How would you describe Normann Copenhagen’s unique style and aesthetic?
A Normann Copenhagen product is original, bold and eye-catching. It has a simple and contemporary design that withstands the test of time. At the same time, they ooze with character. It is innovative in function, form or use of material and it often has an element of playfulness to it.
When starting a new project, what is the creative process each product goes through?
It varies depending on the product. There is of course a tremendous amount of steps involved in creating any given product. In fact, far too many for me to outline here, but a very rough process description would be something like this: When we see a product that we would like to put into production the first step is to enter into a dialogue with the designer about the product, the collaboration and plans for development. Sometimes they contact us with a proposal and other times it is the other way around. When all the details are in place, we need to select some nice colours for the product and have prototypes made. When we receive them we note the adjustments we need to make so new and improved samples can be started. We keep at it until the result is just the way we want it. Only then do we move forward with the actual production.
When looking for new ideas, is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?
We choose products that we think bring something new and hopefully unexpected to the world of design. For example, it can be a new shape, an added function or a reinterpretation of a product all together that catches our eye and inspires us to move forward. We don’t just launch a product according to its type or what we think is missing in our collection. It has to be the right product. Something that we look at and think ‘this is special, something that we haven’t seen before’.
How do you view the development of storage products in interior design?
Storage is a very wide area within interior design, and it is almost impossible to make general claims about the development of it. We have focused on making flexible storage solutions because we think this fits well with what people need in their lives today. In our experience people want storage that they can use in different rooms and for different types of storage no matter if you live in a big or small space. But storage is no longer just a way to solve a practical everyday problem of organizing and hiding away clutter. People look for elegant solutions with a design that they can enjoy looking at every day and we aim to meet that demand.
Clarify for us the Scandinavians obsession with form and function
It is much easier to create something that is just beautiful than something which is both beautiful and functional. It is the balance between the two which is the hardest to achieve for a designer and what makes a customer go back to a specific product over and over again.
Why is the emphasis at Normann Copenhagen on traditional materials put into untraditional use?
We like to challenge conventional thinking and aim to make the ordinary extraordinary through good and innovative design. In order to do this, we need to keep questioning how we do things so we hopefully keep adding something new to the world of design. We do this partly by the way in which we use materials, but this is not a rule for every design we make. With some products it might be the function or the shape itself that add something new. The most important thing is to take the unique properties of each product into account.
How long does it generally take to develop a product from design, through prototype and production and into shops?
It depends very much on the type of product we are talking about. We produce everything from vases, textiles and kitchen utensils to lighting and furniture, and of course some items require a longer development process, like a chair for example. There is so much work that goes into even the smallest details on such a product, though a smaller item for the home can also prove quite complicated to make. It also depends on how finished the design concept is when we see it. Sometimes a designer has a 3D rendering and other times he has a full scale model or prototype. It is always difficult as the material, the shape or even the function might not work in the way you had imagined when the prototype gets made. Or perhaps is does, but then the manufacturing process might be too complicated and you end up with a product which is far too expensive compared to what we had in mind. Then we make adjustments until the product is just right. I would say that a product can take anywhere from approx. 6 months to around 3 years to develop depending on various factors.
Which beautifully designed storage or organising product do you covet?
Dieter Rams’ Universal Shelving System.
Is simplicity of design and attention to detail something most Scandinavians grow up taking for granted?
I think most Scandinavians who care about design not only are aware of these characteristics but also appreciate them tremendously. One of the most difficult things in design is to create something simple. There is so little room for error. Not a single curve or angle can be wrong or it can ruin the entire design. That’s where the attention to detail comes in. Well-considered details help to complete a product and give it character.
Do you have any great organising tips you can pass on?
Make sure you have lots of storage for all the smaller items you never know where to put. These can really make your home look cluttered and messy very quickly. It’s much nicer to look at a decorative box, jar or container than a pile of bits and bobs. Also, make sure to use your walls. Shelving or a bookcase of course provides lots of useful storage, but you can also get different wall-mounted storage that fit perfectly even on narrow walls like our Pocket Organizers, for example. They don’t take up more space than around 10-15 cm. You can hang as many of them as you have room for, mix and match colours to create your own look and use them for storing everything from office supplies to kitchen utensils and plants in.
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