Danish design owes much of its appeal to the way it manages to espouse both timeless and contemporary qualities. You can see this in the lines of a midcentury coffee table or the curves of an Arne Jacobsen egg chair – design classics that are still entirely relevant to 21st century apartment living.
But for Bo Strange, one half of Copenhagen-based design duo FurnID, designs that stand the test of time can be anything but conservative.
“I think the mistake everyone makes when it comes to timeless design is that it has to be safe,” he says. “But look at the shapes that make up the Opera House – the swan, the egg… The structure was considered crazy when it was first built, but became timeless through the years.”
This forward-thinking approach is the force behind the work of Strange and his partner Morten Kjær Stovegaard, who both dream of replicating what Jørn Utzon achieved with the Opera House, if on a smaller scale. These reflections on that most famous of Danish architects are sparked by the duo’s flying Australian visit to join the Great Dane tenth anniversary celebrations. They’ll be at the opening of the new Fitzroy showroom on Thursday night, doing a Q&A with architect (and Grand Designs Australia host) Peter Maddison as well as talking about their already iconic Sunday Sofa.
Their respect for both the Danish design legacy and creative ambition is part of what brought them together. Strange and Stovegaard met in design school six years ago, where they studied furniture design and industrial design respectively.
“We’d seen each other’s projects, but didn’t really know each other,” says Stovegaard. “One day, I was having an exhibition and he approached me and asked if I wanted to start a design studio. The next week, we were having coffee together.”
“It wasn’t completely out of the blue!” he laughs. “We did get a chance to take a good look at each other’s projects beforehand. I knew what he was capable of!”
Since then, they haven’t looked back. Pieces such as Hook Me Up – a re-imagining of the humble coat hanger – and the sleek, modular Sunday Sofa have earned them a place at the Danish Museum of Art & Design as well as the award for Best Danish Designer at the Stockholm Furniture Fair.
“So far it’s been a match made in heaven,” says Strange.
This is the first in a series of articles exploring Scandinavian design and its key designers, brought to you by Great Dane.
Great Dane is a contemporary design retailer specialising in the best of Scandinavian design. Their selection of new and authentically Scandinavian furniture, lighting and homewares is intuitive and second to none. Visit their new Fitzroy showroom to view the FurnID range.