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Habitusliving.com explores the best residential architecture and design in Australia and Asia Pacific.


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On the Art of Making

On the Art of Making

Photo by Shannon McGrath

Putting artisanal skills front and centre, Great Dane has always focused on fostering collaborations with highly skilled makers across Scandinavia – and it shines through in the timeless products.

Whether it’s a chair with hand-formed timber curves, or glass blown with idiosyncrasies – there is a special quality to something that has been given the care and attention of a knowing hand.

Before mass production began streamlining the world around us, there were artisanal skills, passed down from generation to generation that shaped the furniture and lighting of our everyday lives.

From its very inception, Great Dane has sought out the specialist makers, people who have refined their craft to the point of perfection. These small-scale craftspeople are full of character, true hidden gems with an extraordinary focus on creating something of beauty and quality.

Through Great Dane’s commitment to the artisanal, some incredibly talented makers have been unearthed and brought to Australia.


Having the right kind of light sets atmosphere and ambience, creating a gentle sensory comfort. It’s something that Nordic countries know all too well given the dramatic shifts in daylight they endure through the seasons.

Capturing the elegance and essence of Finland, Innolux is a brand that is not afraid of looking ahead, while also honouring the tradition of the past. Sensitive to the influence that light has on our everyday wellbeing, Innolux’s heritage range encapsulates Finnish lighting history from the 1950s and 60s.

Lisa Floor Lamp

A stand-out of the utmost refinement is the Lisa Floor Lamp. Originally designed by Lisa Johansson-Pape, the lamp is exceptionally tactile, juxtaposing a brass dome and details with a supple Cognac-coloured leather arm.

Hand-crafted leather wraps the arm and counteracts the sturdiness and solidity of the brass, while the sensuous bell-shaped dome casts and reflects a diffused light.

Another true icon is the Senator collection – available in a floor light, pendant and table light. Also designed by Lisa Johansson-Pape in 1947, it is a range that exudes a quiet confidence. Similarly to the Lisa Floor Lamp, the Senator range combines contrasting materials for a dazzling effect.

Made with an exacting standard, Innolux is unwavering in its craftsmanship when producing Lisa Johansson-Pape’s iconic designs.

Senator collection

Antrei Hartikainen

Meticulously hand-carved in walnut timber, the Kukkii sculptures by Finnish artisan Antrei Hartikainen are a delicate expression of bespoke quality.

Each piece is individually made by hand, with the form taking inspiration from the long stems of water plants. Much in the same way that nature invites moments of pause, the Kukkii sculptures stand as a reminder to appreciate the beauty in the every day and its imperfections.


The same care and attention to timber seen in these sculptures translate into the incredibly detailed furniture pieces as seen in the exquisite range of Bastone cabinets.


Proudly Sweden’s oldest furniture manufacturer, Gemla is found in the small village of Diö in the region of Småland. Infused with the traditional knowledge of timber bending, which was first introduced in the 19th century when craftsmen from Bohemia arrived at the town, Gemla has continued the skills, developing the timber bending signature even further.

True masters in the art of bentwood style furniture, there are many pieces from the Swedish maker that highlight its skills and handcrafted nature.

Vilda 3 Dining Chairs, photo by Shannon McGrath

The Vilda 3 Dining Chair is the perfect example of this, the classic forms of a bentwood are met with leather flourishes. The Hof Barstool similarly captures the essence of the handmade with finely wrapped leather legs.

With Gemla, it’s the unexpected touches that push each piece out of the ordinary.

Hof barstool


The experience of friends and family gathering around the dining table together is one that leaves a lasting impression. Knowing this all too well, DK3 is a Danish maker that creates dining tables meant to be passed from one generation to the next. Using traditional carpentry skills, DK3’s passion for working with timber is undeniable in the divine details that shine through.

The Ten Table illustrates this beautifully where solid timber legs are hand-carved with tactile vertical grooves, and subtle curves give it a welcoming presence.

Read more about the inherent sustainability that comes with products made to last generations.


Aleesha Callahan is the editor of Habitus. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Aleesha seeks out the unique people, projects and products that define the Indo Pacific region. Aleesha was previously the editor of Indesignlive.com and has written and contributed to various publications and brands in her 10 years in the architecture and design industry, bringing intimate insight to her stories having first trained and practised as an interior designer. Her passion for mid-century design and architecture began while living and working in Berlin.