– a chic apart­ment in Den­mark is filled with its fash­ion de­signer owner’s trea­sures


Hanne Bloch de­signs ex­clu­sive swimwear that is sold world­wide. She has trav­elled ex­ten­sively all her life and has lived in Rome and Mi­lan. When her two chil­dren, Olivia and Vic­tor, left home, she couldn’t de­cide be­tween a move to the coun­try­side or to the cen­tre of Copen­hagen. In the end, in­stead of a ru­ral life­style she opted for an amaz­ing flat built in 1835 that is close to the sea and in the heart of the Dan­ish cap­i­tal city’s hus­tle and bus­tle.

The apart­ment had been com­pletely ren­o­vated by the pre­vi­ous owner, an ar­chi­tect, who had an eye for ex­quis­ite de­tail: a mar­ble floor in the kitchen and a beau­ti­ful min­i­mal­ist bath­room made by be­spoke Ital­ian com­pany Boffi.

The lay­out is ideal as Bloch can use the space as her home as well as a show­room, of­fice and meet­ing room for her epony­mous com­pany.

“I come from Jelling, a small vil­lage where my mother was a lit­tle ahead in mat­ters of dec­o­ra­tion,” says Bloch.

“She had great style, and I think I’ve in­her­ited her flair for or­gan­is­ing. If I had not been work­ing in fash­ion then I think I would have ended up in in­te­rior de­sign.”

In 2008, af­ter 20 years as a de­signer for the Ital­ian fash­ion house Mis­soni, Bloch de­cided to launch her own com­pany cre­at­ing ex­clu­sive swimwear.

Cit­ing her in­spi­ra­tions as dar­ing colour com­bi­na­tions, beau­ti­ful fab­rics, her fa­ther’s cuff­links and a love for re­fined de­tails, Bloch launched her solo col­lec­tion at Copen­hagen Fash­ion Week in 2008.

Af­ter her long, dis­tin­guished ca­reer at Mis­soni, Bloch’s sim­ple yet sexy and so­phis­ti­cated ap­proach

to her de­signs and sig­na­ture use of finely crafted, ham­mered gold bead­ing in her col­lec­tions, has led to in­ter­na­tional ac­claim for her swimwear and beach­wear line. Her many years in Italy have also in­flu­enced her in­ter­est in in­te­rior de­sign.

“I choose the unique, the in­spir­ing and I like hand­made items and fur­ni­ture,” she says.

Many of the items on dis­play in her home were trans­ported from her child­hood home.

“I grew up on a farm and many of the items in the apart­ment — like the big old glass bot­tles that my sis­ter used to brew beer — come from the farm.”

Bloch has placed the bot­tles on her din­ing ta­ble and uses them as vases. “They are in­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful when they catch the light dur­ing the day. In the morn­ing the kitchen is lit­er­ally

bathed in sun­light, so I en­joy sit­ting here drink­ing my morn­ing cof­fee,” she says.

The de­signer has al­lo­cated a small space on the din­ing room win­dowsill for her col­lec­tion of wooden items, in­clud­ing tiny mice and two wal­nuts that fea­ture carv­ings of naked women, a gift from an Ital­ian friend.

The apart­ment had del­i­cate brass han­dles on most of its doors and Bloch was so in­spired by them she de­cided to in­cor­po­rate them into her dec­o­rat­ing plans.

“It got me think­ing about in­te­grat­ing the brass as I dec­o­rated,” she says.

Once she had in­cor­po­rated her brass trea­sures, Bloch found ta­bles and other ac­ces­sories with brass at auc­tions and in an­tique shops to ac­com­pany them. An enor­mous brass cup­board dom­i­nates the din­ing room. Bloch de­signed it her­self and com­mis­sioned a black­smith to bring her cre­ation to life. Here she stores large dishes and other table­ware.

Plants also fea­ture heav­ily in Bloch’s apart­ment but not in the usual flow­ers-in-a-vase way. Huge fig and mi­mosa trees have been planted in pots to give the home an ex­otic feel.

Bloch also en­joys long walks in the area and in sum­mer­time goes swim­ming in the ocean. If she finds a beau­ti­ful branch she will bring it home to in­cor­po­rate into her in­te­rior in some way, of­ten in one of the African bowls and vases she chanced upon

I don’t re­ally think about why I dec­o­rate as I do. I just fall in love with an item be­cause I can feel that it will work in the space.

in an an­tique store some years ago.

She also trea­sures a col­lec­tion of pitch­ers she was given by a Turk­ish fam­ily when she and her fam­ily lived in Ankara some years ago.

“The whole col­lec­tion is very spe­cial to me. They can­not be bought any­where as they be­longed to the fam­ily,” she says.

None of the floors in the apart­ment are alike — the din­ing room floor was her­ring­bone par­quet in oak and the liv­ing room floor was pine. Bloch had trou­ble de­cid­ing how to get the two dif­fer­ent floor types to look alike and in the end opted for dra­matic black lac­quer.

“It adds a nice con­trast to the oth­er­wise white space with wooden pan­els,” she says. “I like to mix styles and ma­te­ri­als. Con­trasts cre­ate life and en­sure there is a cer­tain bal­ance.”

As an ex­am­ple of this, Bloch bought a bam­boo chair from Nor­mann Copen­hagen as a sculp­ture and has off­set its po­si­tion in the din­ing room with a brass floor lamp from her child­hood home. “The chair is a sculp­ture, re­ally, but it is also good to sit in.”

Art also plays a key role in Bloch’s per­sonal style. Each room fea­tures ei­ther one main eye-catch­ing paint­ing or a small col­lec­tion grouped to­gether.

A self-por­trait of her daugh­ter Olivia pre­vails over the liv­ing room and a large paint­ing by Dan­ish artist Kresten Hav­gaard com­ple­ments the decor in the kitchen.

Black and white images grouped to­gether in a cor­ner com­plete the dra­matic look.

The kitchen is min­i­mal­ist with cool mar­ble floors, which Bloch con­trasted with a time-worn wooden ta­ble and match­ing stools. She feels it rep­re­sents the or­ganic, soft and warm side of her per­son­al­ity and cre­ates the nec­es­sary bal­ance in the room.

“I don’t re­ally think about why I dec­o­rate as I do. I just fall in love with an item be­cause I can feel it will work in the space,” she says.

Bloch uses the same in­tu­ition and feel­ing to work out whether a de­sign works in her busi­ness.

Her of­fice is ar­ranged around a large work­ing ta­ble in the cen­tre of the room. A dra­matic, sculp­ture-like Flos lamp arcs over the ta­ble to cre­ate a state­ment of style.

Her daugh­ter Olivia, who has stud­ied at the Par­sons School of De­sign in New York, has just be­gun work­ing with her. Among her re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, Olivia mon­i­tors the brand’s so­cial me­dia and helps when a new col­lec­tion is to be de­signed.

“Olivia con­trib­utes with ded­i­ca­tion, in­tu­ition and fe­roc­ity, as can be seen in our lat­est col­lec­tion,” says Bloch.

“She in­ter­prets the el­e­gant and fem­i­nine look, and this has given our col­lec­tions a lit­tle more of an edge. She is also very creative and has made sev­eral works of art in my home.”

Qual­ity is im­por­tant to Bloch and she is not a fan of the pur­chase-and-throw-away cul­ture so preva­lent to­day.

“It is im­por­tant to me that what I buy for my home or man­u­fac­ture in my com­pany is of high qual­ity and long-last­ing.

“I pre­fer to have just one re­ally nice thing than many things we quickly get tired of. My home has be­come an ex­pres­sion of my whole life, both then and now.”

I pre­fer to have just one re­ally nice thing than many things we quickly get tired of. My home has be­come an ex­pres­sion of my whole life, both then and now.

Above: Bloch’s daugh­ter Olivia has joined her busi­ness and given the lat­est col­lec­tion “a lit­tle more edge”. Be­low: a large fig tree adds an ex­otic touch to the liv­ing room.

Above left: the large glass bot­tles and jars come from Bloch’s child­hood home where they were used for home-brewed beer. She now uses them as vases and has placed them where they catch the light. Right, above and be­low: carved wooden trea­sures, in­clud­ing tiny mice, are on dis­play on the liv­ing room win­dowsill.

Above: a bikini from Bloch’s cur­rent col­lec­tion.

Left: can­dle­sticks con­tinue the brass theme through­out the apart­ment. The plas­ter cast hands are of Bloch’s chil­dren, Olivia and Vic­tor.

Above left: a string lamp­shade up­dates the look of the brass floor lamp. The bam­boo chair was bought as a sculp­ture but can be used as

seat­ing. Above right: a large stain­less steel fridge takes up an en­tire wall in the kitchen.

Above: pink tow­els help soften the look of the Boffi bath­room and tie in with its mar­ble shower. Be­low: a small hall­way lies be­tween the din­ing room and guest room.

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