Maria Brunn

Eight Nordic designers making furniture look like art

The Chart art and design fair in Copenhagen featured a range of designers creating furniture and homeware as if they were sculptures. Dezeen editor-at-large Amy Frearson picks out 10 of the most impressive.

The seventh edition of Chart took place in Copenhagen from 30 August to 1 September 2019, spotlighting the work of artists, designers and galleries in the Nordic region.

It was only the second time for the fair to also include a dedicated design fair, which took place at the Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art. It featured presentations of collectible design by eight galleries and 10 studios.

Highlights included ceramics and glassware made using unusual techniques and irregular wooden seats.

Here's a look at 10 of the most interesting Nordic designers on show:


Nordic designers: Maria Bruun

Maria Bruun

Based in Copenhagen, Maria Bruun uses a lot of wood and ceramics in her designs, making forms that are very elemental.

Her works include the Big Foot range of tables, which feature unusually proportioned legs and feet. More recently she has created a series of stacking storage boxes with decorative perforations.

"My starting point will often be a material or something I'm fascinated with," she told Dezeen.


Nordic designers: Katztudio
Photo by Aleksi Tikkala

Katztudio

This studio based in Tampere, Finland, is made up of designers Dylan and Greta Katz. The pair specialise in free-blown glass, which they experiment with to create unique effects.

Katztudio's latest designs, the Illusia Vases, are designed to capture the ethereal nature of glass. They bring together neon colours and varying levels of translucency.

The duo sell their works through online design gallery UU Market, which was among the Chart exhibitors.


Nordic designers: Sigve Knutson

Sigve Knutson

Norwegian designer Sigve Knutson creates textured objects from abstract sketches, using materials ranging from clay to aluminium. He always starts with a function in mind, but sometimes the end result is more ambiguous in its use.

"I always look for simple ways of making something, so the result is often rough," he explained. "In the end, it might be totally non-functional, but it comes out of the idea of a function."

Knutson's new works, presented at Chart by Galleri Format Oslo, include a large hand-tufted rug, a carved wooden stool and a hammered aluminium object that could function as a shelf.


Nordic designers: Naoto Niidome

Naoto Niidome

Naoto Niidome combines his Finnish and Japanese heritage through works in wood, textiles and ceramics. Using clever colour palettes, his simple, contemporary style celebrates natural imperfections.

Based in Espoo, southern Finland, the designer's latest offerings include the Wariki cabinet, made from thin lengths of spruce, and a series of simple vases. They were on show at Chart with Helsinki gallery Lokal.


Nordic designers: Nathalie Lautenbacher

Nathalie Lautenbacher

Finnish designer Nathalie Lautenbacher, who is also Naoto Niidome's partner, takes a more exaggerated approach in her own ceramics. Her works combine highly polished surfaces with rough, stone-like textures. She also experiments with colours in her glazes.

As well as small dishes made from porcelain and stoneware, her latest works include a series of characterful porcelain spoons.


Nordic designers: Frederik Nystrup-Larsen and Oliver Sundqvist

Frederik Nystrup-Larsen and Oliver Sundqvist

Danish designer Frederik Nystrup-Larsen and Swedish-Danish designer Oliver Sundqvist started collaborating after studying together at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. The designers teamed up to create a pair of vases as Christmas presents for their mothers.

After posting images of the vases on Instagram, they were spotted by Lea Kargaard of Studio David Thulstrup, who commissioned more for the interior of the new Noma restaurant.

The pair teamed up again to create the colourful seats that were used by speakers on Chart's talks programme.


Nordic designers: FOS
Photo by David Stjernholm

FOS

Danish artist Thomas Poulsen, who goes by the name FOS, creates works that can be classed as art, design and architecture. Based in Copenhagen, his extensive portfolio includes furniture designed for the Danish Prime Minister and pieces for fashion brand Céline.

Copenhagen gallery Etage Projects presented several FOS designs at Chart, including a table with upside pyramids for legs, the rugged Mountain vases, the cast concrete Hesitations daybed and a new wooden dining table.


Nordic designers: Turi Heisselberg Pedersen

Turi Heisselberg Pedersen

Danish ceramic artist Turi Heisselberg Pedersen is pushing the boundaries of contemporary craft. Not one to become pigeonholed, she creates colourful vases and vessels with organic forms, faceted shapes and bulbous bodies.

Her latest collaboration, with Danish heritage brand Kähler, is a series of five vases that distort the traditional hourglass figure. Each has a distinct colour, which include a multi-tonal brown, a soft pink and a warm charcoal.