Hans Wegner. Ole Wanscher. Arne Vodder. Kai Kristiansen. Squarepeg Home reads like a who’s who of Danish icons. However, owners Ben and Kate Savage have interspersed this line-up with unnamed Danish vintage pieces, and furniture and accessories by local and imported designer-makers.
Ben headed to Denmark for a month for his launch product and will return in August for his next container, which will be on floor in November. He has established strong sourcing networks thanks to his wife Kate, who lived in Denmark for a year and sought advice from friends and contacts.
“I mix period Danish furniture with unnamed pieces to get a broader price range. So, the store isn’t all high-level collectable pieces – we have a price range of unnamed through to the fathers of the Danish modern furniture movement,” says Ben.
Ben is a designer-maker himself and his pieces are also found on the floor. He studied at the Dwellingup-based Australian School of Fine Wood and has been making furniture seriously for the past eight years, so launched Squarepeg as a store and workshop.
“So, from a service point of view, the workshop means we offer flexibility for people who can’t find what they are looking for. It can be custom made. And having the workshop next door reinforces to people that furniture is ‘made’. It is reconnecting people with where it all comes from,” says Ben.
His passion for reminding people where furniture comes from is coupled with a desire to teach people that furniture can be a life-long investment. And that’s where his focus on Danish design comes in.
“We live in such a disposable society – people usually think in terms of a 5- to 10-year lifespan for these products. But it doesn’t have to be like that. And Danish furniture is a good example of the long life you can get out of a product if it is done properly,” says Ben. “It will still be relevant in another 50 years time from a design perspective and structurally it will still be around because it is well made.”
Squarepeg Home is tucked into an industrial warehouse in Fremantle’s emerging Blinco Street precinct, which is also home to one of Australia’s leading antiques dealers – Lauder & Howard Antiques and Fine Art – Ottoman Empire and an artist and cafe next door.
Ben collaborated with Officer Woods architects on the shop design, retaining its concrete floor, painting original bricks white, then installing a floor-to-ceiling structural ply stepped wall to separate the shop from the workshop. A sliding door with a huge round glass insert gives views between the two spaces.
Sitting alongside the Danish design and Ben’s own work (which shares the clean lines of the Danish pieces that share floor space), are Adam Cruickshank furniture, Amber Ward (Kietsu Studios) cushions and rugs, Muuto lighting and accessories, Magno radios and accessories and Down to the Woods rugs and ottomans.