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With its pedestal base, the round Copenhague Table CPH20 cleverly expands on the guiding motif of the series, the humble A-frame. And with 3 variations—coffee, dining and bar table—those design bonafides adapt to multiple uses. Charged with furnishing the College of the Humanities at Copenhagen University, Danish house Hay invited Paris brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec to come up with something that could stand apart from the usual institutional fare. The initial design brief was simple: "A strong, sensual, stackable wooden chair." From there a collection was born, configured around a minimalist A-frame concept
“One of the most important things for our company is to make footprints of our own time,” says Rolf Hay, of his eponymous Copenhagen-based company launched in 2003 at the international furniture fair IMM Cologne. His idea was to bring Danish design to a new creative peak that rivaled the storied 1950s and 1960s—but with a modern update. As creative director, he’s committed to nurturing young upstarts and also “exploring the twisted minds of established designers” and giving both a platform.
In practice, that means seeking out imaginative products and evaluating them on their own merits rather than first commissioning a design for certain type of item. And he says his greatest thrill is seeing a prototype for the first time. “We work in a different way to the way our parents did, but we basically live in the same way,” Rolf says. “The news is that there is nothing new, except the possibilities. And that’s great fun.”
RONAN + ERWAN BOUROULLEC
“There’s always teamwork in design,” says Erwan Bouroullec and he would know as half of the acclaimed creative duo with brother Ronan. “For most designers, the first time they have to explain or justify their work is to the manufacturer,” he says. “By then, we’ve spent weeks, maybe months, arguing over the tiniest details.” Born in Brittany, the brothers Bouroullec are among the brightest lights in European furniture design, heralded as the biggest French presence since 1980s icon Philippe Starck.
Fellow designer Jasper Morrison praises the brothers’ work as “thoughtful and disciplined, with a real spirit and poetry.” Recently awarded the prestigious London Design Medal, they’ve been showcased at venues as diverse as Los Angeles’ own Museum of Contemporary Art, Villa Noailles in Hyeres and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Their most successful design projects are often the most contentious, Ronan says. “Usually our work is strongest when we disagree, because that’s when we push each other to go further.”
Photo credit: ©Morgane Le Gall