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How long have you lived in Singapore?
My family and I lived in Hong Kong for 15 years before we came to Singapore, where we’ve now lived for ten. We’ve always lived in Bukit Timah, nowadays near Bukit Timah Plaza; we love the area’s laid-back, green feel.
How do you choose the brands for Danish Design?
Our team is extremely careful about looking for brands that meet our values. We believe that people’s environment influences their wellbeing, and that the furniture we surround ourselves with on a daily basis creates a large part of that environment.
We pride ourselves on our ecological focus; our furniture is high quality and it will last. Nothing is less ecological than a product with a short shelf life.
We aim to put the environment first, and only work with suppliers who follow environmentally and socially responsible policies with regard to the manufacture of their products. We believe our furniture helps improve the environment both aesthetically and from a resources perspective.
In hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently when you became managing director?
I would have expanded our showroom space earlier. It’s only been within the last two years that Danish Design has had its contiguous space to display its brands.
I would also have introduced the children’s bedding brands earlier as I feel parents need an alternative choice for their children – one that’s not only safe and lead-free (reducing any chemicals is a priority), but also imaginative. Kids need more time playing and less screen-time!
Why bring in Kuhl Home, and, more recently, children’s furniture brand Lifetime?
We wanted to offer customers a range of options for indoor and outdoor furniture at different price points while still ensuring it was all European-made, with excellent design and with nothing in it that might harm our customers! The Kuhl Home showroom houses the Bolia brand – all the furniture is made in Europe (most of it in Denmark), and Bolia is a signatory to the REACH code of conduct, which minimises any allergens in furniture production, including formaldehyde, CFCS, PFCS and heavy metals. We make sure all of our sofas and other furniture meet these criteria.
Sadly, there’s a large amount of furniture on the market in which these types of allergens, including carcinogenic formaldehyde, are formed, and they actually build up more over the lifetime of the furniture. We promise not to poison our customers – this is very important to me personally. Kuhl Home offers excellent design, and is ethically produced at a value-for-money price point.
Lifetime is a superb children’s furniture brand; it’s safe, fun and a complete concept. You get the full look, from beds and desks to bedding, cushions and lights.
How have you seen buying trends change?
All our brand sales continue to grow across our market, which caters for everyone in Singapore (the vast majority of our customers are Singaporean). People value quality and look at the lifetime cost of an item. I think the old adage is quite true, that once a piece of furniture is in your home you forget the price but you always remember the quality.
What are Danish Design’s perennial bestsellers?
They would be our Naver Hifi cabinet 2720 and our expanding round table SM32, along with the Trinidad chairs.
What pieces have you got your eye on for your own home?
My home is full of Danish Design and Kuhl Home products already! I do want to get Moo, the moose- head light by Northern Lighting, but my husband is resisting. I plan to install it when he’s next away on a business trip – let’s hope he doesn’t read this first!
On a serious note, I would like to add Montana to my living room as it offers a way to tailor your areas to your own personality and requirements. It’s excellent quality and very modular, so you can easily move it between houses as needed.
What golden piece of advice would you give to a newcomer arriving in Singapore?
Initially, I found the move from Hong Kong to Singapore quite difficult as I had a great set of friends and contacts there. It has only been since I’ve got involved in the British Club tennis team that I’ve felt more settled. So, find a club and a sport you love and get going – it helps you feel connected and involved.
If and when you leave, what will you miss most about living here?
I don’t plan on leaving for a very long time! It’s the environment and safety that I love most – feeling safe and secure wherever you go is excellent and so rare. I also really enjoy the feel of living two degrees north; the warmth and the sound of the cicadas are so soothing.