|ALL BY ROOM BATHROOM BEDROOM Alarm Clocks Bedding Furniture Reading Lights DINING Chairs Credenzas Dinnerware Drinkware Flatware Lighting Linens Serving Tables ENTERTAINING Audio Barware Extras||KIDS KITCHEN LIVING AREA Accents Chairs + Ottomans Coffee + Side Tables Consoles Lighting Sofas OUTDOOR Extras Furniture Lighting STORAGE WORKSPACE Chairs Desks Extras Task Lights|
Forward design is about reinventing the wheel. In other words, taking a commonplace object and re-imagining it into something relevant to modern life. Take this towel ladder by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen and Kasper Rønn of Norm.Architects for the Bath Collection they made in collaboration with fellow Danes Menu. Workaday oak rungs become elegant bars to hang towels in the bathroom...or for that matter, clothes and quilts in the bedroom; magazines and newspapers in a living room or office; or scarves and coats in the front hallway. The leather handle was inspired by a suitcase, suggesting mobility—although it actually secures the rack to a wall. No doubt, this ladder will prove an understated focal point wherever you decide it needs to lean in.
"It's about creating aesthetically pleasing designs that evoke true feelings,” Menu founder Bjarne Hansen told the online magazine Lonny, “as well as improving processes in people's daily lives.” Ranging from tabletop objects to bath fixtures to lighting and furniture, the Danish brand’s pursuit of "soft minimalism" involves collaborations with designers from all over the world. The company’s guiding spirit is a quest for functional originality—with each product having either a new purpose, incorporating a new material or utilizing a new production method.
Menu is just as dedicated to responsible manufacturing as it is innovation. Working to locate new partners in developing countries around the world, the company searches out local factories or small private co-operations to turn out high quality goods and also provide a better economic foundation for the people involved in that production. "We’re passionate about design, new materials and clever details," say the folks at Menu, "and we dream about making a difference."
“Norms aren’t boring,” Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen of Norm.Architects says, reflecting on the name of his Copenhagen-based design studio, formed with fellow architect Kasper Rønn. “On the contrary, the firm wants to make use of all that centuries-old wisdom that we now know as design.” Norm encompasses furniture, dinner service, kitchenware and lighting fixtures as well as architecture projects with third partner Linda Korndal.
“There’s something in our design culture that’s born out of our connection to the Nordic climate, to the crafts and the natural materials that surround us, and that 'something' makes us stand out,” Jonas says. Norm.Architects has garnered numerous prestigious awards such as Red Dot, IF Design Award and Design Plus Award. Jonas focuses on aesthetics and Kasper concentrates on technology but the lines are often blurred on any offering, says Jonas. “You should be able to look at it in 10, 20 years’ time and still find it useful and beautiful.”