A version of this column ran in the Telegraph Journal’s art section, Salon on Saturday June 1st, 2013.
This is the Normann Copenhagen Flagship Store in Denmark. In 2005 it was transformed from an old cinema into 18,000 square feet of design Mecca.
For all sorts of reasons, most of them having to do with the need to reacquaint themselves with the nurturing source of their beliefs, all sorts of people go on pilgrimage. Christians set off for Bethlehem, Muslims for Mecca, baseball fans for Cooperstown, and lovers of Scandinavian Design for a few days in Copenhagen.
For years I have lived, breathed, studied and written about Scandinavian furniture, décor and architecture. Last year, as an expression of my passion for this particular school of design, I opened a studio and dedicated the lion’s share of floor and wall space to the work of Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian and Danish designers. And though it’s been my privilege to travel relatively widely in Europe, I’ve never visited any of the aforementioned Nordic countries. This weekend, however, I’ll be on a plane destined for Copenhagen. It won’t be a long sojourn, only four days, but I’m determined to fill every waking hour absorbing as much world-class design as I can.
The centrepiece of this trip will be a visit to the flagship store of Denmark’s award-winning design collective, Normann Copenhagen, with whom, as a retailer, I already have a modest relationship. Their store has been the recipient of considerable acclaim in the world of design. For example, it received the awards for “Most Innovative Store” in 2011” and was a finalist for the “World Retail Award – Innovative Format of the Year” in 2008. Not surprisingly, it is regularly featured as a must-visit site in the prestigious Wallpaper City Guide.
Here’s one indication of how seriously Normann Copenhagen takes design and why its store figures so prominently in world of design: they change their front window display every day. Every day! Compared to them, I’m a piker; I’m lucky if I can summon the energy to change the window displays in TUCK once a month.
While ‘in country,’ I’ll be meeting with the CEO of Normann Copenhagen, Poul Madsen, who teamed up with Jan Anderson in 1999 to create the company. According to their website, the turning point for them came in 2002 when they launched the very first product under their own name, the very successful Norm light series (examples of which can be seen in our studio, in a growing number of private homes in the city, and in East Coast Bistro). Their products are now sold in over 70 countries. In 2005, they moved from their small original space into an old 18,000 sq foot cinema in Østerbro to create the flagship store they now occupy. Not bad for a company that came into being when my still-living cat was five years old, and I was summoning up the courage to go into some kind of business on my own.
Apart from the opportunity the trip affords my design pilgrim’s heart to find renewal, I’ll be there to explore the possibilities of some kind of extended partnership between Copenhagen and Saint John. I’m not sure at this point what form that partnership will take, but, given how open Poul Madsen has been to my visit, how gracious the welcome he’s so far extended, the possibilities are, at least so far, unlimited. At the very least, I hope to come back committed to changing TUCK’s window displays more than once a month.
My next ‘design driven’ column will be part two of my Nordic pilgrimage.
You can see a variety of Normann Copenhagen products by visiting Tuck Studio.
Judith Mackin runs punch inside, an interior design company, and Tuck Studio, located at 40 Autumn St., Saint John: Follow Judith on twitter: @judithmackin, Tuck Studio on Twitter: @tuckstudio, or reach her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.