Today we met with the Finn Juhl people.
We were greeted in the most Danish of traditions, strong black coffee and a plate of short breads filled with strawberry mousse and covered in perfect Danish strawberries. We discussed business and Finn Juhl for a while and heard how they started.
One of the directors Henrik, was asked by the widow of Finn Juhl if he could make a #57 sofa for an exhibition she had organized in Denmark. Of course he jumped at the chance and they made such a fantastic example that Finn Juhl’s widow asked if they would be interested in producing the sofa, this was almost 10 years ago. Henrik is also the cousin of Peter Morgensen, of Borg Mogensen fame and clearly has the furniture in his veins, a really lovely charming guy.
We talked and talked about design and what we do at Great Dane and then Henrik asked how would we like to do this; as in what shall we do to make our partnership official. I put out my hand and we shook. That is about as Danish as you can get. The deal is done Great Dane is now the exclusive representative for probably the most significant designer to come out of Denmark in the whole 20th century. We are so thrilled.
Henrik then said we should go and see the showroom, but unfortunately and fortunately, all the Finn Juhl furniture is in Copenhagen. I was a little confused, but Henrik informed us that Finn Juhls private residence had recently been given to the Danish government by his widow which is now open to the public, and they have a temporary exhibit of all of his work at a museum that is next to his house. His house is stunning and I cant wait to see it.
We went to the showroom anyway, which was a house from 1790, it was just fantastic. The open fireplace was going when we arrived, beautiful old oak floor, white washed ceiling and walls, it breathed Hygge. We sat down and Henrik and few others from the office joined us in front of the fire for drinks.
The experience of this room, even without the Finn Juhl product was one of those rare moments, that was the culmination of all I consider to be right about what we do. The warmth of the room, the people, the drink and the conversation on Danish design. There was an entire wall floor to ceiling full of books and magazines from the 30’s to now about Danish Design. We talked of Finn Juhl, Illum, WIkkelsoe, Erik Buch…….
It then it came to light that Henrik was Erick Buch’s nephew, it was fascinating. Erik Buch studied under Finn Juhl, then Evan (one of the other directors) said he had met Illum WIkkelsoe and H W Klein and our mouths dropped. He thinks both of them are still alive. I will have to come back soon to try to meet them.
I really felt as if I was sitting here in the perfect place for discussing Danish design and history.
We sat and talked and drank for hours discussing the old designers, how creative and interesting they must have been, what it would have been like to have been involved in such a renaissance of furniture design and manufacturing, and for a moment I felt that we had captured that feeling in that room, it was hygge.
I have waffled on enough, it was wonderful experience and I thought you guys might like to hear it.
We are off to see Aksel Kersgaard this morning and Getama, and then we will confirm today we hopefully will have lunch with Arne Vodder on Friday! Its proving to be my best trip ever.