Our premium brands have worked with some of the world’s most prolific designers from past and present. We have selected a handful below who have played an essential role in the development of some of these design icons.
Børge Mogensen designed some of the most renowned furniture pieces of the 1950s and 1960s. An exceptionally productive man, Mogensen’s collection of designs numbers into the thousands. New ideas came to him at any time of the day or night, and were scribbled down on matchboxes, table napkins, creased envelopes, or whatever was at hand. His lifelong mission was to create simple and practical furniture. Appearance was important, but never at the expense of functionality. He disapproved of colleagues who succumbed to the whims of fashion, ignored functionality or used excessively expensive materials. In the same breath, he defiantly brushed off any criticism for only using wood, his preferred material in all its different embodiments.
One of Mogensen’s most iconic pieces is the Spanish Chair, an interpretation of a traditional type of chair often found in areas influenced by ancient Islamic culture – from Andalusia to northern India.
Jacques Adnet (1900 – 1984) was a French architect and Art Deco Modernist designer and an icon of luxurious French Modernism. After completing his studies at the Municipal School of Design in Auxerre and the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs, Adnet established the company JJ Adnet with his twin brother Jean Adnet. In 1925, Jacques Adnet was recognized as one of the most promising young designers at both the Salon d’Automne and Les Expositions des Arts Decoratifs. As well as designing furniture and mirrors, Adnet designed apartments and offices for numerous clients, including the French president Vincent Auriol and Unesco.
Throughout his career, Adnet was always among the first artists to express new trends. As a true member of the avant-garde in his time, he was an innovative thinker and original in his choice of form and materials. He was among the first to integrate metal and glass in the structure and decoration of furniture and in the post-war period, Adnet began to cover his furniture with leather. To this day, he is one of the most revered French designers, whose perennial and innovative work is still highly sought for.
Nanna Ditzel (1923-2005), with her postmodernism attitude and rebellion against tradition, became a leading figure in the renewal of Danish design in the 1990’s, well after her 70th birthday. Very often, her works had a subjective starting point, which was contrary to specific problems to be solved. However, she had a magnificent ability to transform her artistic dreams into very functional and purposeful designs.
Nanna Ditzel was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1923. She trained as a cabinetmaker before going on to study at the School of Arts and Crafts and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. She was always inspired by the challenges of new materials and techniques, and in the 50’s she experimented with split-level floor seating. Nanna was a pioneer in the fields of fiberglass, wickerwork and foam rubber, and in various disciplines such as cabinet making, jewellery, tableware, and textiles. Nanna Ditzel designed the world’s most renowned furniture textile “Hallingdal” for Kvadrat.
Mathieu Matégot (1910 – 2001) was a versatile, independent and self-taught Hungarian designer, architect and artist who spent most of his life in his beloved Paris, where he for the first time settled in 1931 after finishing his studies at Budapest’s School of Art and Architecture.
In the 1950’s – and for a decade and a half – that he devoted to the design of furniture and interior accessories, he created a wide range of distinctive designs that today is considered iconic and contemporary.
Born in Sweden in 1917, Nisse Strinning studied architecture in Stockholm from 1940-47 before designing the iconic String shelf system that his name is still synonymous with. Since its launch in 1949, the String design has received more than 15 prestigious international awards. As contemporary today as it was almost 60 years ago, String was originally developed as an affordable and flexible bookshelf system that could be added to as owners’ book collections increased.
Paavo Tynell (1890-1973) was an industrial designer, known as the great pioneer of Finnish lighting design and fondly dubbed as “the man who illuminated Finland”. Tynell was one of the founders and chief designers of Taito Oy – the first industrial producer of lighting fixtures in Finland. With the innovation of electricity in the beginning of the 20th century, Taito Oy and Tynell expanded the thinking and manufacturing of modern lighting solutions in Europe and abroad.
Paavo Tynell rose to prominence in the 1930s and 40s where he collaborated with some of the most renowned Finnish architects, Alvar Aalto being the most notable one. Working to incorporate artificial lighting into modern environments, Tynell’s company Taito Oy produced fixtures for all of Alvar Aalto’s major projects including the Paimio Sanatorium and the Viipuri Library.
Today Paavo Tynell lamps and lighting are highly sought after by an international clientele of collectors and prices of his most important pieces have lately soared on auctions.
Inoda + Sveje
Inoda + Sveje is a design duo comprising Kyoko Inoda, born in Osaka in 1971, and Nils Sveje, born in Denmark in 1969. Inoda studied architectural design at ISAD in Milan. Sveje graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. Sveje later moved to Italy where he worked under Stefano Giovannoni, and then returned to Denmark. While working at the Institute of Product Development (IPU) Sveje joined forces with Inoda and formed Inoda + Sveje in Copenhagen in 2000, before returning their base of operations to Milan in 2003.
In addition to furniture and product design, Inoda + Sveje is involved in other fields, such as medical devices and speakers. Inoda + Sveje designed the DC09 chair in 2011, a solid wood chair with a minimalist and sculptural essence, that won them the International Furniture (IF) Gold Award for Furniture Design.
In December of 2016, Cisco Tschurtschenthaler and her husband George Gorrow opened an island stay in Canggu, Bali called The Slow. Thanks to their meticulous attention to detail and rebellious design aesthetic, the hotel has grown to become a highly coveted art-centric destination that draws in an eclectic mix of travellers from across the globe.
During the curation of The Slow’s restaurant space, Eat&Drink, Cisco found herself unable to source the precise pieces they had envisioned in the setting, and set about creating her own line of homewares to suit their considered aesthetic and unrelenting dedication to sustainability.
Working with ceramicists who craft entirely by hand using ancient and considered techniques, the Cisco & the Sun pieces have evolved into a recognisable collection of unique and earthly tableware.
Recognised today as one of the great masters of modern architecture, Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) was born in Kuortane, Finland. During a long and prolific career, Aalto designed buildings for almost all key public institutions, as well as standardised housing and private homes. One of the co-founders of Artek, Aalto left a legacy with lasting resonance.
Aalto’s architecture is distinctively Finnish, strongly individual, and marked by a warm humanity. His buildings derive their aesthetic character from their dynamic relationship with their natural surroundings, their human scale, superbly executed details, unique treatment of materials, and ingenious use of lighting.
Aalto began designing furnishings as a natural extension of his architectural thinking. His first modern piece of furniture was created in 1931-32 for the tuberculosis sanatorium in Paimio, Finland. Artek was set up in 1935 to market and sell his and his wife Aino’s furniture, lighting, and textiles, particularly on international markets.
Sebastian Herkner (born 1981) studied Product Design at HfG Offenbach University of Art and Design. During his studies he began to focus on designing objects and furniture, honing his keen sense for materials, colors and textures. For a short while he then worked for Stella McCartney in London. In the year 2006 Sebastian Herkner founded his own studio. Since that time, he has designed furniture, lamps and smaller items for manufacturers such as Ames, and Tradition, Cappellini, ClassiCon, Dedon, Ex.t, Fontana Arte, Gubi, Linteloo, Moroso, Pulpo, Rosenthal, Schramm Werkstätten, Thonet, Wittmann and Zanotta. Herkner also realizes interior architecture projects and museum and exhibition design. His works have won numerous accolades – among others the IF Award, the Iconic Award and the Elle Deco International Design Award (EDIDA). As Guest of Honor to imm cologne 2016, Sebastian Herkner provided the design for “Das Haus”. Maison&Objet has elected him 2019 “Designer of the Year”.
Adam Cornish is a multidisciplinary designer working from his independent design studio in Melbourne Australia. Adam aims to create honest accessible products developed through research and by allowing products to find their natural expression. By combining strong, simple design solutions with a palette of natural tactile materials Adam strives to create individual products with visual and physical longevity.
Space Copenhagen was founded in 2005 by Signe Bindslev Henriksen and Peter Bundgaars Rützou, graduates from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of architecture. Not wanting to conform to a conventional career path, the pair joined forces to form a multidisciplinary design studio working across architecture, interiors, furniture and lighting.
In a short time, the duo has defined their own signature style and aesthetic centred on quality and longevity. Space Copenhagen has an extensive portfolio ranging from furniture to art installations to high end interior design projects establishing a strong identity in the hospitality and luxury retail sectors. Their designs have a strong presence in the collections of Gubi, Fredericia and &tradition.
Kate Stokes & Haslett Grounds
Coco Flip is a Melbourne based furniture and lighting design studio founded in 2010 by Kate Stokes and Haslett Grounds. Working closely with local craftspeople and manufacturers, Kate and Haslett create lasting products with depth of character. Originally hailing from Perth, Kate was introduced to the world of design through her studies at Curtin University, where she majored in Industrial Design. The duo saw early success for Coco Flip when their product ‘Coco Pendant’, a piece of lighting design inspired by Scandinavian and Japanese aesthetics, was selected for a number of awards at Fringe Furniture in 2011. Coco Flip now have a range of products including lighting, tables and seating for which they have won numerous awards and gained international success, all the while remaining true to Australian design.
Verner Panton started out as a painter before studying architecture at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. After an apprenticeship with architect / designer Arne Jacobsen, Panton pursued a path in furniture and interior design, where he became famous for his avant-garde designs. Such as chairs with no legs and a sofa placed vertically against the wall. In the 60’s and 70’s, his passion for designing entire environments led to immersive interiors featuring his hypnotic patterns and futuristic designs for furniture, lighting, wallpapers, posters and rugs. Panton’s pioneering use of materials, colours and shapes earned him a reputation as a visionary. In recognition of his life achievement, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Dannebrog Order in 1998 by the Queen of Denmark.
Sofie Refer is an internationally awarded Danish lighting designer and rooted in the Scandinavian design tradition she considers respect for nature and the beauty of simplicity as two of the most valuable qualities in her designs. With esteem for the tradition, Sofie likes to challenge the perception and with curiosity and eagerness to explore the riches, generosity and extravagance of environment interprets these in her lighting designs. “I am truly inspired by light in the Nordic. I strive to balance simplicity and grandeur, and create light that has a pure yet sensuous expression.”
Born in Paris in 1927, Pierre Paulin made his début in the 50’s, known for his designs and installations. He brought modernity to the Elysée Palace for President Pompidou in 1971 and designed all the furniture for the official office of François Mitterrand, and renovated the dining room for Jacques Chirac.
His pieces figure amongst the collections of numerous museums across the world, and various exhibitions have been dedicated to him in 2007/8. MOMA, New York has enlarged its collection of Paulin pieces.
Ronan & Erwan Bourollec
Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec are brothers and designers, bonded by diligence, and challenged by their distinct personalities. Based in Paris, they got their break in 1997 when Cappellini presented them with their first industrial design project. Since then they have gone on to work with top international brands including: Artek, Alessi, AXOR Hansgrohe, Flos, Hay, Issey Miyake, Kettal, Kvadrat, Kartell, Ligne Roset, Samsung and Vitra.
Their work is part of the permanent collections of cultural institutions such as the Musée Des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Design Museum in London.
Luca Nichetto is an Italian designer. After studies in industrial design at the IUAV in Venice, he began his professional career in 1999 by designing his first projects in Murano glass for Salviati. In 2006 he launched his own design firm, Nichetto&Partners, which specializes in industrial design and offers its services as a design consultancy. In 2011 Luca Nichetto also opened another professional office in Stockholm, Sweden. Luca Nichetto has received numerous awards, such as the IF Product Design Award 2008, and the Elle Decoration International Design Awards (EDIDA) 2009. Luca Nichetto was Guest of Honour at IMM Cologne in 2013.
Luke Mills is a New Zealand Industrial designer based in Melbourne, Australia. His work is characterised by a focus on function, exploring manufacturing techniques and a keen eye for detail.
With a vision to create locally made feature lights, Luke Mills founded Lumil in 2017. All Lumil pieces are designed in-house and in collaboration with local manufacturers.
Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi form Danish/Italian design duo GamFratesi. The duo draw on their traditional design backgrounds, Danish furniture craftsmanship and the Italian intellectual and conceptual approach. From this cross-cultural substrate they create furniture that respectfully reflects tradition while also featuring unique embedded stories, symbols and associations, often expressed in a minimalist idiom. GamFratesi aim to create furniture that illustrates the process and the techniques that created it, and which reflect a persistent exploration of the diverse border zone between harmony and disharmony. Gamfratesi studio was founded in 2006, the studio is based in Copenhagen, though Gam and Fratesi are continuously travelling between Italy and Denmark for development and research of new projects.
Greta M. Grossman was a Swedish furniture designer, interior designer and architect who maintained a prolific forty-year career across Europe and North America. A mover and shaker in the male dominated world of mid-century modern design, Grossman’s had a gift for creating timeless designs with elegant, feminine and light expressions. For many years, the Grossman name somewhat disappeared from the design landscape. Recognising Grossman’s pioneering style and unique vision, Danish design house GUBI have revived her most recognised designs including the Grashoppa Floor Lamp, the Cobra Table Lamp and the Modern Line Collection, giving them new life.
Adam Goodrum was born in in Perth and moved to Sydney at the age of 17 to study Industrial Design at the University of Technology (where he graduated in 1983). In 1994 he won the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award for his Eye chair. His next venture cemented his name as one of Australia’s most reknowned designers in a meeting with Giulio Cappellini of famous Italian furniture house, Cappellini. He developed the “Stitch” chair in 1998, a folding chair which has since become an icon. Goodrum now runs a studio and lectures at the University of Technology Sydney. Goodrums’ distinctive work can be seen in the recent collection he designed with Cult and the “Volley” series he designed for Tait.