2011 Restoration Masterclass

It's back!

Our 2010 class was so popular we've set aside 2 days next year: February 19 and March 19, 2011.  Call the Melbourne showroom on 9510 6111 to book your place. 

Running over 4 hours, workshop manager Byron Reyneke and assistant Rupert Porter will illustrate for attendees Danish restoration techniques and tackle the 3 top requests = fixing sticky draws, removing water marks and repairing wobbly legs.  A great opportunity to get hands on and learn to fix it yourself!

The class starts at the Great Dane workshop and will conclude at the Melbourne showroom with a tour and review of the finished product with Great Dane founder and director Anton Assaad.  All participants receive a care kit to take home and continue the good work.

What: Great Dane Furniture Restorers Masterclass

When: Saturday 19th February or Saturday 19th March
Where: Great Dane Furniture Workshop, 43 Porter Street, Prahran
Time: 9am -1pm
Price: $150.00 per person
Bookings: 03 9510-6111

Class numbers are limited, so get in quick to book your place.






86 Hoddle Street, Abbotsford. Near corner of Gipps Street.

All items are 100% Danish; all items are fully restored. Up to 40% off.

Prices range from $500 to $750 for chests of drawers, leather sofas from $1950, dining chairs from $200, dining tables from $900, Easy chairs from $500.

PLUS cow hides; hundreds of meters of Danish wool discounted to $25 per meter normally $140 per meter!

These Sales are very busy so visit early to avoid disappointment.

Ph - 03 9510 6111

The Scirocco Chair by Arne Norell from 1964

Scirocco Chair

Norell’s Safari chair is an interpretation of Kaare Klint's Famous Safari chair, which has been long considered a revolutionary chair in the design world.   

Kaare Klint designed his Safari Chair in 1933. He wanted to produce a light, portable armchair and was inspired by the English officers chair he had seen in a travel guide from Africa. The purpose of using the chair in the field was maintained as the chair is easy to disassemble - and assemble - with no tools. Maybe the world's first D-I-Y, flat-packed piece of furniture.
Campaign Chair

Safari Chair
I have attached an image of the Campaign Chair, the Safari Chair by Kaare Klint and Arne Norell’s Scirocco chair, showing its progression and evolution.

My first question when I first came across the Scirocco Chair was, ‘what’s with the name?’  Also used as girl's name, Scirocco is of Italian and Arabic origin and means "warm wind". The word was originally a description of the wind that blew over Italy from the Libyan deserts.

When I look at the Scirocco Chair and read the meaning of the word, there is a certain romance to this, reminding me of Lawrence of Arabia and swaying tents and endless sand dunes. I can envisage a bedouin tent full of Sirocco Chairs draped with rein deer hides( maybe substituted for a goat hide!) surrounding a warm hearth and the aroma of sweet mint tea.

Anyway I have tracked down the original manufacturer and had Pylle, our resident Dane ask if they have any old stock left. Well I guess if you ask the right question you get the answer you are looking for. They contacted us back a few days later to let us know they had a few left still in their original boxes, so we purchased what they had, what a find!

I hope to have one in each of our showrooms by end of next month for our clients to look and order from. The few that remain will be shipped in the new year.

What luck.....

Tord Boontje

Tord Boontje is from the Netherlands and was a member of a def metal band. Apparently he had a child and somehow channeled his metal into this, another wonderful creation!

We are thrilled to be receiving some of his porcelain this Christmas; platters, dinner plates and an adorable egg cup. I saw these and our GM Megan, knew of Tord but I didn’t.  It immediately made me think of my daughter and how wonderful it would be for her to grow up remembering these beautiful porcelain, I guess like Bunnikens. 

We are currently choosing some of his fabric to have in our Showrooms also.  I’m also going to choose a couple of easy chairs that I want to cover in his fabric. Maybe a Plank Chair or Alf Svensen easy chair, both would look stunning and its fun to be able to do something with a sense of light and warmth.

The Wonders of Wikkelsø

We rarely see work by Illum Wikkelsø (pronounced Vikkelsow). His work is some of the most intriguing and diverse from the midcentury in Denmark and yet he remains a bit of a enigma.

His multitude of designs, from sofas to desks and easy chairs, reflects a person with a creative mind and a great understanding of design, resulting in some really iconic pieces.

This is an image of an extremely rare V11 sofa which was produced by Holger Christiansen and I have never see in oak before. The sofa befits the name, its long and sleek and has beautiful lines.

We had this model recovered in elmotique tobacco, it just looks so right. Its great to see such a rare iconic piece brought back to life.

Great Dane - what's going on...

So much going on at Great Dane this week!  Our Sydney sale kicked off with a bang yesterday - despite the crazy weather!   Great Dane subscribers were treated to a VIP preview night including an additional 10% off already reduced stock.  It runs until Tuesday at 107-109 Botany Road, Waterloo - so get in early to avoid disapointment. 

This weekend we are holding our first ever Magazine Swap.  Inside Out have been kind enough to sponsor this event and have provided us with a pile of magazines for design fans to pour over and trade for an old one you've had at home and haven't the heart to throw away.  And the best part?   You can get comfy on our favourie pieces (a sit in the Prime Time Chair a must) whilst you make your selection.  Check the website for more details - Sunday 5th Sept 3-6pm Sydney and Melbourne. 

We're also celebrating the charming Niels Moller this month - an award winning designer of Danish furniture.  A great family story as Niel's son Jorgen managegs the company now and recounted a beautiful memory of working for his father as a child - tacking the J.L. Moller stamp onto sideboards.  He is continuing in his fathers footsteps; maintaining the Moller philosophy of hand craftsmanship and production without assembly line.  Simply beautiful.

Speaking of family - don't forget Dad this Sunday! 

Your Wegner, Your Great Dane, Your Life

Hans Wegner’s GE 240 (nicknamed the cigar, probably due to the shape of the arm, but no doubt it could have been that many cigars have been smoked while lounging in the chair, designed in 1951, is a classic example of his work; simple organic, beautifully made and perfect for lounging in.
Wegner often said, “If you want to know the chair has been designed properly, lift it up and look underneath’. The Cigar is a great example of this, from every angle its appealing. Wegner’s complete understanding of the human form and desire to resolve his designs was amazing and something to admire.

The Danish Pavilion by Bjarke Ingels Group at Shanghai Expo 2010

The Danish pavilion at EXPO 2010 will give visitors the opportunity to try some of the best aspects of Danish city life themselves. Through interaction, the visitors are able to actually experience some of Copenhagen’s best attractions – the city bike, the harbor bath, playground settings, a picnic on the roof garden and the opportunity to see the authentic H.C Andersen’s Little Mermaid. 
 BIG’s double-loop structure has a cycle park on the roof containing 300 free bikes for visitors, and features as its centrepiece a pool overlooked by the Little Mermaid statue from Copenhagen – specially imported for the Expo – where visitors can swim.

Moller Memories

I was recently reminded by a friend of just how far our pieces have to travel to begin their new life in our client’s homes. This often brings back memories of particular trips to Denmark.

On one of these trips I had a meeting planned with Jorgen Moller at the Moller factory and I had coincidently just found an original Brazilian rosewood sideboard by Jorgen's father, Niels Moller. I asked Jorgen if he remembered this design....... well he did.

His face lit up and Jorgen told me a wonderful story of how his father used to pay him 1DKK for every J.L.Moller stamp he tacked onto the sideboards, I could see it really brought him back to his childhood.

This confirms for me how in touch we are with the soul and history of these pieces.
Moller only used the highest quality rosewood and this can be seen in this model which has extraordinary grain.

Designer: Niels Moller
Designed: Early1950’s
Maker: J.L.Moller
Product code: F3424
Dimensions: 210cm x 48cm x H80cm

Happy 50th Birthday to the SAS Royal Hotel

Happy 50th Birthday to the worlds first designer hotel - the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen designed by architect Arne Jacobsen in 1960.

Meticulously designed the SAS Royal Hotel is one of the top five-star hotels in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Room 606 is famously still in its original state. 

As part of the celebrations, a recreation of room 606 from the hotel has been created at the SAS Business Lounge at Copenhagen Airport.

...Anton missed it by 2 weeks - grrr!

Great Dane Restoration MasterClass

For the first time ever, Great Dane Melbourne will hold a Restoration MasterClass on restoration of modern classics.

Workshop Manager, Byron Reyneke, will illustrate for attendees Danish restoration techniques through the observation of the restoration of a Plank Chair and a two door cabinet.

Attendees will learn how to:

           o repair wobbly chair legs
           o remove water marks
           o fix sticky drawers

The Masterclass will conclude at Great Dane Showroom where Anton will talk about the finished product. All participants will receive a furniture care kit as a gift from us.

What: Great Dane Furniture Restorers Masterclass
When: Saturday 14 August, 2010
Where: Great Dane Furniture Workshop, 43 Porter Street, Prahran
Time: 9am -12pm
Price: $50.00 per person
Bookings: 03 9510-6111

Please note bookings are essential as places are strictly limited.

Warm up with some Glogg!

A classic Scandinavian hot spiced wine punch served with raisins and almonds. This will surely take the bite off those cold winter nights. Flaming the brandy is optional.


2 (750 milliliter) bottles red wine
2 ounces dried orange zest
2 ounces cinnamon sticks
20 whole cardamom seeds
25 whole cloves
1 pound blanched almonds
1 pound raisins
1 pound sugar cubes
5 fluid ounces brandy


1.Pour wine into a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Wrap orange zest, cinnamon sticks, cardamom and cloves in cheesecloth, tie with kitchen string and put into pot. Let boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in almonds and raisins and continue to boil for 15 more minutes. Remove from heat.

2.Place a wire grill over the pot and cover with sugar cubes. Slowly pour on brandy, making sure to completely saturate the sugar. Light sugar with a match and let it flame. When sugar has melted, cover pot with lid to extinguish flame.

3.Stir and remove spice bag. Serve hot in cups with a few almonds and raisins.

In California, a Midcentury House in the Redwoods - by NY Times

“IT sounds very Californian, but this home found us,” said Kim Todd, explaining why she and her husband, Andrew, left a 5,000-square-foot house with a pool and a large landscaped garden in Marin County for a home one-fifth the size, with a single bedroom and a wealth of deferred maintenance.

The couple, who run diPietro Todd, a chain of hair salons in the San Francisco Bay Area, first saw the crescent-shaped house nestled in a canyon of redwood trees here about four years ago, and almost immediately made the decision to move.

“We fell in love as soon as we saw the house and its surroundings,” Ms. Todd, 55, said. “Our work life is so public. It’s really quiet here, and the owls fly by at night.”

She and Mr. Todd, 49, had two children who were nearly grown — Luke is now 17, and Sophie is 21 — and they knew they were approaching the time when they would have to think about downsizing, since they were “soon going to be empty nesters,” she said.

But the architecture was a big part of the appeal. The house was built in 1958 by Daniel J. Liebermann, an architect who had apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright, and he was just 28 when he designed it for himself and his wife. Like most of Mr. Liebermann’s homes, it is constructed on a radial frame, with curving exterior walls.

John Lovell, a friend of Mr. Todd’s who is a designer and had studied Mr. Liebermann’s work, showed him the listing when the house came on the market and urged him to take a look. Mr. Todd then passed the listing along to another friend, Wanda Liebermann, an architect who had helped design several of his salons, without realizing she was Mr. Liebermann’s daughter. “That’s the house I grew up in,” she told him.

Mr. Liebermann had sold the house in 1966, but he was living nearby — and still practicing architecture at 80 — and both he and Ms. Liebermann advised the Todds during the early stages of the renovation.

But Mr. Todd also spent many hours alone on the property, ruminating about how to proceed. “I would stare at every angle and reconfigure the space in my mind,” he said of the house, which they bought in 2006 for $1,125,000. “In the end, it was clear the original design was best. We chose to edit and make the home more luxurious.”

That meant leaving the interior layout basically as it was, with one important exception: the three cramped bedrooms and two bathrooms in the sleeping area were replaced with a single master bedroom and bathroom, and a walk-in closet handcrafted in wood by a boat builder. (The couple’s son sleeps in an adjacent guest house; their daughter had already left home by the time they moved in a year ago.)

It also meant upgrading the house’s 19 skylights, putting in a new kitchen and refurbishing the radiant heating system. New lighting was installed throughout the house; the wood rafters and the ceiling were wire-brushed and waxed; the concrete floors were restained and polished; and the exposed brick walls were coated with plaster to create a more modern look.

Not surprisingly, the remodeling budget spiraled. “We started with the idea of spending $350 a square foot,” Mr. Todd said. “We ended up spending at least 25 percent more than that — at some point I stopped counting. I just knew we had only one chance to do it right.”

Living in a 1,100-square-foot house has had its challenges. The couple had to get rid of many of their possessions, including most of Mr. Todd’s collection of midcentury modern furniture. “I had to put so much in storage,” he said. “I brought my Mies van der Rohe daybed here, and it was too big, too square.”

Ms. Todd, however, is content to be a minimalist. “This home represents the next chapter for us as a couple,” she said. “It’s our rite of passage.”

Danish Beer Business

I was introduced to a great little Danish ale in a small Arrhus tavern, apparently 300 years old.

Pylle our resident Dane and investigator tracked down the brewery on a small island in Denmark, coincidently very close to where Pylle grew up. We visited the Brewery twice, the first time they just told me to come back as we hadn’t made an appointment. Clearly he had forgotten the conversation the day before where we did arrange a time!  so we left and then called and told him we would be back tomorrow.

Low and behold the same thing happened the next day, then it clicked he was not the most sober of brewers! He sat us in a room, cracked 2 beers turned on a DVD and walked out! Oookayyyyy! Pylle and I just looked at each other, laughed and drank the beer while watching what was possiblly the funniest home made video of how they make the beer.

We finally finished the beer and video, and walked back into the brewey. Suddenly the brewer seemed a lot happier, we tried ½ dozen different beers and talked about the brewing. Well, Pylle did, no English at all just the international language of beer.

The brewery has been around for almost 100 years, 3 generations of brewers in family, all made on site using local wheat etc. So I will keep you posted, we hope to have it in Australia before Xmas.

Great Dane in the NUD in Sweden

We visited our supplier NUD/FRINAB and we were greeted by the Australian flag flying high, it was great, I have never seen such a clean and organized factory as NUD, it was great to sit and and meet Staffan the owner and discuss all the new and exciting products they are working on.

You can see some of the prototypes of the new lights in image 0270, low voltage floours and LEDS bulbs, with some fantastic new deisgns.

Here is a few photos from NUD

Hello Stockholm...

Sunrise at 4.30am
Crazy Subway!
Sunset at 10.30pm

A tribute to Arne

Our great friend and master architect Arne Vodder passed away on the evening of Sunday December 27th. It is with great sadness we say farewell to him.

Born in Denmark in 1926, architect Arne Vodder studied in Copenhagen under his friend and mentor the legendary Danish designer Finn Juhl. The pair later worked together as they went on to establish themselves as the pre-eminent Scandinavian designers of the mid-century period.

In 1951, Arne began collaborating with designer Anton Berg, the pair working together on over 1000 modular housing projects with one of the Denmark’s largest builders.

Over the next few years, Arne began working with Fritz Hansen, France & Son/Cado and Sibast, which launched a range of Arne Vodder furniture in 1959.

Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, Arne worked with Sibast, designing a range of furniture that found a huge market in corporate offices and banks throughout the United States.

His famous desk design was collected and used by the likes of United States President Jimmy Carter, Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi and an infamous Chicago gangster.

Arne’s designs from the period, with their stylish materials and exacting proportions, remain contemporary and modern; in strong demand more than 50 years after they were last produced.
Renowned for his trademark organic edges, coloured panels and rich timbers, Arne Vodder brings timeless beauty to everyday things.

With its unusual combination of timber, metal and colour, his iconic #26 sideboard, designed in 1959, is to this day impossible to improve.

We have lost a friend and a great talent. Our deepest sympathies to Jonna and the Vodder family.