Nordic design is more than iconic lamps, cosy blankets and minimal ceramics. It can change the world.
One Danish furniture company that is doing just that is TAKT, and I recently had the pleasure of chatting with their founder and CEO, Henrik Taudorf Lorensen.
At TAKT they have taken the time to rethink how furniture is designed, built and sold; and dedicated themselves to bringing high-quality design to more people in revolutionary, sustainable and transparent ways.
Henrik and the TAKT team are a true inspiration. Here’s what he had to tell me:
What inspired you to start TAKT? What did you want your furniture company to do differently?
There were two aspects to starting TAKT. The first was a heartfelt need to produce furniture more sustainably, and the other was a personal reflection of where Danish design had now moved too.
Over the past few decades, while a lot of good things have happened, classic Danish design had moved away from its initial vision of accessible quality for all to being one of luxury for the few.
At TAKT we wanted to revitalise this original idea, to look at the strong traditions of Danish design with fresh eyes and make it relevant again to a new audience.
We named ourselves ‘TAKT’ after the Danish saying ‘Takt or Tone’, which means doing things right and behaving well.
TAKT is celebrated for keeping responsibility and sustainability at the forefront of everything you do, can you give me some examples of how you have led this positive change?
In Europe less than ten per cent of furniture is recycled or re-used, while in the US it is less than one, which is rather depressing.
Our Soft Lounge Chair has recently won a Danish Design Award because we dared to challenge this mindset. It is a hand-crafted, flatpacked, sustainable and eco-certified product that consumers can easily assemble and disassemble; and moreover every part can be replaced.
Designed with sustainability in mind from the beginning, the idea was to drape a thin ash veneer over a solid wood frame, almost like a piece of textile, giving it a distinctive soft shape while also being highly comfortable and generous in its size.
With its timeless good looks and strong craftsmanship hopefully, the user of our Soft Lounge Chair will want to keep the it for many years.
Every TAKT product is beautifully crafted and designed with heartfelt passion. How do you choose who to work with, and who do you hope to collaborate with in the future?
At TAKT we call our design direction, ‘Danish Design with a Global Outlook’. We are proud of our Scandinavian heritage, but we think of it in an inclusive way. What we call good design in Denmark is not a national thing, but a set of design qualities.
We have reached out to a number of excellent designers globally where we find resonance with our mission to stay curious and change things for the better and whose body of work we admire.
We have found this quality with both a number of globally recognised designers, such as Thomas Bentzen, PearsonLloyd, and Rasmus Palmgren, as well as with highly talented new designers.
How do you think Covid-19 will change how we make and buy furniture? What do you think we can all learn from this unprecedented time?
Modern design and furniture making must not only think about the finished product but take a full life-cycle view.
I think this will become important, not only for brands and their production, but for consumers too as they start to look at their own consumption differently.
Classic luxury, as an expression of excessive wealth, has become outdated. People want to have good quality items and products that are thoughtful and reflective of their lifestyle and convictions. It’s about substance rather than the superficial.
This sea change was already starting to happen before the Covid-19 crisis, and I think it will accelerate this it even further. The crisis has been terrible for many people, but what we have seen in some parts of the world, is that people can make a difference together and this realisation can only go on to fuel positive change in other areas too.
Many Danish brands are now thinking green and taking a more sustainable approach, but how do you think this will define Danish design in years to come?
From the middle of the last century Danish design was driven by a desire to help normal people improve how they lived each and every day, with incredible designers like Finn Juhl, Børge Mogensen, Kaare Klint, Arne Jacobsen coming out of this movement.
Today we have a different societal challenge to tackle. We need to find ways to keep on improving our living standards but doing it in a way that does not harm our environment and the planet. It will likely be about fewer but better things, and design can play an important role to solve this.
At TAKT all our products have been awarded the demanding EU Ecolabel meaning we can start to make a real impact and hopefully we will see others follow in the years to come.
Thank you so much to Henrik for chatting with me, I am very much looking forward to visiting the TAKT showroom in Copenhagen again soon.
To find out more about TAKT and to shop their collection please visit the TAKT website.
Like this post? Then why not read my chat with the founders of Danish kitchen design company Reform, Michael Andersen and Jeppe Christensen.
All photography via TAKT.