Through the years, Scandinavian design has remained a constant influence of global design narratives. Built around an appreciation for simplicity, minimalism and the collision of beauty and functionality, the Scandianvian aesthetic continues to inspire and inform us to this day. However, the geographic distance between our two regions means we don’t always get to delve into the stories behind the design, that we miss out on learning the techniques, craftsmanship and stories behind the design.
Now, thanks to Super Design and Great Dane Furniture, we’re bringing you an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour into the universe of Scandinavian craftsmanship, featuring the makers and designers as they share insights into their ideals.
You’ll see inside the oldest furniture factory in Denmark, Gemla with founder, Benny Hermansson; hear Sofie Refer from Nuura and designer Antrei Hartikainen speak about their connection with Nordic nature and how it influences their design process; learn the complexities of what’s involved in pleating a Le Klint lampshade; and explore a showroom tour by Inoda + Sveje from their design studio in the heart of Milano.
Experience a true showcase of the talent and skill that goes into every piece that is lovingly handmade. In between the video tours, hear from Great Dane founder Anton Assaad as he shares anecdotes and insights alongside Habitus editor Aleesha Callahan.
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Meet the speakers
Antrei Hartikainen (b. 1991) is a master cabinet maker and designer from Finland known for his exquisite works in wood. The award- winning pieces, including functional products and pure art works, achieve heights of sensuality, elegance and craftsmanship that place them with finest examples of modern Nordic carpentry.
I have worked extensively with wood design. My aim is to create products and unique pieces which answer to the imperatives of practicality, craftsmanship and the medium itself; a desire to reveal the myriad possibilities of wood provides an enduring impetus to my work.”
Kyoko + Nils
Inoda + Sveje is a design duo comprising Kyoko Inoda, born in Osaka in 1971, and Nils Sveje, born in Denmark in 1969. Inoda studied architectural design at ISAD in Milan. Sveje graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. Sveje later moved to Italy where he worked under Stefano Giovannoni, and then returned to Denmark. While working at the Institute of Product Development (IPU) Sveje joined forces with Inoda and formed Inoda + Sveje in Copenhagen in 2000, before returning their base of operations to Milan in 2003. In addition to furniture and product design, Inoda + Sveje is involved in other fields, such as medical devices and speakers. Inoda + Sveje designed the DC09 chair in 2011, a solid wood chair with a minimalist and sculptural essence, that won them the International Furniture (IF) Gold Award for Furniture Design.
A multicultural life in Denmark, England, Germany and Switzerland has had a decisive influence on Jacob Plejdrup’s design philosophy, since he began his career in the furniture and interior business back in 1991. The culmination came in 2009, when Jacob Plejdrup and his wife Ann Plejdrup founded dk3 to place undivided focus on creating design furniture under the dk3 brand, combining nature’s aesthetic elements with pure and timeless design.
With his designs, Jacob Plejdrup wishes to move the beauty of nature indoor in a minimalistic way, and this design vision was embodied in the dk3_3 table, which was launched in 2009 as one of the first plank tables on the Scandinavian market. The table played a major role in the birth and establishment of dk3, and the design heritage has been maintained and passed on to several other dk3 products since then.
Sofie Refer is an internationally awarded Danish lighting designer and rooted in the Scandinavian design tradition she considers respect for nature and the beauty of simplicity as two of the most valuable qualities in her designs. With esteem for the tradition, Sofie likes to challenge the perception and with curiosity and eagerness to explore the riches, generosity and extravagance of environment interprets these in her lighting designs.
“I am truly inspired by light in the Nordic. I strive to balance simplicity and grandeur, and create light that has a pure yet sensuous expression.”
Passing through the beech forests and the small village of Diö by the river Helgeå, you will find Sweden’s oldest furniture manufacturer, Gemla Fabrikers, founded in 1861. You will also encounter a curiously rich history, characterized by inventiveness as well as stubbornness, said to be typical of the region of Småland.
Craftsmen from Bohemia arrived in Diö in the 19th century, bringing their know-how and experience from Thonet’s factories with them. They were the first in Sweden to introduce the art of shaping wood and laid the foundation of this art, which has been developed by Gemla ever since.
Represented in several award-winning interiors, Gemla Furniture is appreciated both for its lightness and comfort. The solid bentwood design, durable construction and quality materials produce a unique and sustainable craft, built to last for generations.
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