At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Bauhaus school left its mark on German architecture and design by promoting a creative style that conveys an ideal based on simplicity, stripped of accessories, ornaments and all kinds of additions that do not contribute to an object’s specific uses.
Today, this subconscious practice comes naturally to many creators all over the world. This practice, which favoured mass consumption, seemed to be the logical way to get ahead economically after the Second World War and was embraced by Nordic design from 1940 onwards.
Located in one of Copenhagen’s oldest streets, the Norm Architects studio still upholds the fundamental principles of this style today: timeless aesthetics, the use of natural materials and the defence of moderation and refinement. There are no secrets to their working process, which is based simply on actively listening to their intuition: “We explore what elevates the human senses beyond personal taste to make sure that spaces, objects, ideas and images are reduced to their simplest form in our projects.”
“The inspiration came from the concept of round furniture. There are many examples of iconic furniture by Lina Bo Bardi, Nanna Ditzel and Pierre Paulin, to name but a few.”
The Cask collection, made by Norm Architects for Expormim, is one of the latest examples of harmony and elegance by Nicolaj Friis Nøddesbo, designer at the Danish studio, and the rest of the team. “Cask is a modern spin on a historic craft that combines the refinement of the rattan with the softness of the upholstery coming together in a collection of unique pieces of furniture.” Given the wide range of rattan and textile finishes available, Cask exudes a timelessness that allows the pieces to show their bold and playful side, a characteristic which suits the mood of any contemporary space.
“The name ‘Cask’ comes from the round shape of the rattan circles, as well as from the craftsmanship that goes into every piece.” The dynamism that the two rings bring to the shape is softened by the tempering of the colour palette. “The inspiration came from the concept of round furniture. There are many examples of iconic furniture by Lina Bo Bardi, Nanna Ditzel and Pierre Paulin, to name but a few.”
Expormim was clear from the beginning that Norm would create the Cask collection that they envisioned: “Taking something simple and stripping it back to an even simpler design may seem easy, but in reality, there’s nothing more complicated than taking objects back to the basics,” they explained.
“Trying to combine an upholstered sofa with a delicate material like rattan was quite a challenge.”
Versatile, comfortable and elegant, Cask has everything one would expect of a classic. “Our sketches started out as a lounge chair with a clean unbroken circular shape, but we wanted to strengthen the iconic presence of each piece so they together will stand as one collection but individually are free to be a part of different contexts as singular icons,” explained Nicolaj.
The Spanish firm and Norm remained in constant contact as the furniture was made: “You don’t really know what rattan is capable of until you’ve seen it being processed by a skilled furniture maker. Visiting the Expormim factory was crucial for the outcome of the Cask collection.” So exquisite that it almost defies the very laws of matter, Cask is the result of a creative process that, according to Nicolaj, came to fruition thanks to a big helping of determination: “Trying to combine an upholstered sofa with a delicate material like rattan was quite a challenge.”