In May I visited to the studio of Space Copenhagen to meet designers Signe Bindslev Henriksen and Peter Bundgaard Rützou. Space Copenhagen are big names in the design world with many renowned clients such as Noma, Georg Jensen and Mater. Being a multidisciplinary studio their work varies from large scale hotel design, restaurants, interiors, furniture, lighting and more. They pretty much do it all.
Happy and super stylish, Signe ran down to the gate, let me in and guided me to the studio. The place seemed so relaxed but also buzzing and hard at work. Full of furniture, lighting samples, prototypes and designs, it really was a working studio. We sat in the lounge/kitchen area and Peter joined us, he was also so super stylish, oh how I need to invest in some designer clothing in black!
We sat on the most beautiful Fly chairs,which felt surreal as they were designed by themselves for &Tradition. Signe and Peter spoke a bit about their design background. From meeting as students, 25 years ago, at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, the pair learnt a diverse set of skills. Both having a love for architecture and design, with similar ideals they began business together. 12 years on Space Copenhagen is a thriving studio with exciting plans of moving to a larger studio nearby.
In a relaxed fashion we continued the chat with the messiest and tastiest cakes ever, flødeboller mallow fluff cakes. I was slightly concerned that I’d get the mallow on the upholstery but I seemed to smear all over my face instead, nice.
Most recently Space cph completed the 11 Howard hotel in New York where they designed a conscious approach to hospitality. Conscious hospitality focusses on ‘awareness, purpose, and thoughtful consideration’ in all aspects of the hotel. Some rooms feature the Fly chairs but they look slightly different. Signe explains that they were made slightly smaller to fit within the rooms but still keeping the clubby lounge style. Peter stressed how important the human aspect is when considering design and interaction of a space, importantly the emotions received from it. This is reflected in their designs for 11 Howard and restaurant designs too. More hotel contracts are on the cards, one in particular caught my attention in East London with property developer Harry Handelsman. A project that I am very much looking forward to see!
I asked about their work for noma, voted as one of the best restaurants in the world, it must have made an impact on their career. However they responded humbly (and laid back) about how they’ve been friends with the Noma team from the start and have worked together for many years now. It’s a successful project and one to be proud of but in true Danish style they didn’t brag. Instead the pair showed appreciation for having a client that has great values, ones similar to their own, and pleased to express that within their design.
With an extremely busy schedule and deadlines looming, I needed to let Signe and Peter get back to work! I’d hate to have delayed any projects! In their friendly manner, they let me snoop around their studio to take a few pictures while they worked. I didn’t want to stay too long as I could tell they we super busy. But obviously I tried to see as much as I could! There were furniture designs on the floor, samples, prototypes and busy members of the team working away at their desks.
Once I took a few pictures, without trying to be too invasive, Signe kindly led me out (as I obviously can’t work complicated gates).
I expected this studio to be a reflection of their work and in a way it was. The ‘human’ aspect that Peter talks about is notably apparent within this studio, working, researching and relaxing zones. They dress impeccably and create the most incredible designs but don’t worry, they are human…. they do make mess! To be fair, they are moving studio soon and the only ‘mess’ I saw was an abundance of work, designs and samples. Which is the reality of a busy studio and indicator of how much work they have at one time.
To discover more work from Space Copenhagen, which I suggest you should!, take a look through their portfolio. Featuring product designs for &Tradition, Gubi, Mater, Fredericia furniture and Stellar works. Also their restaurant designs for Noma, Geist, Fiskebaren (a place I LOVE to visit), Kul, Balthazar…. How could I forget, retail design for Dinesen (swoon) and Fritz Hansen. You get the picture, their portfolio is huge.
*a huge thank you to Signe and Peter for taking time out and meeting with me. I’m truly inspired by the designs, ethos and passion to challenge and grow as a business and as a human.
*images source; Space cph, the &Tradition fly chair and noma are all courtesy of their companies websites, 2 studio images are my own.