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Even progressive-minded Danes once had a glass ceiling and architect and product designer Grethe Meyer was one of the first to shatter that proverbial canopy when she founded her own firm back in 1960. Her GM Lamp has been created by Menu from original sketches from May 1984, 30 years after their conception. Honoring her "sleek idiom (that) has made many of her designs classics," the pendant fixture is a exemplary touchstone in the revival of interest in her work. A spare dome or "cloche" shape that can be employed singly or in groupings, the emphasis is on the faultless finishes–solid lacquered copper that that protects from patina or stainless steel in a powder-coated choice of colors. The pioneering Grethe passed away in 2008 at the age of 90 after garnering numerous awards and wide acclaim. Her work lives on, though, in production from varied Danish companies as well as in collections at design museums all over the world.
"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."
A modest presence who would ultimately become a towering figure in Danish design, the late Grethe Meyer was a pioneer in a then male-dominated field, establishing her own studio in 1960. Many of her designs focused on the places people gather—the kitchen, the dinner table. She thought long and hard about an object's purpose, with the idea "that the design must be uncomplicated, and the product easy and comfortable to use, and as simple and anonymous as possible."
Educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Architecture, she was also an educator and later contributed to "The Building Book," which for years was the foundation for teaching there. Grethe's work continues to be exhibited in museums around the world and she also received numerous industry accolades. Ultimately, she believed, design could enrich daily life. "I think that beauty will present itself," she said. "A beauty that gives the people who are using the product a natural pleasure, a pleasure which preferably grows stronger the more the product is used."