In an exclusive collaboration with one of Australia’s most prominent curators of Danish furniture, Labofa joins Great Dane’s carefully curated portfolio of some of the most renowned and celebrated Scandinavian designers and manufacturers. Presented alongside design legends like Verner Panton or Nanna Ditzel, Labofa’s arrival further accentuates Australia’s deep appreciation for Northern European design tradition and the unmatched craftsmanship, synonymous with Scandinavian manufacturing practises.
Labofa is the perfect expression of these qualities – and as a brand that takes pride in designing chairs with a story, the Danish company cordially embraces its unique past. First established in 1943 as an automobile and bicycle workshop in Skælskør by Johs Larsen, the genesis of the brand is anchored in the process of making spare car parts out of old telephone cables. The passion for furniture promptly overwrote the automobile narrative though, and the busy workshop was transformed into the Larsen Boltefabrik factory producing office chairs.
Following the incredible success of the venture, Labofa chairs started appearing in workplaces, canteens and schools around the world, further reinforcing the brand’s design ethos, defined by quality, craftsmanship and the sense of history each piece of furniture imparts.
Celebrating this charming notion of storytelling through furniture design, Labofa’s latest collection – aptly named the Heritage Collection – is a beautifully crafted nod to the brand’s design legacy that sees some of Labofa’s classic designs from the past decades revisited for the current context.
The collection comprises a selection of seats, a console, a trolley and a work table, and was brought to life by the team at Norm Architects. Linda Korndal, Architect at Norm Architects, explains that revisiting the existing pieces to create something new was not dissimilar to archaeological or anthropological field studies.
“We had to decipher the design and the original agenda so that we could bring it out in the new design – we had to dig in and find the essence,” she says. Interestingly, being architects rather than designers is what Linda thinks made Norm Architects so apt for the job. “In a sense, all architects have a little anthropologist in them that thinks about cohesion and context,” she explains.
The architects identified the very core characteristics that underpinned the identity of each piece, and created a collection around those elements. “It was a matter of taking the old collection and translating it into a modern-day context, but without making it overly modern and trend-oriented,” Linda says. “We examined which details make the designs old-fashioned and which details give them character.”
The resulting selection of respectfully resurfaced pieces celebrates the enduring charm of heritage design and Scandinavian aesthetic, advancing the relevance of the furniture in today’s world.
An apt manifestation of this intent, the Heritage Work Chair combines the timeless appeal of classic simplicity, with a lightweight shell that sees this design work in a home office, a public space or a workplace. Embracing the brand’s automotive history, the versatile seat establishes a clear visual dialogue with the classic Citroën cars of yesteryear. The design fuses industrial mechanics with an iconic silhouette anchored by the integrated gas fit and mid-century castors inspired by the original design. Ideal for a broad range of environments, the comfortable and highly functional Heritage Work Chair is bound to deliver an immense amount of horsepower.
The perfect company for the Heritage Work Chair is the customizable Work Table. The simple and versatile profile of the piece elevates the ambience of a home office or a sophisticated hotel room, with the pulled-back frame topped with a slender veneer, linoleum or a natural stone top.
The table can be further personalised with fronts in black, white, or oak, and with or without drawers.
But the collection’s workhorse seat isn’t the only chair that matches Work Table’s unostentatious lines. Swapping Heritage Work Chair’s wheels for the classic conical leg frame, the signature Heritage Chair harks back to the mid-century modern style that defined the original design released in the mid-50s. The seat preserves the iconic form of the past, while its light-weight, comfortable character makes Heritage Chair the perfect fit for a broad range of interiors. With an exquisite selection of materials that range from wood, veneer and corduroy to Como and Tonica 2, the versatility of this future icon cannot be underestimated.
Standing taller than the Heritage Chair, the counter height stool version of the design maintains the same profile with the longer classic conical legs making it an excellent choice for contexts we’re so familiar with in the modern day – a high desk or a bar. Heritage Lounge Chair, on the other hand, boasts the enticing curvature of timeless mid-century design but in a more robust form. The slim yet durable profile enhances the practical character of the design, transforming this inviting piece into a sophisticated addition to any room.
Expressing a similar, clean-lined design as the other seats within the collection, the Heritage Stool is the most stripped-down of them all. Featuring a thin, floating veneer seat placed atop elongated canonical legs, the stool is a pleasantly confident addition to any interior – both at home and in the office.
Alongside the streamlined seating designs and minimalistic work table, Heritage Collection features the Heritage Console and Heritage Bar Trolley. Both designs draw from the industrial design language of the 50s, combining the reliability and elegance of the steel frame and the tactile appeal of oak, walnut or back-stained veneer used for the shelves. The pieces come with gliders or the classic wheel from the 50s.
Softening the classic profiles of the Heritage Collection, the Contemporary Collection explores the softness of robust forms and engaging materiality. In contrast to the iconic shapes that establish a visual connection to Labofa’s timeless designs of the past, the Contemporary Collection is a study on current trends that challenge the traditional notion of the construction and appearance of seating.
Designed by the Stockholm-based Note Design Studio, this timely collection comprises the Mallow Lounge Chair and Mallow Lounge 2 Seater Sofa which boast bold, organic and expansive silhouettes that are visually striking and ensure exceptional seating comfort. The generous volumes of the designs – alongside their profoundly inviting roundness and tactile expression – result in a modern collection that combines current design trends with the timeless beauty of Scandinavian craftsmanship.
Labofa’s affinity for storytelling marks a new chapter in Great Dane’s design legacy, further emphasising the brand’s position as one of Australia’s most celebrated curators of Scandinavian furniture. The expansive, organic and tactile volumes of the Contemporary Collection, alongside the iconic shapes of the Heritage Collection that evoke the icons of yesteryear, can be experienced by visiting the Great Dane’s showrooms from February 2022. The appointments for the beautifully appointed stores can be made here.