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Menu’s Reade Desk Lamp somehow summons both the glamour of bygone “Swing Time” New York and the cool of current-day Manhattan. Peripatetic Danish entrepreneur and designer Søren Rose, a Gotham transplant, used vintage lamps he collected from his travels as a starting point to conjure the shapes and designs in his Tribeca series. The angular Reade, in gleaming solid brass or brushed steel or indispensable white or black powder coat, is as stylishly eclectic as the downtown street for which it is named.
"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."
SOREN ROSE STUDIO
Fedora-loving Dane Søren Rose had worn many proverbial hats in his past career as a creative director, casting agent and web entrepreneur before establishing his eponymous design studio in New York (with a branch in Copenhagen.) Handling architecture, interiors and product design, he says, “we worship high quality and sustainable materials and approach our work with both traditional and innovative craftsmanship.”
With designs for notable companies such as Muuto and Menu, the prevailing aesthetic often juxtaposes a clean Nordic heritage with the grittier sensibility found in lower Manhattan. One telling example is the studio’s overhaul of a classic 1974 AirStream, its classic-Americana exterior restored while the interior got a Scandinavian-style makeover, down to a wood floor from 115-year old Danish firm Dinesen. Though Søren reveres past design icons Arne Jacobsen and Verner Panton, he also rallies support for newer talents, challenging clients: “When was the last time you bought a design of an emerging designer?"