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With its thoughtful play of contrasting proportions, Offset Sofa makes a statement that resonates without shouting. Copenhagen's vaunted Norm.Architects arrived at the design by experimenting with offsetting—juxtaposing narrow armrests with a thickly cushioned, generous seat, all supported by four short metal legs. The impressively clean-lined, boxy shape is softened at the edges in a nod to hygge, that defining sense of coziness and comfort that permeates Danish culture.
"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.”