Con­tem­po­rary Dan­ish brands are boom­ing here in the UK. But why? And who do you need to know?

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents - Words RACHEL WARD AND AMY BRAD­FORD

The Dan­ish home’s air of nat­u­ral, un­stud­ied grace is not overly mas­cu­line or fem­i­nine, and thus em­braces all tastes. It never looks like the own­ers have tried too hard be­cause, for Danes, good de­sign is not a lux­ury for the few, but an in­te­gral part of ev­ery­day life for all. Also Den­mark, like the UK, has plenty of in­clement weather, which forces peo­ple to spend a lot of time in­doors, so well­be­ing at home is im­por­tant to them. All in all, it’s no won­der that the coun­try’s sig­na­ture style has caught on in a big way over here. Th­ese are the brands that should be on your radar.


Who’s be­hind the brand? It was es­tab­lished in 2015 by hus­ban­dand-wife team Kathrine and Per Gran Hartvigsen. What does it sell? Tak­ing an ‘ex­pres­sive ap­proach to Nordic de­sign’, AYTM works a rich pal­ette and plays with the con­trast be­tween matt and re­flec­tive sur­faces. The new col­lec­tion, from vases and poufs to side ta­bles, has a sense of un­der­stated lux­ury that’s best summed up as Dan­ish with an in­ter­na­tional out­look. How does it de­fine Dan­ish style? ‘ We chase light in the north, since it gets so dark in win­ter,’ says cre­ative di­rec­tor Kathrine. ‘Danes love open and bright spa­ces with lots of win­dows and doors that help us feel con­nected to the out­side. I also think our men­tal­ity and tem­per­a­ment are tuned in to sim­plic­ity and nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als.’ Where can I buy it? Dopo Do­mani (dopo-do­ has a good se­lec­tion and ships world­wide; in the UK, Cou­ver­ture & The Garb­store (cou­ver­ture­andthe­garb­ sells the brand’s ac­ces­sories.


Who’s be­hind the brand? It was es­tab­lished in 2000 by Betina Stampe. An ad­vo­cate of the joys of reg­u­larly switch­ing up your sur­round­ings, she aims to of­fer a wealth of choice so that you can cu­rate your home in a way that makes you feel happy. What does it sell? Each year Bloomingville re­leases two main col­lec­tions, five smaller ones and a Christ­mas range cov­er­ing ac­ces­sories, light­ing and fur­ni­ture – it even caters for chil­dren and pets. A con­stant source of in­spi­ra­tion, this in­te­ri­ors pow­er­house is es­pe­cially skilled at rein­ter­pret­ing the lat­est colour and ma­te­rial trends to fit with the nat­u­ral sim­plic­ity of the Dan­ish aes­thetic. How does it de­fine Dan­ish de­sign? ‘It tends to be straight­for­ward, yet ca­pa­ble of mak­ing a strong state­ment: that’s thanks to our ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the small de­tails, qual­ity of ma­te­ri­als and excellence of crafts­man­ship,’ says Stampe. Where can I buy it? The top UK stock­ist is Amara (


Who’s be­hind the brand? Though its look is highly con­tem­po­rary, this com­pany was set up in 1955 when Ulf Brøste, the son of a Dan­ish salt mer­chant, gath­ered to­gether a hand­ful of crafts­men and com­mer­cialised the man­u­fac­ture and ex­port of their prod­ucts. What does it sell? The in-house team at Broste Copen­hagen work with the nat­u­ral char­ac­ter and colour of ma­te­ri­als, cre­at­ing clean­lined pieces that cel­e­brate the sim­ple Nordic way of life. The brand’s of­fer­ing ex­tends to fur­ni­ture, light­ing, tex­tiles and art, but its table­top edit is par­tic­u­larly strong. How does it de­fine Dan­ish de­sign? ‘De­sign is in the na­tion’s DNA,’ says Broste Copen­hagen’s cre­ative di­rec­tor Char­lotte Thorhauge Bech. ‘ We grew up with clas­sic pieces and are sur­rounded by them ev­ery day. It’s raw and rus­tic, it uses nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als, sub­tle colours and is both fem­i­nine and mas­cu­line.’ Where can I buy it? Nordic House (nordi­c­ and Gra­ham & Green ( gra­hamand­


Who’s be­hind the brand? Hus­band-and-wife duo Rolf and Mette Hay and busi­ness­man Troels Holch Povlsen set up Hay in 2002, with the aim of pro­duc­ing new Dan­ish de­sign clas­sics that are ac­ces­si­bly priced. It now op­er­ates in 50 coun­tries. What does it sell? A colour­ful and cov­etable col­lec­tion of fur­ni­ture, ac­ces­sories and tex­tiles that reimag­ine 1950s and 60s Dan­ish Modernism for a con­tem­po­rary au­di­ence. Hay’s in-house team works with an im­pres­sive ros­ter of in­ter­na­tional de­sign­ers in­clud­ing Doshi Le­vien, Scholten & Bai­jings and the Bouroul­lec brothers. In 2016 the com­pany also launched light­ing la­bel un­der the cre­ative direc­tion of Bri­tish de­signer Se­bas­tian Wrong. A col­lec­tion with Ikea is set to be re­leased later in 2017. How does it de­fine Dan­ish de­sign? ‘ What Dan­ish de­sign can do is to care­fully bal­ance sim­plic­ity and warmth with func­tion­al­ity,’ says Rolf Hay. Where can I buy it? The full range is avail­able at the Hay store in Bath, while e-tailer Nest ( also has a good se­lec­tion.


Who’s be­hind the brand? Cre­ative di­rec­tor Kris­tian Byrge and his busi­ness part­ner Peter Bon­nén es­tab­lished Muuto, which means ‘new per­spec­tive’ in Fin­nish, a decade ago. The duo share an af­fec­tion for Nordic de­sign tra­di­tions and a de­sire to add to that her­itage. What does it sell? A func­tional, fairly min­i­mal­ist range of fur­ni­ture, light­ing and ev­ery­day ob­jects in a wider range of ma­te­ri­als and colours than is typ­i­cally as­so­ci­ated with Scan­di­na­vian de­sign. Muuto col­lab­o­rates with top de­sign­ers in­clud­ing Iskos-berlin, Nor­way Says and An­der­ssen & Voll, all of whom are given just two rules to fol­low: prod­ucts must have a Scan­di­na­vian feel and live up to the prom­ise of a new per­spec­tive. Its port­fo­lio in­cludes the al­ready iconic ‘Fiber’ chair and ‘Oslo’ sofa se­ries. How does it de­fine Dan­ish de­sign? ‘The Scan­di­na­vian tra­di­tion of cre­at­ing long-last­ing de­sign, fo­cus­ing on qual­ity and de­tails, with all the el­e­ments of a given de­sign be­ing there for a rea­son, is part of our cul­ture,’ says Byrge. Where can I buy it? London de­sign bou­tiques such as Haus (haus­lon­, Skandium ( and Twen­tytwen­ty­one (twen­tytwen­ty­, which all have on­line shops.


Who’s be­hind the brand? Af­ter a decade work­ing in the in­te­ri­ors in­dus­try, de­signer Louise Roe de­cided to go solo, set­ting up her epony­mous la­bel in 2010 with the aim of de­sign­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing so­phis­ti­cated pieces. What does it sell? El­e­gant cush­ions, throws and rugs with a graphic slant, plus hand­some home­wares crafted from au­then­tic ma­te­ri­als – think cut-glass vases, enamel bowls, mar­ble chop­ping boards and cop­per tealight hold­ers. Es­sen­tially, beau­ti­ful pieces with a pur­pose. How does it de­fine Dan­ish de­sign? ‘Dan­ish style is char­ac­terised by sim­plic­ity, match­ing colours, light tones, qual­ity crafts­man­ship and an aware­ness of our coun­try’s rich de­sign legacy,’ says Roe. ‘The Dan­ish way of dec­o­rat­ing a home is about cre­at­ing “the whole ex­pres­sion”. Ev­ery­thing fits to­gether and noth­ing is left to chance. Dan­ish peo­ple are quite house­proud and of­ten in­vite friends and fam­ily over for din­ner, and we want our homes to re­flect our per­sonal sense of style and per­son­al­ity.’ Where can I buy it? Roy­alde­ has a well-rounded se­lec­tion of the brand’s pieces, while ed­its are avail­able from Cou­ver­ture & The Garb­store (cou­ver­ture­andthe­garb­ and Made Mod­ern (made­mod­

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