations manager at Normann Copenhagen.”It’s a modular sofa with twelve different sections so you can make it as long and as deep as you want.”
Rope behind us, chocolate before us, Tift explains how placement plays a key role on a customer’s reaction to the products. The company believes in inspiring through constant creation.
“The team here at the shop changes the window display every night, except on Sundays,” continues Toft. “For our 10th anniversary, we counted and there have been over 3,000 window displays.”
“It’s quite an effort,” Hornemann says. “So that every evening–when people have time to drive by–they see something new.”
Images: Rope, a modular sofa by Hans Hornemann at Normann Copenhagen. Photo by Pelle Rink for ArchiExpo
Inside the Factories
Both in-house and freelance designing come with pros and cons. Hornemann delights in all he’s learned designing in-house for Normann Copenhagen.
As an in-house designer, you can work closer to the manufacturer. We always aim to go to the factories because each time we go, we experience something new. Whether it’s a wood factory or textile factory, the people we meet there have something to contribute.
The relationship between designer and manufacturer strengthens the result of the product by simply communicating.
Some designers have a visual expression, a very nice model on the computer, and they want to obtain that exact product. They tell the factories what to do. That’s sort of a new way of doing product design, because it’s become so easy to design on the computer.
This “tell what do to” philosophy might, at times, push innovation to another level, but Hornemann believes product designers should rethink the meaning of industrial design.
It’s design that’s made for industrial production. Each time we start up something new, we discuss it with the manufacturer. You might present an idea and they might say to forget about it because they’ve tried it 700 times and it won’t work.
Headed to Milan
In addition to Rope, Normann Copenhagen will be launching other products in April during the Salone del Mobile.
“I don’t know if I can say anything,” says Hornemann.
“It’s a surprise.”
Hornemann, Normann Copenhagen’s highlight for 2016, will be presenting a new furniture line in Milan. Only time will tell. He’s working on designing the company’s stand and will be in Milan to unveil his little secret.
Images: Flagship store 2016. Courtesy of Normann Copenhagen