Kay Bojesen’s wooden monkey, circa 1951, is an iconic Scandinavian design. “It’s about as Danish as it gets, like Vegemite for Australians,” says founder of Great Dane Furniture Anton Assaad. You’ll find this cute toy monkey hanging from the shelves throughout Great Dane’s recently opened Paddington showroom. “It harks back to a simpler time and reflects the humour and fun that’s inherent to Great Dane and Danish design,” says Assaad.
A few months ago, the search for the perfect home for this Australian luxury retailer of classic and modern Scandinavian furniture came to an end. Great Dane packed up its Redfern showroom of 15 years and overhauled a run-down three-storey building on Oxford Street in Paddington.
“We felt that a high-street showroom was a better reflection of the Great Dane brand, and we wanted a spot with a genuine sense of community and a sense of luxury. Apparently, according to a local, 100 years ago the building was a general store, so it feeds into that idea of community even more,” says Assaad.
Designed in collaboration with Nicky Lobo, a one-time editor of design magazine and website Habitus, the space takes its visitors on “a voyage through the forest” – transporting them from the bustle of Oxford Street to the woodlands of Scandinavia.
This journey begins on the forest (ground) floor, among rich, green-carpeted floors and wood and tan leather furnishings. From here the design winds its way up a carpeted staircase detailed with a magnificent hand-wrapped leather balustrade that took five days and 150 metres of leather to execute, and into the airy canopy of the first floor.
“Downstairs has a deliberately darker and moodier light, with a black ceiling and track lights, designed to create warmth and emphasise the beauty of materials. The skylights are designed to create a feeling of being amongst the clouds, having emerged from the green forest downstairs,” says Assaad.
Here the walls and floors are white and reindeer-hide rugs from Lapland carpet the floors. A Illum Wikkelso four-seater sofa is adorned with multi-textured, handmade Great Dane cushions, and Borge Mogensen’s Spanish Chair, an icon of mid-century design, has been reimagined in honour of its 60th-anniversary year.
“Fredericia has released a solid-oak version of the chair with an elegant olive-green saddle leather. They searched the master’s archive and discovered this subtle colour, one of his most loved hues and a dominating interior colour at the time,” says Assaad.
Every detail of the showroom is curated, from the music played in-store, to the lighting, the considered window displays and the signature scent intended to stir nostalgia for European woodlands.
“Great Dane’s creative director Megan [Marshall] and myself sat down and curated the entire collection, from the leather and finishes, to the settings and discussing how this all fits into the bigger Great Dane story of ‘Scandinavian luxury’, which is at the core of everything we do,” says Assaad.
Great Dane Paddington
344 Oxford Street, Paddington
(02) 9699 7677
Mon to Fri 10am–6pm
Want to do something else while you’re in the area? Here are some stores to visit.