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How did this Nordic furniture brand manage to invade Arab homes?

If you ask someone in the world what the most popular furniture brand is, chances are most of the answers will mention Swedish furniture giant IKEA, even in countries where there is none. IKEA warehouse. Over the past 40 years, IKEA has expanded its presence in the Middle East and significantly increased its audience. But what is their secret?

The famous furniture maker and retailer started with a small shop in the small Swedish town of Älmhult in 1943 owned by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad, who started his business at his uncle’s kitchen table selling fountain pens, encyclopedias, table runners, udder balm, reinforced socks for five years, before making a profit that helped him expand his business to include furniture that he sold mainly by mail order.

The name of IKEA, acronym of the name of the founder Ingvar Kamprad, and the name of the family farm where he was born Elmtaryd, and finally his hometown of Agunnaryd in the south of the country.

For decades, IKEA’s success has been attributed to the smart strategies followed by its executives to be a provider of a full furniture shopping experience and not just a typical furniture store, which helped develop the name of the brand over the years.

IKEA not only offers an endless number of high-quality modern and practical furniture, but also gives customers the opportunity to purchase individual pieces and mix and match furniture that meets their own needs and styles.

In addition, IKEA tailor-made services by market and region show a very careful approach to distribution and marketing, all based on in-depth studies that help to understand each market and its unique needs. For example, customers in most countries in the Middle East, especially the GCC, have for decades been offered the option of paying a little more money for the delivery and assembly of parts, which is a less popular option for customers in Europe or North America.

Over the past few years, IKEA has clearly updated its game on social media, using all platforms to market its products and reach as many people as possible. Taking it a step further, IKEA has also used high-tech tools to encourage customers to decorate their homes with IKEA products, offering AR and VR applications to help customers imagine their spaces with the new rooms.

The first IKEA store in the region opened in 1983 in Saudi Arabia, which now houses six different stores. In 1991, the UAE had its first branch and now has three in total, one of which is considered the largest in the region, in addition to the leading distribution center in the Middle East. Kuwait comes in third place with 2 stores from 1984, while Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco each have a single store.

The brand’s franchise in the Middle East is operated in cooperation with the Al-Sulaiman, Al-Homaizi and Al-Futtaim groups.

By building IKEA stores, the Nordic brand has made every effort to stand out in a highly competitive world, which is why it is known as a supplier with great experience; including fun shopping, friendly service and a solid product.

In most countries in the region, IKEA includes a huge showroom in addition to a space for children, making it a welcoming place for families. In addition, the restaurant which offers Nordic dishes not found in many other places in the Middle East makes it an attraction for people looking for a place to hang out while shopping around the store; which ends up buying a few unforeseen products, maintaining the sales and popularity of the brand.

As more and more countries in the Middle East prepare to welcome IKEA stores, like Oman, it makes sense to wonder whether the brand will remain as popular over the next decades and whether or not there will be competitors. Arabs soon.

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Japandi: The beautiful marriage between Japanese and Nordic design

Over the last decade, the definition of luxury has moved away from ostentation and garishness to be sleek and subtle … a refined aesthetic that speaks more of quality and materials. Under this renewed concept, craftsmanship, local materials, minimalist design and the classic “less is more” find their relevance. The Nordic and Japanese styles highlight this very philosophy, each in their own way. When the two are mixed together, a unique, curious A new concept emerges, called Japandi. Let’s explore this style in detail.

What does Japandi mean?

The word is the union of Japanese and Scandinavian (Scandinavian). The origin of this style can be traced back to when Danish designers and creatives began to travel to Japan, when the 220-year-old border closure policies were finally lifted. Around this time, their designs began to be influenced by this enigmatic and fascinating new oriental aesthetic.

The first traces of this design style can be seen in Danish ceramic craftsmanship, architecture and furniture. It is true that both design philosophies – Wabi-Sabi from Japan and Hygge from Denmark appreciate simplicity, minimalism and natural materials, so it was only a matter of time before the two were mixed into the design.

Many Danish furniture follows this design trend. Photo credit: Hutomo Abrianto / Unsplash

How to decorate in the Japandi style?

Minimalism is essential

This applies to furniture and decor and, of course, the style relies heavily on zero clutter. Choose functional and simple furniture, without any OTT ornamentation.

Keep it natural

The design philosophy emphasizes the importance of nature. In this style, wood is a dominant element, natural, without varnish. But wood is not just limited to furniture, it can be used extensively on walls and floors. Along with that, the style encourages users to bring lots of plants inside spaces.

Plants play a very important role in the Japandi style. Photo credit: Lauren Mancke / Unsplash

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Laura Ashley collapse brought down the Long Eaton furniture group


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Laura Ashley’s collapse led to the downfall of Long Eaton-based JDP Furniture Group, it emerged.

JDP Furniture was a holding company for the Celebrity Motion Furniture, Welbeck House, Wade Upholstery, JDP Frames, Ikon by Celebrity, Cintique, Celebrity and Arlo & Jacob brands.

Some 290 jobs were lost at the company last month after the call from FRP Advisory directors in early April.

As soon as the appointment was made, a marketing process was launched to find a buyer for JDP Frames and Welbeck House. However, no acceptable offers were received to keep the companies in business. As a result, the joint directors have now closed the companies permanently and laid off 281 employees (JDP Frames: 76; Welbeck House: 205).

It has since emerged that when Laura Ashley was put into administration in March, she owed Welbeck House £ 1.7million. This loss, combined with a drop in sales and the onset of the cornonavirus pandemic, caused the company to collapse.

At the end of May, the co-directors of H&F Upholstery, which operates as Arlo & Jacob, sold the company to a vehicle controlled by furniture retailer Mark Smith.

The 31 employees of H&F Upholstery were transferred by TUPE to the buyer, along with seven other employees of the JDP Furniture group who had been retained by the joint directors to support their work.

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Over 250 jobs lost after collapse of Long Eaton furniture group

Hundreds of employees at a Long Eaton furniture company were laid off after attempts to find a buyer failed.

JDP Furniture Group Limited – a holding company of the Celebrity Motion Furniture, Welbeck House, Wade Upholstery, JDP Frames, Ikon by Celebrity, Cintique, Celebrity and Arlo & Jacob brands – appointed FRP Advisory last month as directors.

The company’s head office is based on Wellington Street in Long Eaton.

The directors of JDP Furniture have now announced the closure of subsidiaries JDP Frames Limited and Welbeck House Limited after being unable to find a buyer – both are also based in Long Eaton.

As a result, the directors have now closed the companies for good and laid off 281 employees, including 76 in total at JDP Frames and 205 at Welbeck House.

Nathan Jones and John Lowe of specialist business consultancy FRP were appointed joint directors of JDP Furniture Group Limited and its subsidiaries on Thursday, April 2.

Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, all manufacturing operations had ceased on March 25 across the group.

After the appointment of FRP, a marketing process was initiated to find a buyer for JDP Frames Limited and Welbeck House Limited.

However, he announced that no acceptable offers had been received to keep the companies in business.

A handful of core staff have been retained on short notice to assist directors in their duties within each company.

JDP Furniture Group Limited, the group’s holding company, was also closed.

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A core team was retained in the short term to help with the orderly liquidation of the Group, while nine other employees were made redundant.

Meanwhile, the directors continue to develop their interest in H&F Upholstery, which operates as Arlo & Jacob, after acceptable offers were made for the company.

A voluntary corporate agreement (CVA) is expected to be offered to creditors of Celebrity Motion Furniture Limited as the directors seek to restructure the business and return control to the directors.

Nathan Jones, co-administrator at FRP, said: “Without any acceptable offer for JDP Frames and Welbeck House, these companies will now be fully liquidated and, unfortunately, the staff will be laid off.

“Following a consultation process, we help affected staff to make complaints to the severance pay office. “

Carol Hart, Head of Erewash Borough Council, said: “I am so sad to hear that these long-standing local businesses had to leave.

“I am very sorry for the company and for those who lost their jobs.

“Grants were approved for some of the smaller businesses, but others fell through the cracks and could not be saved.

“The company has brought a fantastic reputation to Long Eaton and Erewash as a whole, employing many local people over the years.

“This is devastating news.”

Over the past two years, the company had lost a total of £ 5.5million with revenues down by over £ 10million.

Accounts show that JDP employed 540 people at its Long Eaton plant as of January this year.

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Israel’s largest furniture group turns to Infor to integrate its supply chain

TEL AVIV, Israel, January 13, 2020 / PRNewswire / – Inform, a global leader in industry-specific enterprise cloud software, today announced Aminach, that of Israel largest furniture company, embarks on an enterprise resource planning (ERP) project with Infor M3 . The project, which is managed by Infor’s partner Intentia Israel, will serve 280 users in 46 stores nationwide and the manufacturing site of Israel.

Aminach chose Infor M3 (version 13.4) after reviewing a number of competing ERP solutions with the help of a professional consulting company. Infor M3 was chosen because of its depth of functionality; the fact that it can support both Aminach’s manufacturing and commercial operations and because of the level of integration between the different modules. Aminach’s business processes were then mapped to meet the requirements for synergy between all technology systems and establish a standard of organizational work process and supply chain management.

Infor M3 is expected to provide Aminach with a range of capabilities required by a manufacturer and distributor distributed to multiple branch offices, such as managing retail chain stores, managing item and product infrastructure, managing supply chain, production planning and management, cost and financial management, and technical service system management.

The project will take place in two stages. The first phase, which started in May 2019 and hope to end in January 2020, the financial module, network and pricing being integrated in all the company’s branches, will be connected to an order interface as well as to all existing systems such as inventory and production planning. The second phase, which should start in april 2020 and end in January 2021, will integrate production and supply chain management, comprehensive and comprehensive branch management capabilities.

“Infor M3 provides best practices across various manufacturing, distribution and retail verticals based on the experience of thousands of organizations around the world and therefore does not require development or customization. , which saves time and money, “said Amichay Keidar, Intentia project area manager. “The ERP solution supports organizational change and manages the fact that running a manufacturing and distribution business requires flexibility and the ability to react quickly to market changes over many years. “

“More and more organizations are realizing that the experience and expertise of the ERP implementation and solution teams is of tremendous importance,” said Eli Maisels, CEO of Intentia. “Aminach joins a number of leading Israeli organizations who have chosen Infor M3 as a comprehensive knowledge-based solution that enables them to operate in their local and international markets in a fluid and productive manner.”

Infor M3 provides industry specific features and best practices for industries such as furniture, plastics, chemicals, metal, packaging, fashion, food, and pharmaceuticals. The ERP solution has been successfully implemented by many Israeli organizations, including Delta Galil, Angel Bakery, Dexel, Carmel Wineries and Carmel frankel.

About Aminach

The Aminach Group is that of Israel largest furniture company. For more than 80 years, Aminach has supplied all that of Israel leader in sleep and hospitality solutions with uncompromising quality. Aminach has set new standards for quality sleep in Israel. Aminach manufactures and markets these leading brands: Aminach, King Koil, Spapa, Bed and Half, Swissflix adjustable systems, Serta, American Comfort, Innovation and more. Read more.

About Intentia Israel

Intentia Israel is the regional representative of Infor. Intentia offers experienced ERP experts, with in-depth knowledge of processes in various industries and rich experience in complex inter-organizational IT projects in Israel and abroad. Intentia Israel’s experience and professionalism have earned it numerous Infor Excellence Awards over the years.

About Infor
Infor is a global leader in industry-specific enterprise cloud software. With 17,300 employees and more than 68,000 customers in more than 170 countries, Infor software is built for progress. For more information, please visit www.infor.com.

Infor customers include:

  • The top 20 aerospace companies
  • 9 of the 10 largest tech companies
  • 14 of the 25 largest healthcare delivery networks in the United States
  • 19 of the 20 largest American cities
  • 18 of the top 20 automotive suppliers
  • 14 of the top 20 industrial distributors
  • 13 of the world’s 20 largest retailers
  • 4 of the 5 best brewers
  • 17 of the world’s top 20 banks
  • 9 of the 10 biggest hotel brands in the world
  • 7 of the 10 biggest luxury brands in the world

For more information:
Richard moore
[email protected]


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Home furniture group AHFA elects 2020 board of directors

HIGH POINT, NC – John E. “Jeb” Bassett, COO / Senior Vice President of Bassett Furniture Industries, was elected 2020 Chair of the American Home Furnishings Alliance Board of Directors at the organization’s 2019 annual meeting in Miami, Florida on October 31.

Roger Bland, President and CEO of Southern Motion, as Senior Vice President, and Joe Johnston, CEO of Johnston Casuals, as Second Vice President, will join Bassett on the AHFA 2020 Executive Committee 2019 AHFA President Gat Caperton, CEO of Gat Creek Furniture, remains a member of the Executive Committee as Past President.

All new officers take up their duties on January 1.

The newly elected executives to three-year terms on the AHFA Board of Directors are: Andy Bray, Vanguard Furniture; Eric Graham, Johnathan Charles; Caroline Hipple, Norwalk Furniture; Jeremy Hoff, Hooker Furniture; Allan Palecek, Palecek; and Todd Wanek, Ashley Furniture Industries.

Continuing on the board of directors, the terms of office expiring at the end of 2021 are: Edward Audi, Stickley; Roy Calcagne, master craftsman; Nathan Cressman, Ameublement Magnussen; Kurt Darrow, La-Z-Boy Inc .; Luke Simpson, Durham Furniture; Henry Vanderminden IV, Casual Telescope Furniture; and Ron Wanek, Ashley Furniture Inds.

Board members whose terms expire at the end of 2020 include Doug Bassett, Vaughan-Bassett Furniture; Bruce Birnbach, American leather; Steve Lehman, Smith Brothers of Berne; Gary McCray, Klaussner Outdoor; and Jeff Scheffer, Universal Furniture.

Heather Corrigan, Lectra, Smyrna, GA, and Richard Weeks, Leggett & Platt, High Point, NC, are the 2020 vendor representatives on the AHFA Solutions Partners Board of Directors.

AHFA is based in High Point and represents over 230 leading furniture manufacturers and distributors, as well as approximately 150 suppliers to the furniture industry around the world. The association advocates for the residential furniture industry in Washington, DC, on all legislative and regulatory matters and leads the development of voluntary environmental, product safety and construction standards for home furnishings. . Membership is open to all furniture manufacturers and distributors for the US market.

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Furniture collection reinterprets Nordic design, with help from Formica

The Kolho series combines coiled Scandinavian plywood with angular Formica planers.

Courtesy of Perttu Saksa

Formica laminate, the ubiquitous material for 1950s kitchen and dining counters, now covers tables and chairs by Kolho, a Made by Choice collection inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and of the industrial heritage of the eponymous Finnish city. The series was born out of a collaboration between the Finnish furniture company, American artist Matthew Day Jackson and Formica Group.

The Kolho collection consists of dining tables and chairs, as well as coffee tables, lounge chairs and two seats. The furniture is mostly made of plywood – true to its Scandinavian roots – and a special Formica laminate. This textured material, called MDJ Kuu, refers to the surface of the moon. (Kuu means “moon” in Finnish.) With its serpentine armrests and legs (representing chaos, according to Jackson) coupled with the angular planes in Formica (symbolizing reason), Kolho plays with both novelty and respect for the tradition.

“[Jackson] created something… almost radical, but still has that Nordic DNA, ”notes Niclas Ahlström, co-founder of Made by Choice. “I think it really opens people’s eyes to innovation in furniture design.

You can also enjoy “Sitting Alone in Public: How the Cafe Chair Defined Modern Urban Culture”.

Would you like to comment on this article? Send your thoughts to: [email protected]

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East Asian and Nordic design


The increasingly delicate question of cultural appreciation versus cultural appropriation offers few easy answers, but sometimes examples of fair exchange do occur. ‘Silent Beauty: Nordic and East-Asian Interaction’ at the Ateneum art museum in Helsinki aims to advocate for such an encounter.

Picking up where ‘Japanomania in the Nordic Countries 1875-1918’ (at the Ateneum in 2016) left off, the current exhibition features work from Finland, Sweden and East Asia from the 1920s to nowadays, with an emphasis on the art of the 1950s and 1960s. Paintings, woodcuts, ceramics, glass, textiles and architecture illustrate two ideas: first, that there are inherent similarities in taste between regions and, second, that an important artistic exchange took place during this period. While the West’s borrowings from East Asia have been explored in depth, the curators of the exhibition claim that this is the first exhibition on “the two-way interaction between cultures”.

Marsh bird (1961), Jaakko Sievänen. Photo: © National Gallery of Finland / Jouko Könönen

Grouped into sections with titles such as “Still Lives”, “Sky and Water”, etc., the exhibition is, as the name suggests, visually guided. And, to a point, this curatorial approach works very well. The aesthetic experience is calming: the commonalities highlighted here are a taste for simplicity, a nuanced approach to color, and an appreciation for natural materials. These thematic sections can seem repetitive at times – as in the variations on pine forests in “Forest and Trees”, which sometimes fall into kitsch – but the overall effect is pleasantly meditative. Some of the most compelling works here are the quietest. Gunnar pohjola Arctic landscape (1964) is an example: a discreet arrangement of impastos of paint and fragments of fabric expressing the cold majesty of Lapland.

Bol (1956), Soji Hamada.

Bowl (1956), Shoji Hamada. Japan Folk Crafts Museum, Tokyo

The ceramics are also discreetly amazing. Large stoneware pots – plates, bowls and vessels – by Japanese masters Shoji Hamada and Kanjiro Kawai are accompanied by earlier Korean and Japanese pieces by unknown craftsmen. Next to these are pieces by Finnish potters, including Kyllikki Salmenhaara, who lived in Taiwan in the 1960s and founded an influential ceramics school there. His sculptural vases are often tossed with a grogged clay, speckled with impurities: a decision reminiscent of the Japanese aesthetic philosophy of wabi-sabi, expressed by Salmenhaara in a distinctly mid-century form. Their roughly-hewn texture finds an echo in the large abstract paintings by Finnish painter Ahti Lavonen on display nearby, especially the earth-like surface of his Untitled (1961).

Untitled (1961), Ahti Lavonen.

Untitled (1961), Ahti Lavonen. Photo: © National Gallery of Finland / Yehia Eweis

That ceramics are one of its flagship pieces does honor to the exhibition, which breaks down the hierarchy between the so-called fine arts and the applied arts by presenting them on an equal footing. This approach has an elegant connection to the history of the Ateneum, which once housed both the Finnish Art Society’s Drawing School and the School of Applied Arts, and where ceramics was taught by Alfred William Finch, an Englishman of Belgian origin whose works (exhibited) were influenced by Japanese pottery – an influence he brought to his teaching.

Of the 270 works, a third come from the permanent collection of the Ateneum; the biggest lender is the Japan Folk Crafts Museum in Tokyo. And here a stumbling block arises: the proportion of works by Finnish artists inspired by East Asia far exceeds that of East Asian artists inspired by the Nordic countries. (In 2020 the exhibition will travel to Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde in Stockholm, where more works will be Swedish).

Bowl (late 18th century - 19th century), Takeo Karatsu ware, Japan.

Bowl (vs. late 18th century-19th century), Takeo Karatsu ware, Japan. Japan Folk Crafts Museum, Tokyo

The displays also suffer from a certain woolly appearance, which could have been avoided had there been more specific information on who was influenced by what and how (although the accompanying catalog is somewhat of a fix. ). For example, while visitors learn that Soetsu Yanagi, Japanese philosopher and founder of the Mingei folk craft movement, visited both Stockholm and Helsinki, there is no attempt to explain how this experience affected Yanagi or movement in the broad sense. Yet this work in which the Nordic influence on East Asian manufacturers is clearly demonstrated is convincing.

Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s Water Church (1988) in Hokkaido closely resembles Finnish duo Kaija and Heikki Siren’s Otaniemi Chapel (1957) in the forests near Espoo, pictured here in a silent film. Both feature a glass altar wall in which an unadorned cross highlights an open space, providing an environment for contemplation of the material world as well as the immaterial. The emphasis in both buildings on natural materials – wood, metal, water – further testifies to this shared sensibility. The bold, hand-printed patterns of Samiro Yunoki’s cotton fabrics from the 1960s bear more than a fleeting resemblance to textiles from Marimekko, the Finnish design company whose fashion was in fashion during that decade. To assert its point more forcefully, the show could do with more examples like these.

Interpreting the back and forth of influence across a century and across countries can be a complex affair. An oil painting by Japanese artist Kotaro Migishi titled Garden with snow (1928) is described by Tsutomu Mizusawa in the catalog as an example of “Japonism by the Japanese people, for the Japanese people”: a European view of Japan reflected through Japanese eyes. Another hybrid is an undated terracotta bowl by Takeuchi Seijiro. With an unglazed exterior and a flickering rim expressive of Japanese folk craftsmanship, it also wears feathered slipware decoration – as delicious as the cherry on a millefeuille – belonging to the English vernacular tradition rekindled by Bernard Leach. Slipware gained popularity in Japan due to Yanagi’s admiration for these wares and Leach and Hamada’s involvement in the Mingei movement. It is through this exchange that the visitor is offered important wall texts on Leach pottery in St Ives, Cornwall, and examples of Leach’s work. But against the backdrop of an exhibition purportedly on Nordic influence, the presence of the English potter seems confusing. If on the question of a shared aesthetic “Silent Beauty” is clear, its more ambitious argument is rather opaque.

‘Silent Beauty: Nordic and East Asian Interaction’ is at the Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki, until October 6.

Extract from the October 2019 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here.

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Entry point for collectable Nordic design – TLmagazine

Focusing exclusively on unique contemporary works, limited edition pieces and collectibles, Graphic design brings together established designers and emerging talents whose practices and originality contribute to the development of the Nordic design scene from August 30 to September 1. Showcasing both internationally renowned practitioners and local talent, Chart Design presents a unified entry point to the Nordic collectible design scene.

Chart is the leading Nordic event for art, design and architecture, taking place at two historic venues in central Copenhagen: the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and the Den Frie Center of Contemporary Art. Design has been an integral part of Chart for several years and in 2018 Chart launched a fully-fledged design fair and curated program. This year, Chart Design will focus exclusively on contemporary practices and strengthen engagement with emerging talent on the Nordic scene.

It will showcase the leading Nordic design galleries that work with designers, artists and artisans who push the boundaries and definitions of collectible design. The galleries will showcase the diversity of the scene, ranging from textile pieces by Kuoshi Yamamoto (RAM Galleri), experimental ceramic works by Sigve Knutson (Galleri Format Oslo) to socially critical wooden furniture by Fredrik Paulsen (Etage Projects). Exhibiting in unison in several historic halls of Den Frie, the CHART Design fair will present an assortment of practitioners who are currently at the forefront of the design scene, inventing and revisiting local traditions of craftsmanship and design. as well as international themes.

The ambition of CHART Design is to create an entry point for Nordic collectible design. We have a strong design history in the Nordic countries and in recent years we have seen tremendous development in the field of a younger and increasingly interdisciplinary generation. We want to stimulate this development by bringing together the various actors working in the field, ranging from gallery owners and professionals to working artists, designers and craftsmen to collectors and the public.»- Nanna Hjortenberg, Graphic Director

All images: Chart Design 2019, by Joakim Zücker

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Elevating collectible Nordic design to the world stage – SURFACE


Nanna Hjortenberg has taken advantage of Copenhagen’s creative strongholds to propel the annual CHART fair into a must-see destination for premium collectible design and art.


August 28, 2019

Form of Alejandro Urrutia. Photograph by David Stjernholm

The influence of the mid-century Scandinavian masters is almost universal. To say they were revolutionary is an understatement – their use of warm, thoughtful materials and traditional craftsmanship continue to imbue spaces around the world with ease and comfort. But a lot has changed since the ideas of the middle of the century. The unmistakable design heritage of the Nordic region has evolved dramatically, spawning a whole new generation of limit-pushing artists and designers, determined to avoid convention and push materials into unexpected territories.

These change agents, including emerging and established designers like Sigve Knutson, Sabine Marcelis and Maria Bruun, will soon be heading to CHART, a three-day celebration of Nordic art and design that will occupy two historic locations in the heart of Copenhagen. . . The lineup spans the gamut from pop-up pavilions and round tables to an international presentation of the museum by Museo Tamayo de Mexico, which reveals an installation by Portuguese artist Alexandre Estrela. “In recent years we have witnessed a tremendous development in the creative fields of a younger and increasingly interdisciplinary generation,” explains Nanna Hjortenberg, Director of CHART. “We want to stimulate this development by bringing together these different players. Area discusses with Hjortenberg before the fair for information.

Red open white heart by Maria Koshenkova. Photograph by Kurt Rodahl Hoppe, courtesy Sirin Gallery

First of all: how did you become director of CHART?

I have worked in the field of architecture, design and art for many years. After studying art history, I started working in architecture studios and at the Danish Architecture Center, where I became responsible for exhibitions. I produced exhibitions such as “World Architecture: Zaha Hadid” in 2013, the only one-man exhibition of the late architect in Denmark, which focused on all of her practice: architecture, technology, design and art. I am currently collaborating with SANAA on an exhibition on their architectural practice but also discussing their furniture designs and artistic approach. CHART is essentially a return to my roots in art history while channeling my encounters with design and architecture, which are the three main pillars of CHART.

What sparked your passion for art?

It’s hard to say. My parents took me on marathons of museum tours across Italy and France, and I have always been drawn to the visuals. I appreciate aesthetics in everyday life and I am inspired by the intersections of artistic disciplines: fields where design, architecture and art overlap, merge, inspire and challenge each other .

What initiatives have you brought to CHART?

I started as a director four months before last year’s edition, so it was like a baptism by fire. This year, however, I have re-evaluated our entire program and slowly set my sights on the next few years.

We are launching several new initiatives this year. One is a collaboration on an exhibition with the Museo Tamayo, our first with an international institution. There is currently a strong exchange between the art spheres in Mexico and the Nordic countries, and I wanted CHART to further foster this relationship. The Museo Tamayo will present an installation by Portuguese artist Alexander Estrela, who is exhibiting for the first time in the Nordic region.

assorted works by Sigve Knutson. Photograph by Øystein Thorvaldsen

How is CHART different from other annual art fairs?

We present a large public program that offers exhibitions, lectures, performances, artist films and concerts alongside the two fairs – a contemporary showcase of the main Nordic galleries and a fair dedicated to contemporary regional collectible design. We welcome two very different groups: dedicated professionals such as collectors, curators, museums and gallery owners, and a large general audience ranging from young creatives to families.

This is also seen in fairs, where galleries present collective presentations in museum halls, rather than in individual booths. Developing collegial relationships between galleries and creating a unified entry point into the Nordic gallery scene has been one of our core values ​​from the start.

CHART also seeks to combine genres and break down barriers between categories. We exhibit art with design, architecture and all intermediate disciplines. We have three initiatives for young talent: an organized art exhibition, a design exhibition and an open pavilion competition for newly graduated architects, all of which aim to support the next generation of Nordic creatives.

Did you have growing pains?

We are still struggling with growing pains, which can take a while to set in. Humorously enough – or perhaps ironically – our biggest challenge is also our strength. On two legs, with trade shows one and public agenda the other, we channel the strength of a market-driven event and a central ambition to serve the general public. Making these two sides complement each other is difficult, but also where our activities can have the greatest impact.

Armchair by Fredrik Paulsen. Photograph by Viktor Sjödin, courtesy of Stage Projects

Passive Aggressive (Who Do You Think You Are) by Kiyoshi Yamamoto. Photograph courtesy of Ram Galleri

How do you approach growth?

Our visitors increased by 50 percent last year, which surprised everyone. This year, we are focusing on two main areas. The first is to raise the quality of our program, which includes inviting the Museo Tamayo to collaborate. The second is to create a more cohesive program, where visitors can truly immerse themselves in the content. For example, our lecture program will only focus on artists presenting works or performances. Thus, our audience can discover the work, discover a new practice and even meet the artist. We actively encourage in-depth discussions rather than just sharing new perspectives.

What are CHART’s long-term goals?

We aim to further stimulate the spheres of contemporary Nordic art and design both locally and internationally. More and more international visitors are coming to Copenhagen for CHART, which is great. More and more locals are also participating in our program. Our goal is to keep this momentum forward while increasing our overall quality. There are so many massive art fairs. We just want to maintain an accessible size and focus where visitors actually have time to see and experience it, which leaves a lasting impression.

How would you describe the emerging spheres of art and design in Denmark?

A multitude of practices with a fun approach. We see many emerging artists and designers working across mediums and genres, from performances and artwork to design objects. It is underlined by an experimental approach which is reflected in our program.

Same Same But Different by Gitte Bjorn. Photograph by Ole Akhøj, courtesy of Koppe Contemporary Objects

How does CHART give back to the creative communities of Copenhagen?

For some artists, CHART is their first presentation after graduation. They are presented to gallery owners, curators, journalists and collectors from all over the world. Looking back, CHART has been an important springboard for their careers. CHART is also one of the rare places where the whole cultural ecosystem is found on the same level: gallery owners, artists, designers, architects, collectors, patrons and professionals are all present, generating a fruitful dynamic that supports the local community.

What’s the best part of your job?

Working with extremely dedicated and passionate people, from gallery owners to artists and my own very hardworking team, even with all the madness that entails.

CHART will take place from August 30 to September 30. 1 in two places in Copenhagen: Charlottenborg Palace, Nyhavn, 2 1051, and Den Frie Center of Contemporary Art, Oslo Pl. 1, 2100.

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