Page 1

No.9 Vol. 1/2009



hiromichi Konno


RIN™ “The Japanese word RIN means an appearance that is stunning, elegant and courageous. It also means a single flower - in a way, the chair looks like a flower standing still. I think this relates to the image of RIN™ chair.” Hiromichi Konno

RIN™ chair designed by Hiromichi Konno and A825 table designed by Arne Jacobsen


No.9 Vol. 1/ 2009



EDITOR’S NOTE 5 Similarities in Danish and Japanese design. CEO Jacob Holm introduces the issue.


Visit the Hiberus Hotel in Zaragoza, 50 years with the Swan™, new models, new colours and more...


Seven contemporary talents get colourful with a modern classic.


Hiromichi KONNO 16

Hiromichi Konno has created a stunning, new chair called R IN ™. Meet the shooting star.

the Rin™ CHAIR 18 Sense and simplicity. Have a closer look at the new Fritz Hansen collection.



Fritz Hansen resumes production of Arne Jacobsen’s fantastic Grand Prix chair from 1957.


The influence of Japan on Danish modernism.

KJÆRHOLM IN K YOTO 32 Simple and exclusive. Architect Poul Kjærholm’s furniture set in a traditional Kyoto home.


Rud Christiansen, the entrepreneur behind The Royal Café in Copenhagen, talks about the café, travelling and collectables.

Republic is published by Malling Publications

cover: Sascha Maric


editor’s note


question that often comes up when talking with friends, colleagues and those random acquaintances you make with a stranger on a long flight is this: what characterises good design? Offhand, it’s an easy one to answer because for the last decade I’ve been working to address that very question. What I’ve discovered is that there is no specific definition as to what constitutes good design, nor is there some secret formula with which to create it. So I have to admit that my answer is often that wornout expression, “It’s in the eye of the beholder.” Our philosophy at Fritz Hansen is to always strive for the timeless, the sculptural, the pure and the original in our progression towards good design; our underlying history builds on the work of the modernist architects of the 1950s and 1960s in particular. Finally, there’s the relationship that arises between the designer and Fritz Hansen’s staff along the way. In order to become wiser about what constitutes good design, it’s important to enter a systematic dialogue with the architects and designers who are commissioned to design a piece of furniture for Fritz Hansen. We’re involved from the very beginning of the process, starting with the initial brief, as we want to understand each architect’s or designer’s vision and absorb their ideas, just as they learn about our mindset. In this issue of republic we have chosen to focus on Japan – a decision that was easy to make because the design philosophy of Arne Jacobsen and Poul Kjærholm has always been popular and understood there. And because Danish and Japanese design philosophies resemble each other with their focus on minimalism, clean lines, the use of natural materials and colour. And also because the latest offering from Fritz Hansen was designed in Japan. On page 16 you can meet the Japanese designer Hiromichi Konno. At the tender age of 36, he is already one of today’s most talented designers. It gives me great pleasure to introduce his new “nest” chair, the RIN™ – a chair which, in all its simplicity, appears to be drawn in a single movement and in doing so is a humble addition to the Republic of Fritz Hansen.

Photo: Anne mie dreves

“to become wiser ON WHAT constitutes good design, it’s important to enter a systematic dialogue with the architects and designers.”

Enjoy reading! Jacob Holm, CEO


world 3 museums


21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

©Yamagiwa Corporation ©Hiroyuki SATO

The National Art Center, Tokyo

Danish design in Japanese culture

The Japanese are very fond of Danish design, which is why three of the country’s most prominent museums have been furnished with products from Fritz Hansen. At the circular 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, for instance, you can find an entire auditorium full of black Ant™ chairs and, of course, the lounge classic, the Swan™. The architect Kengo Kuma is responsible for the beautiful Suntory Museum in Tokyo where Denmark meets Japanese modernism in stylish harmony, and at the National Art Center Tokyo there is similar close cooperation with Fritz Hansen. Here, the combination of Danish design with workshops and lectures make important connections between the design traditions of the two countries. ©Hiroyuki SATO

The 50 patchworks of the ”Egg” that Tal R re-designed for Fritz Hansen on the occasion of the chair’s 50th anniversary, continue their world tour. The exhibition, which began at the Gallery Carla Sozzani in Milan in April last year, has so far been through Seoul, South Korea, Australia and Tokyo. The exhibition is now on its way to Europe. First stop is Le Bon Marché in Paris, followed by London and Düsseldorf. And in April it will be possible to see it at Illums Bolighus in Copenhagen after which it will be moved to other cities in Scandinavia. For more info:

Frederik Photo: Frederik lindstrøm. lindstrøm, Polina Polina Gorokhovskay Gorokhovskay

The “Egg™ ” on tour

Photo: Karin tengberg


50 years with the Swan™ 2008 was the year we proudly celebrated the 50th anniversary of Arne Jacobsen’s timeless Swan chair. To commemorate the event Fritz Hansen launched a limited collection of 1958 white Swan chairs, each with a numbered silver swan ring around its foot.

The Swan™ and the Egg™ in a five-star hotel A new luxury hotel filled with Arne Jacobsen’s classics has opened in Zaragoza, Spain.


Photo: Lourdes Jansana


n a luxurious new hotel in Spain, Arne Jacobsen’s classic pieces, the Egg and the Swan, await guests in the lobby. Called the Hiberus, it was built for the 2008 World Expo in Zaragoza, Spain’s fifth-largest city. While it’s not quite as well known as Madrid and Barcelona, it is nevertheless a nerve center between the capital and Catalonia, about 300 km from both cities, only 90 minutes away on a high-speed train. The five-star hotel’s 176 rooms have fantastic views over the historic town and the nearby river Ebro. The Barcelona-based firm of architects Martínez Lapeña-Torres Arquitectos are behind the hotel construction. They chose the Danish designer’s furniture as the central elements in the interior decoration because its flowing and organic forms matched the architecture. Each of the rooms has at least one Egg and one Swan chair, and seem to be inspired by Jacobsen’s restored Royal Suite 606 in Copenhagen’s SAS Royal hotel. His classic works can also be found in the rest of the hotel. “Arne Jacobsen’s family of furniture is always modern,” says Elias Torres, one of the architects. “To make the pieces work in a new situation, all you have to do is just change the upholstery. In the lobby, the Eggs and Swans seem like colourful personalities just waiting for new guests of the building, while in the rooms, the furniture flows across the floor so they do not disturb the view of the river and the landscape outside.” When it comes to great architecture, the Hiberus is in good company. It is located right next to the area where Expo was held, and a number of unique buildings were constructed for the occasion. The theme for Expo 2008 was water and sustainable development, and so the constructions included bridges like the River Pavilion, designed by the award-winning architect Zaha Hadid, and the Third Millennium Bridge, as well as Europe’s largest fresh-water aquarium, River Aquarium. For the architects behind the hotel, the river was not the only consideration: the strong winds that blow over Zaragoza from the Moncayo Mountain also proved a problem. A 15 m high wall was built in a zigzag construction protecting against wind and noise so the guests can enjoy the sun on the hotel’s many terraces and palm gardens undisturbed. The windshield’s geometry is reflected in a number of other forms in the hotel – for example, the reception area and the five-storey high lobby both repeat the zigzag pattern. “The lobby is a construction that brings together the rooms’ open corridors,” explains Torres. “It’s illuminated by natural skylights from above and with large windows to the courtyards towards the north.” The hotel’s long, horizontal facade faces south. Here, the permanent white Venetian blinds in aluminium provide protection from the strong sunlight. These blinds resemble awnings and hang in long lengths over the narrow building. On the lowest floor, they help to keep the restaurant’s wooden terrace in the shade, where you can sit on the river bank and look over the town. The architects have tried to integrate Hiberus with nature by, for instance, using natural light that flows in through large glass sections and solar cells that gather energy for the operation of the hotel. Meanwhile, on the northern side of the hotel, the wall is painted in a blue-green colour, inspired by both the water theme of the Expo and the nearby river Ebro.


2 1. The 15 m high wind shield protects against Zaragoza's strong winds 2. All the rooms are furnished with Arne Jacobsen classics 3. The windshield's zigzag pattern is repeated troughout the complex. 4. Colourful Swans ™ await the guests



Fritz Hansen is glad to introduce U-nite, a new dining table designed by RØNNAU + FURNID. Its characteristic shape and modern styling capture the design elements of a table that aspires to bring people together and open up to conversation. Fritz Hansen is launching RØNNAU + FURNID’s U-nite table in a unique package with our Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7™ stacking chairs in the original painted beech finish. The table will later be available in different sizes and surfaces.

Salto’s Ice in new colours Designer Rikke Ladegaard has introduced a number of exciting new colour combinations to the Ice chair, which in a single stroke makes Kasper Salto’s contemporary masterpiece both versatile and more feminine. Two of the colours, snow and volcano, are repeated from the last collection, but in addition come seven completely new colours: flint, mustard, chocolate, mud, deep red, arctic and lavender. These colours have been carefully selected to complement many different interiors and result in exciting combinations when placed together with the existing range from Fritz Hansen.

Thanks to Spotlight


Introducing the U-nite table


In December 2008 Fritz Hansen introduced the latest addition to their showrooms with a new location in Belgium. At the opening Fritz Hansen presented the limited edition 50th anniversary Swan™ chair, the Alphabet sofa and the T-No.1 table by Todd Bracher. The new showroom is designed by architect Philip Mortelmans and is located in a trendy and fashionable area of Antwerp, one of Europes hotspots for fashion and design. The showroom has been designed to represent a real living environment, reflecting Fritz Hansen’s Scandinavian heritage with an international twist. Natural materials full of character have been included in the interior, bringing out the best in Fritz Hansen’s furniture. Fritz Hansen Showroom De Burburestraat 7a, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium Tel +31 (0) 20-3016688, fax +31 (0) 20-3016686


New letters for the flexible sofa design Alphabet gives you even more possibilities for combining your very own expression. Make a small change with the new colours and fabrics, and your sofa will become a new experience. There’s only one rule: If it feels right, it is spelled right.

Kjærholm from A to z

Michael Sheridan, the American architect and the leading authority on Poul Kjærholm has written a new book that examines Kjærholm’s furniture in every detail. The Furniture of Poul Kjaerholm: Catalogue Raisonné (Gregory R. Miller & Co., New York) is the definitive reference work on one of the most important and profound designers of the twentieth century. The book includes 70 entries that document, analyze and describe all of Kjærholm's realized designs, along with a biographical essay that traces the development of his formal vision. The book is designed by the Japanese designer Takaaki Matsumoto, and is printed entirely in black-and-white duotone.


Talent 3 museums

7 chairs 7 colours 7 designers

The number ‘7’ was the code, when seven designers born after 1958 were asked to choose a color for Jacobsens classic Series 7 ™ chair to be introduced at the Salone del Mobile furniture fair in Milan this spring. Here is a chance to get to know the talents behind the color.

Jaime Hayon, a reflective mirror material Born in Madrid and now based in London, the designer and artist thought it would be interesting to propose a finish more than a colour, so he chose a reflective mirror material. What does colour mean to you? “Colours represent variety, joy, music, life.” Describe the nature of your work? “My work is difficult to put a label on. As I design or make art, products, interiors, anything that allows me to express myself. You could say I am a creator.” What were your inspirations for the collaboration with Fritz Hansen? “The task was to choose a colour to represent a personality trait for the Seven chair, I found it interesting to propose a finish. Why did you choose this specific colour? “The reflective mirror type of material is symbolic of all the colours. It is reflecting a moment, and I found this idea interesting.” What reaction should your design make to the user of the chair? “It gives another personality to such a beautiful design. I feel it accentuates the features of the chair.”

Photo: Anne mie dreves

Introducing: Cecilie Manz

A decade ago Cecilie Manz, 36, honed her skills by completing her design studies in Copenhagen and Helsinki, then went on to found her own design company focusing on industrial design as well as experimental prototypes and sculptural one-offs. In other words she is well versed in the minimalistic Scandinavian design tradition. Now she is the designer behind the latest addition to the Fritz Hansen famliy of tables to be introduced in Milan during the Salone del Mobile furniture fair in April. The table is suitable for everyday use as well as seating your dinner guests in style. The large table was conceived by Cecilie Manz to be a gathering point in any living or dining room, and it is built from beautiful oak, maple and walnut wood, while its discreet design makes it a perfect match for many existing Fritz Hansen chairs.

Maarten Baas, 7045 Telegrey Based in the Dutch city of Hertogenbosch the designer chose a grey primer, which he considers a base for something yet to come. What does colour mean to you? In art colour can sometimes be an addition to the story being told.

Describe the nature of your work? “I work intuitively, always searching for new, unexplored areas.” What were your inspirations for the collaboration with Fritz Hansen? “I like the brand as it stands for good quality and evergreen products, which is something that I miss right now, where everything seems to only be trendy hits.” Why did you choose this specific colour? “It is neutral, almost boring and it invites you to change it, to do something more than just accept it as it is.” What reaction should your design make to the user of the chair? Its up to the user.

nendo, 677C Cherry Blossom Canadian born designer nendo, also known as Oki Sato, is a shooting star in the international world of design. He is based in Tokyo and has already won numerous awards and recognition all over the world. What does colour mean to you? Abstracted nature. Describe the nature of your work? “We would like the people who encounter our designs to feel this small and special moment intuitively.
That is our job.” What were your inspirations for the collaboration with Fritz Hansen? “The products seem closely related with nature.” Why did you choose this specific colour? “I chose cherry blossom as a color as they still occupy an important role in Japanese culture. They are slightly cloudy, light pink and the colour has been used for centuries in paintings and clothing, and continues to represent Japan itself.” What reaction should your design make to the user of the chair? “Warmth and friendliness.”

Sebastian Bergne, Pantone 377U Born in Tehran, and now based in London, he has chosen the colour green which represents the future and a little something inspired by nature in our living environment, or perhaps even the grass that is greener on the other side. What does colour mean to you? “Colour is an extra layer of information which can completely alter the perception of an object.” Describe the nature of your work? “I design ordinary things that live.” What were your inspirations for the collaboration with Fritz Hansen? “It was the incredible colour of the English countryside that caught my interest. I have realized what a versatile color it is, and how well it can be put together with others in a composition.” Why did you choose this specific colour? “It means freshness, freedom and deliciousness.” What reaction should your design make to the user of the chair? “A discreet sense of satisfaction each time it is used.” Fabio Novembre, Pantone Violet U Fabio was born in Lecce, Italy, and is now based in Milan. He says he is in an ultraviolet period of his life, which is why he chose to introduce the violet U colour. What does colour mean to you? “Colours are frequencies of light.” Describe the nature of your work? “Human.” What were your inspirations for the collaboration with Fritz Hansen? “To go beyond.” Why did you choose this specific colour “Because it is an ‘ultra’ colour.” What reaction should your design make to the user of the chair? “Violating with violet.”

Autoban, 7034 Yellow Grey Autoban consists of Seyhan Özdemir and Sefer Caglar. The design team operates from an office in Galata, Istanbul. They have chosen a grey tone for the chair, which they feel represents an industrial expression. What does colour mean to you? “Nature, sense of raw materials, hard geometrics and organic forms are our inspiration and colours generally balance our approach.” Describe the nature of your work? “Industrial expressionism.” What were your inspirations for the collaboration with Fritz Hansen? “The material and colour create an industrial feel and at the same time they are harmonious.” Why did you choose this specific colour? “We wanted to shift the soft effects of the oval form of the chair by using cold and industrial colors which in return created a concrete effect.” What reaction should your design make to the user of the chair? “It should be functional, comfortable and at the same time have a hidden effect. We think the actual beauty is modesty.” Arik Levy, Pantone 812c Born in Israel and living in Paris. Arik Levy chose a glossy, fluorescent fuchsia for the iconic chair. He believes the colour represents borderline and transition of every day life. What does colour mean to you? “It means all, and nothing.“ Describe the nature of your work? “My work is a metaphor. This colour represents the borderline and transition of everyday life. I see this integrated in every different environment as a statement and/or as an alert.” What were your inspirations for the collaboration with Fritz Hansen? “Everyday life and recognizing today’s reality of contract, corporate globalization and urban explosion.” Why did you choose this specific colour? “For contrast.” What reaction should your design make to the user of the chair? “I would like to evoke a flying impression.”

furnishes 3 museums


1. Customer area - wood and skylights and Series 7™ chairs by Arne Jacobsen 2. Marble covered foyer with bevelled glass on the left and two PK22 chairs by Poul Kjærholm on the right 3. Street view through panorama windows. Notice the broken lines in the marble’


4. Lounge area with two Swan™ chairs by Arne Jacobsen, beautifully illuminated by natural light

Photography: José Manuel Cutillas and César San Millan.


The foyer extends well into the house. The foyer and the rest of the bank’s levels are connected by the glass staircase.

Architects : Carlos Pereda, Oscar Pérez, Francisco Mangado, Caja de Arquitectos, Iturralde y Suit 5 de Pamplona, Spain

Architectural dreams in Pamplona Wood, glass and Danish design classics: Spanish temperament meets stringent Scandinavian tradition.


t Caja de Arquitectos savings bank in Pamplona, they were bent on adding an attraction to a city best known for its annual bull run. Because Caja de Arquitectos is a bank chain for architects, opening a new branch means going the extra design mile. Caja de Arquitectos is famous for building spectacular banks throughout Spain and the branch in Pamplona is no exception. The new branch is filled with Arne Jacobsen, Poul Kjærholm and Kasper Salto furniture. Glass, wooden walls and skylights flood the interior with natural light. As work began on the interior design, it was agreed it needed to convey a clear sense of quality, as architects were to be the customer base. So this meant being particular about what to choose. The bank therefore discarded the usual demands and corporate guidelines that are imposed on architects. With the creative freedom of the architects unleashed, they pursued their ambition to create a good-looking and functional piece of architecture. Because Pamplona is a city with proud traditions, they didn’t want the aesthetics of the bank to express a passing fad or seasonal design whim. Instead, expressive and solid materials, simplicity and an appreciation of the space were at the top of their list. The result is an attractive and distinctive architectural achievement. The task for the architects was to fit customer area, offices, a conference room, a lounge area and toilets into a relatively limited space. They also needed to unite the separate levels in a natural and unobtrusive way. The design is built around a square centre with sharp edges that give the space a powerful feeling of volume. On the top level, bevelled glass ensures that the building makes the most of the natural light emanating from the skylights. It’s worth remembering that Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises was inspired by Pamplona. And who knows, perhaps the old master would have put his money in Caja de Arquitectos? 4


“Feelings that remain” The Japanese designer, Hiromichi Konno has created an elegant chair for Fritz Hansen; the RIN™. We met Konno for a chat about the art of folding paper and the meeting between Japanese and Scandinavian design.

ukushima, Japan, 1978. Hiromichi Konno is visiting his grandmother in northern Japan as he has done so regularly a couple of times every year. The grandmother is a true creator in origami, the antique Japanese art form of paper-folding, Hiromichi sits for hours watching her while she time and time again, precisely and delicately folds the square pieces of paper into small, unique pieces of art. This is where the first seed was planted in the young mind of Hiromichi Konno, that design in one form or another could be exactly what he could dedicate his life to. Since childhood, Konno has been good at using his hands and when the International Expo visits Japan in 1985, the young boy walks around the Expo with big eyes and absorbs everything. But, like so many other Japanese youngsters, there is something else more down-to-earth that tugs at him. So for the following five years he focuses less on design and other things with his hands and instead focuses on being a teenager exploring many different aspects of life. By his last year in high school he starts dreaming about becoming a designer again. Copenhagen, Denmark, 1996. “I reached a point where I thought that if I didn’t do something with my hands and begin to design, then I would regret it. I thought that when I die, then some of the things I have created will live on,” he explains. So, while studying design at the Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan, Hiromichi Konno travels to Denmark. This is his first trip outside of his home country. He arrives in Copenhagen and the first thing he does is to go for a long walk. He passes a bank and sees through the windows - something draws him to go in and take a closer look. When inside he admires the chairs and tables done by Poul Kjærholm and also leans his head back and looks up at the ceiling where countless PH lamps are hanging down. Right then and there he has somewhat of an epiphany. Previously, at exhibitions in Tokyo, Konno has seen Scandinavian furniture design by Wegner, Arne Jacobsen and Poul Kjærholm, but nevertheless he walks around spellbound in the bank for half an hour and straight away starts taking photos. He’s sold. Umeå, Sweden, 1998. After the eye-opening trip to Copenhagen, Hiromichi Konno has decided that he wants to study design in Scandinavia. He applies to the two best design schools in Scandinavia - the Danish Design School and the Institute of Design at the Umeå University. Shortly afterwards, the university in Umeå becomes the first to accept his application, which Konno immediately takes up. Umeå is located close to the polar circle, and Hiromichi Konno deals with the cold and the darkness and for the following months he lives in a snow-white urban landscape where candle flames light up the windows in the houses. In the

Photo: Sascha maric

Hiromichi Konno, the designer behind RIN™

in t e r v i e w

Swedish town, the Scandinavian design traditions gradually get under the skin of the young Japanese man, who as a designer is finding his own style as a creator of furniture. Hiromichi Konno begins to develop several pieces of stylish designs. Even though there is an energy and something almost teasing about the design, he feels the clear references to classic Danish and Swedish furniture pieces. He begins to design furniture and other designs for indoor use in simple lines with an architectonic look. His work begins to be noticed. Ross Lovegrove, one of the great pioneers within industrial design is impressed with what Hiromichi Konno can create with his hands. Lovegrove invites him to London, which for the next three years is Hiromichi Konno’s base while he rises fast and steadily into the international sphere of design. London, England, 2002. Hiromichi Konno has gone solo and now works for large companies and manufacturers around the world, but he is particularly in demand in Scandinavia. He has designed a business card holder and the flower vase Sakura (which means cherry blossom in Japanese) in stainless steel for Georg Jensen. In the same period the first ideas of a new chair for Fritz Hansen begin to appear as sketches on Hiromichi’s work table. The idea is to create a new kind of chair design that is in harmony with Japanese and Danish design traditions, but at the same time completely unique.

Allerød, Denmark, 2008. Four years have passed and in Fritz Hansen’s headquarters north of Copenhagen, Hiromichi Konno’s chair RIN™ stands ready to meet the world. In the course of the last years, Konno has added and detracted from the design. It now appears as an exceptionally qualified proposal of what we will furnish our working life with in the future. At first glance, the chair is elegant but if you look closer you will notice the innovative design and the sophisticated details. It invites you to sit in it for hours and at the same time takes the traditional chair design off into a new direction. With its round shell and integrated arm rest, RIN is light and aesthetic. But there is more to the chair than that. “The Japanese word ’RIN’ means an appearance that is stunning, elegant and courageous, which I think encompasses the chair very well. My chair should preferably radiate a sophisticated, simple beauty but I think that people will experience many different things when they sit in the chair; because a chair is not just a form. The most important element by far in furniture design is that it can create communication and emotions between people,” says Hiromichi Konno. “There is a big difference between looking at a chair and sitting in it. With this chair, I would like to create a feeling that people can remember. The chair is at one time new, different and more than just comfortable. I hope that my chair can create a pleasant feeling, that will remain with people long after they have left the chair,” says Hiromichi Konno.




sense and simplicity

Like an elegant flower, the new key piece for Fritz Hansen’s Collection seems precise and symbolic. The Rin™ chair by Hiromichi Konno is a brisk yet elegant newcomer.

Photo: Andrea Ferrari stylist: Tami Christiansen


HK10, white/black PP w. black leather & A825, white laminate/black linoleum



collection HK10, white PP w. beige fabric


n everyday life, our jobs, our private lives, our personal and professional relationships and networks often flow together, so there’s a need for furniture that allows the informal and formal to melt together and meet without limiting the expression in terms of design. This was the challenge presented to the young Japanese designer Hiromichi Konno when he was invited to create a new piece of furniture with Fritz Hansen. The result of Hiromichi’s hard work, the RIN™ chair, is now the backbone of the 2009 collection. The RIN chair fulfills the needs of a modern company and lifestyle. Its open and inviting design makes it suitable as a meeting, dining or conference chair, as the comfort provides the option of sitting for long periods and letting ideas and inspiration flow freely.

The Japanese word RIN means an appearance that is stunning, elegant and courageous. It also means a single flower - in a way, the chair looks like a flower standing alone.

HK10, black PP & B638, black linoleum





HK10, white PP w. white fabric & TB1, white laminate

RIN is innovative and progressive and at the same time allows you to sit in it for hours and hours. Produced in pure plastic, its comfortable shell has a soft and welcoming appearance and texture that invites you to sit down and enjoy it; it is slightly flexible to increase comfort, and the turning star-shaped foot makes it possible to communicate easily with others. All this makes the chair very versatile and perfect for modern working methods where brainstorming, creative sparring and meetings often take place in informal and nonhierarchical settings. The name was suggested by the designer and embraces a double meaning. RIN is the Japanese expression that is used to indicate when a person’s appearance is stunning, elegant and courageous.

Collection HK10, grey PP & P930, grey glass




HK10, black PP & KS11, black compact laminate

RIN™ is innovative and progressive and at the same time invites you to sit in it for hours and hours

B638, black linoleum

HK10, green/red/light blue PP

Thanks to Rossana Orlandi

It can also refer to a single flower – a flower that is isolated in contrast to being part of a bouquet. One flower on its own does not look as gorgeous or luxurious as a bunch of flowers, but its existence is nevertheless very strong and real as it has to stand with confidence and elegance. With its similarity to an elegant flower underlined in this way, the chair is simultaneously precise and symbolic. For all its modernity, the chair’s aesthetic fits perfectly in line with Fritz Hansen’s range of modernist furniture classics, as many of the great Danish designers – from Poul Kjærholm to Arne Jacobsen – were inspired by Japanese minimalism. Alongside the RIN chair, the new collection includes tables from Arne Jacobsen and Piet Hein, Pelikan Design, Kasper Salto and Todd Bracher.

Collection HK10, green/red/light blue/grey/black/white PP


The great demand for Arne Jacobsen’s design has led Fritz Hansen to resume the production of Jacobsen’s fantastic Grand Prix chair from 1957.

Photo: Andrea Ferrari

grand prix Revived


n the 1950’s, the designer Arne Jacobsen’s longawaited breakthrough came with the stacking chair; the Ant™ in 1952 and Series 7™ in 1955. The popular, light and flexible stacking chairs have since been building in strength around the world, in particular the Series 7™ has become a modernistic icon that is seen in prestigious locations everywhere from Tokyo to New York. Apparently, the demand for the stacking chairs has no end because today, it is difficult to find a chair that possesses the same qualities with regard to flexibility, comfort and design. Therefore, Fritz Hansen has also decided to resume production of one of Jacobsen’s less-known stacking chairs, the Grand Prix. The design was introduced at the Designer’s Spring Exhibition at the Danish Museum of Art & Design in Copenhagen in 1957. Later that year, the chair was displayed at the Triennale in Milan where it received the ‘Grand Prix’ – the finest distinction of the exhibition. After this, the chair has always been called the ‘Grand Prix chair’. In 2009, the chair will be available again as a standard product in different finishes such as veneer, coloured ash, painted beech and upholstered in fabric and in leather.



PK 22 and PK 61 (Poul Kjærholm, 1956)

Timber and Tea: The Sources of A Golden Age


photo: Jesper Høm / Courtesy of Louisiana, Thomas Loof/ Gunnløgsson’s house og Kjærholm’s house and keld helmer petersen/ PK22 and PK61

Gunnløgsson House (Halldor Gunnløgsson, 1958-59)

Katsura Detached Palace (Hachijo-no-miya line, 1615-62)

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, (Jørgen Bo and Vilhelm Wohlert, 1958-91)

j a pa n i n f lu e n c e


uring the 1950s, Danish architects and designers fused native traditions with ideas from abroad to produce masterpieces of international importance. Now acknowledged as a “Golden Age”, and one of the highpoints of 20th-century culture, the period spawned a wave of buildings, furniture and applied art that retain their beauty and meaning after more than 50 years. Foremost among the foreign influences were ideas from Japan. Through a combination of travel and publications, Danes absorbed Japanese principles, including modular planning, exposed timber structures and direct engagement with Nature, which resonated with their own cultural heritage and sense of beauty. Japanese principles were also absorbed indirectly, through the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and the California modernists, all of who were touched by Japanese aesthetics. In fact, the influence of traditional Japanese culture was so pervasive, that it should be recognized as one of the essential sources of Denmark’s Golden Age of Modernism. In 1935, two events occurred that would change the course of Danish architecture and echo across the decades. In Stockholm, a Japanese teahouse, Zui Ki Tei (The Cottage of Auspicious Light), was constructed on the grounds of the Ethnographical Museum under the sponsorship of the SwedenJapan Society. In Berlin, the Wasmuth Press published Tetsuro Yoshida’s book on traditional Japanese houses as Das Japanische Wohnhaus, in a language that Danes could easily read. Five years later, following the Nazi occupation of Denmark, an entire generation of Danish architects fled to Stockholm, where they encountered both Zui Ki Tei and Yoshida’s manual of construction. The exiles included Jørn Utzon, Halldor Gunnløgsson, Eva Kjærholm’s House (Hanne Kjærholm, 1960-62)

and Nils Koppel, Karen and Ebbe Clemmensen, Finn Monies and Erik Christian Sørensen, all of who admired Japanese culture and emerged as important figures during the 1950s. After the end of World War Two and years of enforced isolation, the young Danes were hungry for new ideas and exposure to the outside world. In the United States, particularly in California, emerging architects were combining Japanese models of structure and space with lessons from Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright. These developments were chronicled in the pages of Arts and Architecture magazine, which had a devoted readership in Denmark. As a result, Los Angeles luminaries such as Rafael Soriano and Richard Neutra are still fondly recalled by Nils Koppel and Erik Christian Sørensen. The young Poul Kjærholm would frequent Sørensen’s office and devour each new issue of Arts and Architecture, studying the latest furniture by Charles and Ray Eames, and developing his own ideas about construction and materials. In 1949, Utzon traveled to the American Midwest and met with Wright and Mies van der Rohe, before heading south to Mexico. In the following years, Gunnløgsson, Sørensen and Vilhelm Wohlert all enjoyed teaching appointments in the U.S., where they gained first-hand knowledge of the latest Japanese-influenced architecture. It is hardly surprising that Japanese aesthetics found such fertile ground in Denmark. The use of lightweight timber framing, the respect for craftsmanship and a profound attention to details, were all familiar concepts to Danish architects, who had been trained in bygningkunst (Building Art) at the Royal Danish Academy and were heirs to the 19th-century Arts and Crafts movement known as skønvirke (Beautiful Work). Finally, there is the matter of the traditional Danish farmhouse, a half-timbered structure with an exposed frame of posts and beams, which was filled with sticks and clay, and whitewashed. Looking at the Japanese examples, the Danish architects recognized elements of their own heritage realized in an exponentially more elegant manner, with sliding paper screens taking the place of solid, whitewashed walls. At the same time, Japanese architecture seemed to foreshadow so many tenets of modern architecture that it provided the Danes with an example of building that was both contemporary and traditional. So inspired, a generation of young talent unleashed a wave of creative energy and created the monuments of the Golden Age. The best of these buildings and furnishings arrive at a state of pure construction, in which materials, space and structure are joined into a framework for a way of life that is, essentially, timeless. – Michael Sheridan

Michael Sheridan is an architect in New York and a leading authority on the modern architecture and design of Denmark. His forthcoming book, Landmarks – The Modern House in Denmark, will be published in the spring by Gyldendal.


PK61, PK31

Japanese and Scandinavian traditions come together in a simple and stunning house in Kyoto. the passionate property entrepreneur has renovated a traditional Japanese house and furnished it with minimalist Danish furniture classics


hen the Danish architect Poul Kjærholm designed his furniture, he proba­bly did not imagine that his designs would one day grace a Japanese wooden house. But they sit super­bly within the tradition, which Japanese carpenters have followed for generations. Harmony is the key word in traditional Japanese houses, which are made of wood, clay, bamboo and paper, and assembled without using so much as a single nail. The transition between indoors and outdoors is a fluid line and the houses are structured around visible beams – almost like an ingenious puzzle where

Photo: masatoshi matsuda

Danish design in a Japanese house

kyoto house PK22 in black leather

each brick is a significant and necessary part of the whole. These buildings are designed for a climate where the summers are very hot and humid, so small roofs and broad roofs are favoured, to provide plenty of cool, dry shade. They are also small and sparingly furnished. Instead of having rooms with specific functions like a living room and a work room, the borders between the areas flow. Sliding doors made of paper make it possible to split the houses up according to changing needs. The floor floats between 50 and 100 cm above the ground and was traditionally covered with tatami mats made of rice straw. Old houses are being demolished in many places in Japan, to be replaced with more modern, Western-style houses in stone and concrete. But for the owner, there was no way he was going to abandon this traditional structure. “I have seen many buildings around the world,” says the contractor, “and to this day, there is still nothing out there that can transcend the traditional Japanese wooden house. I can feel the joy, the pleasure and the beauty from the elaborate buildings made by the carpenters and bricklayers who built Japanese sanctuaries. They leave an impression that lasts for generations.” His house in Kyoto has been lovingly restored to accommodate modern needs such as heat and electricity, but without destroying the harmony and simplicity the traditions provide. “The architecture and furnishing of the house is a tribute to the beauty of the Japanese lifestyle and traditions,” he explains: the materials used are original Japanese wood species like cypress, cherry, plum, pine and bamboo, and there is a painting hanging on one of the walls by the famous international Japanese artist, Hiroshi Senju. “Here, you experience the joy of purity and at the same time are surprised by the ‘wow’ factor.”

PK22 in wicker

The tearoom is furnished with PK80 and PK31

Poul Kjærholm, who was also a trained carpenter, aimed to let the materials he used speak for themselves. And it is precisely his simple mode of expression and the high quality of materials that have moved the building entrepreneur to furnish both his wooden house in Kyoto and his office with furniture from Fritz Hansen’s Poul Kjærholm Collection: the simple lines merge into the house’s harmonic structure. The Scandinavian and Japanese aesthetics have more in common than first meets the eye. It is not just a question of minimalism, but also of design that is close to nature and its given resources. “In the old days, during business meetings in Kyoto you sat on the floor at low tables,” explains the owner whom prefers to be anonymous in this article. “Chairs were not used to any great extent, which coincided with the simple style and the limited size of the buildings. Therefore, it felt quite natural to choose Poul Kjærholm’s furniture, as it is designed simply and finished to a good quality. At the same time, the pieces are very functional and easy to use, and they are in keeping with the principles that are the basis for this house. On the whole, Scandinavian design has an ability to unite old lifestyles with new.”


ten Questions

The Royal cafe, the home of Smushies

Rud Christiansen We met Japan enthusiast, entrepreneur and gourmet, Rud Christiansen, at The Royal Café in Copenhagen. The place where “smushies” were invented. There is something almost Hemingway-like about the well-travelled entrepreneur, Rud Christiansen. Take his upbringing with cowboys and Indians in Arizona or his younger years where he almost became the owner of a shipyard by accident. Since then, he has become a self-taught expert in Italian delicacies and today, together with his business partner, Lo Østergaard, he is about to take The Royal Café and its famous combination of sushi and smorgasbord, the so-called smushies, to Japan. We took our seats in the café’s commissioned Ant™ chair between royal porcelain figurines, Georg Jensen cutlery and soft toys to hear about the pleasure of collecting knick-knacks, Japanese inspirations and the café on Amagertorv. How has The Royal Café been welcomed? “Extremely positive. The biggest praise we have had so far was a critic that described the café as “total style confusion”. I love style confusion and we have gone out of our way to mix all kinds of things together into something that has never been seen before. We have wallpaper on the ceiling, pink walls; here is fun-fur, commissioned Ant chairs and herringbone parquet flooring in porcelain from Royal Copenhagen.” Why smushies? “If you take a look at the Danish smorgasbord, it is the world’s most beautiful food. The problem is that it often is too much. A single piece and you have to go on a diet for the rest of the week. Therefore, small pieces make good sense.” When you look at the smorgasbord you serve, your mind is led to Japanese traditions. What do you like most about Japan? “I love going into the big department store, Tokyu Hands, in the middle of the Shibuya quarter. Here you have nine stories filled with knick-knacks where, for instance, you can choose between 200 tweezers. There are several metres of shelves with different kinds of gold that can be used in cooking and on the whole there are bits and bobs in volumes you cannot find anywhere else in the world.” How often do you visit Tokyo? “Currently, I visit the city once a month because we are about to open a

number of Royal Cafés over there.” One of the themes in this edition of the magazine is the common characteristics that exist between Japan and Scandinavia. Is this something you have noticed? ”This is about a circle. Look at the architecture. Initially, all the big European architects came to Japan to take a closer look at the Japanese ways of furnishing. Since then, the Japanese have travelled to Scandinavia and today we see architects going to Japan to study. There is a meaningful exchange of ideas that has been going on for decades.” What can we learn from the Japanese? “In Japan you cannot make anything without it being of good quality. Everything that is not quality falls immediately through the cracks.” Your establishment is known as a lunch restaurant. What characterises the perfect lunch? “Danish smorgasbord in a smaller format like our invention, smushi, as well as a small schnapps and a cold beer.” Where do you dine? “When I have the opportunity, I like to eat Japanese food in Japan or Italian food in Italy. If I’m in Denmark, then I choose a good smorgasbord restaurant or some of our fantastic Danish Michelin restaurants.” What would be your biggest extravagance? “To travel far away and to spend a weekend in our little wooden house near Båstad.” Do you have any role models in your work? “Maria, who taught me to make Mexican food when I was a child in Yuma, Arizona.” Finally, which Fritz Hansen piece of furniture is your personal favourite? “The Ant™, as a bar stool. Or the PK 80.” Visit The Royal Café on Amagertorv 6, 1160 Copenhagen K. Read more at

photo: Anne mie dreves



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ten Questions

Grand Prix chair and A825 table designed by Arne Jacobsen

GRAND PRIX Broad shouldered and angular. The 3130 differs from Arne Jacobsen’s organically shaped chairs. It became known as the Grand Prix chair after having received the finest distinction at the Milan Triennale in 1957.


REPUBLIC Vol. 1/2009  

A design and style magazine published by REPUBLIC OF Fritz Hansen - this issue features articles about the new and upcoming designer Hiromic...

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