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THE DESIGN CHASER

Living Room Update with BoConcept

5.04.2021

At the end of last year, I shared some of my favourite furniture pieces from the latest BoConcept collection. With a focus on soft, organic designs for creating a home sanctuary, one standout design for me was the Modena sofa. A few weeks ago this stunning piece moved into our main living area, along with the Bermuda footstool, and it’s been like a breath of fresh air!


Refined and elegant, the contemporary lines of the Modena sofa are softened by curved edges, a deliberate decision by designer Morten Georgsen, and one that has resulted in a beautiful visual comfort. The organic expression continues with soft pull-in stitch details, ample seat thickness and the curve of Modena’s refined arm and sloping backrest. Both the sofa and footstool beautifully complement our existing Danish-designed pieces, including our BoConcept Carlton leather sofa, while at the same time injecting a fresh feel to the space.



For a seamless transition, we chose to stick with a three-seater design for our living space, but in keeping with BoConcept’s customisation design ethos, each Modena can comprise any of 18 modules. Along with a choice of 120+ fabrics and leathers, these options provide endless ways to personalise according to lifestyle and space.

When it came to choosing fabric, it was an easy choice. I had been eyeing up the BoConcept Lazio fabric for some time. A beautiful textural bouclé fabric, it goes hand in hand with the sofa’s elegant aesthetic, bringing a warm tactility to the minimalist design. I tested out a few different colours in our space - beige, white and light green. While I loved the beige, it is a very grey-beige, similar to our previous sofa. Wanting a change, I decided on white, which is a lovely warm, slightly off-white colour.


I’m sure some of you will be thinking that’s a brave choice with kids, but they are getting older now and always eat meals at the kitchen island or dining table. I also swear by MicroSeal, which I booked in on the day of the sofa’s arrival, providing permanent protection against stains and sun-fading. 

Still not ready to let go of the greige completely, I chose to upholster our Bermuda footstool in the beige Lazio, and the two pieces make a gorgeous pairing. The ottoman provides a great place to put our feet up, and can even be used as a casual seat or coffee table.



As is customary whenever a new piece of furniture arrives, I end up doing a lot of rearranging. I also have a dark wood coffee table being custom made and planned on changing the artworks around when it gets here, but I decided not to wait. I felt that the wall above the new sofa needed more depth and contrast to balance out the white, and I love how it’s turned out.



If you’ve been following TDC for some time, you will have seen several BoConcept updates over the years, and the reason I keep going back is that their sofas and customer service are exceptional. There is always a design that resonates strongly and really speaks to what I am looking for at the time. They not only look beautiful and enhance our living space aesthetically but they are also designed with the utmost comfort in mind and always deliver years of enjoyment.

Styling and photography by Michelle Halford - Studio TDC 


AD / This is a paid partnership post with BoConcept NZ. I only work with products I love and all opinions are my own. For more information please visit my About Page.

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An Introduction to The Nord Agency

4.19.2021

Launched in 2019 by Sally Morrison and headquartered in Sydney, The Nord Agency represents Scandinavian furniture designers and manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand. Working alongside retail partners, as well as the architect and design industries, Nord has been on my radar for some time, so I’m excited to have teamed up with them to share some insight, including a closer look at the two iconic Danish brands they exclusively represent, Skagerak and OGK for Skovshoved Møbelfabrik.

OGK day bed for Skovshoved Møbelfabrik


Sally founded The Nord Agency after six years in Europe working as an interior designer and brand agent for Scandinavian furniture and homeware manufacturers including Skagerak, Woodnotes, Iittala, Carl Hansen and String. Bringing home an in-depth knowledge of Scandinavian design and mid 20th century furniture, she started Nord with the view of sharing this with the Australian and New Zealand design market. 

I know from personal experience that spending time in Scandinavia opens your eyes to the rich history of design and craftsmanship, cementing the importance of original, long-lasting design and sustainability. For Sally, this mindset also comes from her upbringing in an architectural family. The early introduction of both mid-century architecture and design has resulted in an innate appreciation of the importance of original design and these elements are now intrinsic to her own design ethos. I love that The Nord Agency stands for original and authentic design, working with the view to educate people in Australia and NZ, both consumers and producers, to act more responsibly. Nord also advocates for the change of legislation in Australia and New Zealand to that of the UK and Europe, where it is now illegal to sell and manufacture replica furniture.

Vent bench by Skagerak 


Perfectly aligned with this ethos are the two brands from Denmark that Nord represents. Sharing some information on each below, I've also styled a favourite product from each of the collections.

Skagerak  

For Danish brand Skagerak, sustainability is at the heart of everything they do. For the past fifteen years, they have actively sought a sustainable path, and genuinely believe that they can make the world a better place if we try harder – together. Frequently adjusting their organization to meet a greener reality, Skagerak also helps their customers to do the same. In 2020 they initiated two new services — Reclassic allows customers to sell their furniture back to Skagerak, which they then restore and resell, recirculating the furniture and achieving an even longer lifespan, and RENT is a concept that offers a rental option for outdoor furniture, allowing customers to change out furniture regularly and avoid the challenge of winter storage, while at the same time acting responsibly. These initiatives, which lead them to win Green Brand of the Year 2019 at the Bo Bedre Awards, are not yet available in our part of the world but have the potential to expand globally. 

In 2001 Skagerak became FSC certified, each year increasing its share of responsibly sourced wood. They are also members of the UN Global Compact and are a B Corp business. Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. What this means for Skagerak, is that if the product can’t be made sustainably and to the standards of B-Corp, the product is dropped from the collection whilst they pursue an alternative way to make the product to their required standards. Admirably, Skagerak is less concerned with making a profit from a well-performing product, if it does not perform well to their environmental standards.





Visiting the Skagerak flagship store in Copenhagen during 3daysofdesign in 2017, I will always remember CEO and owner Jesper Panduro's passion for creating timeless, sustainable products for the home. I'm incredibly excited that the collection is now accessible to us and I'm thrilled to have introduced one of my long-time favourite pieces from the collection to our home, the Vent Bench designed by Chris Liljenberg Halstrøm.

Following on from the Vent Stool, named after the Danish word for ‘wait’, and originally designed for museum-goers as a place to have a seat while allowing the impressions to sink in, the Vent bench is a two-seater with the same minimalist expression. Made with the highest level of craftsmanship, I love its sculptural feel and woven seat. The latter is made in Denmark in collaboration with Blindes Arbejde, a sheltered workshop for people who are blind or partially sighted. A beautiful addition to our home, this is a true forever piece.  





OGK by Skovshoved Møbelfabrik

The most recent client to join Nord's portfolio of sustainable Scandinavian design furniture and homeware brands, Sally says “I’m thrilled to be working with OGK. The Nord Agency only works with brands that meet very strict criteria when it comes to vision, mission and brand values. OGK has all these qualities and it will be fantastic to introduce its products to our design community.”



The OGK range consists of two products designed by Ole Gjerløv-Knudsen in 1962. The day bed, which is intrinsically ‘Scandi’ was designed by Ole for his son’s school camping trip. His father designed a lightweight bedding solution to protect his son while sleeping on the cold earth. A bed, which could be carried easily and erected within minutes, to give a comfortable night’s sleep. The sister product is the Safari Chair, with the same lightweight frame, it is portable and can also be quickly and easily erected. The frame comes in two colourways: natural and black-stained beech and matching canvas fabrics: natural and black.




Never has there been a time when sustainable and natural materials have mattered more. OGK and Skagerak have beautiful stories behind their brands’ creation and now stand as established success stories in product design as well as durability and sustainability.


The Nord Agency operates a by appointment show room in Rushcutters Bay, Sydney. 
To set up an appointment to view the collection, or for more information on the brands, visit The Nord Agency. 

 
Styling and photography by Michelle Halford / Studio TDC

AD / This is a paid partnership post. I only work with products I love and all opinions are my own. For more information please visit my About Page.

 

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Nordiska Kök | The Architect’s Choice

4.14.2021

When an interior architect designs her own home, the standards are understandably high. With an exacting brief where handcrafted meets industrial, this lakeside build in Sweden explores contrasts between materials, pushes boundaries and plays with technique. At the heart of the home is a Nordiska Kök kitchen. Commissioned by Swedish interior architect Hanna Bolin, the kitchen embraces this very same brief with clean lines, stainless steel, and the exceptional craftsmanship of hand-carved solid wood.




Crafted in neighbouring Gothenburg, this kitchen is built in a new frame design and features dark tones of stained oak that both connect and contrast with the home’s cedar shingle exterior. A countertop in Thala grey provides a soft and textural contrast against the dark stained oak cabinets, while the stainless-steel island and bespoke fan inject a bold industrial style.




A beautifully light and airy home with high ceilings, a minimalist fireplace takes centre stage in the living room while built-in oak shelving connects seamlessly with the kitchen cabinetry. The dark stained oak also creates a striking interplay with the kitchen’s flood of natural light.






The blend of rustic and industrial styles are truly evident in the incredible hand-carved solid walnut cabinet, while the site-built kitchen island in stainless steel and the hand-carved doors are, like the rest of the house, a play with dimensions and contrasting materials.




Styling by Sarah Widman / Photography by Andrea Papini


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DzenSpaceClub Apartment by Olga Fradina

DzenSpaceClub is a new project by Ukraine-based interior designer Olga Fradina. Located in Kyiv, the apartment belongs to multi-talented fashion designer Katya Bakhirka, who is also a hip hop singer and founder of a charity devoted to saving the indigenous people of the Amazonia. Gradually transformed into a space for meditations and tea ceremonies, the apartment is a cosy sanctuary in strikingly moody grey and blue hues.






Situated in a Soviet-era building, the apartment’s compact size called for a new floor plan to allow enough space for functional zones. By moving a wall dividing the bathroom, entrance hall and living room, a more spacious bathroom has been realised, while at the same time leaving enough space for necessary storage systems. A bedroom has replaced the existing kitchen and a new open plan living, dining and kitchen area has been the final piece of the puzzle. This hybrid space also includes a home office, dressing room and tea lounge.



Aside from the chairs and sofa, all the furniture is designed by Olga Fradina exclusively for the project. Carefully designed in terms of proportions, forms and colour balance, the furniture creates a sense of harmony, while the apartment's dark ceiling gives the illusion of more height. The absence of doors between rooms in the apartment further enhances the feeling of spaciousness.





A starting point for the interior was the combination of dark-grey flooring and wooden chairs on top. Smooth microcement on the floor, walls, built-in storage and kitchen facades provide the perfect background for objects with vivid texture. These include a low wooden tea table designed by Olga Fradina and made by Staritska Maysternya, wooden shelves, bamboo shutters, sisal carpet, dark blue painted brickwork and last but not least, wooden panelling on the ceiling.





Olga Fradina is known for artfully mixing different styles to give her design a sense of timelessness as opposed to a transitory or trendy look. Her own designs centre around simple geometric forms and reference midcentury design and include a shelf with sliding doors and a round black wooden dining table, also made by Staritska Maysternya. These are paired with traditional Ukrainian hlechyky tableware, her own ceramics and those by Vos`ma Komora. 








Photography by Yevhenii Avramenko

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Brighton East 2 by InForm

4.12.2021

Demonstrating the emotive power of simplicity, this project by Melbourne based firm InForm does so through a restrained palette and clean but powerful forms. With robust and timeless materials partly inspired by mid-century modernism, the interior brick walls diffuse the separation between inside and out and create textural interest as light moves around the house. Timber, including teak ceilings, large oak doors and wall panels add warmth to the interior and contrast beautifully with the concrete floors and white painted reclaimed brickwork. Refined joinery elements and interior design details featuring marble, timber veneers and mosaic tiles add luxury, texture, and delicacy.






The centrepiece of Brighten East 2 is a dramatic double-height central hall accessed via a generous and lush garden path. A sculptural steel stair and bridge connects the levels of the four-bedroom home and the parents’ domain from the kids’ rooms on the upper level. A central circulation spine provides longitudinal vistas on both levels, which adds drama and accentuates the sense of space. The spine also divides public and private spaces – as well as the main kitchen living area, the ground floor also includes a study and powder room on the public side, while a double garage, cellar, gym, laundry, and pantry are discreetly positioned on the private side.












Lifestyle has been carefully considered, including outdoor living and the relationship between interior and exterior spaces. Adjacent to the main north-facing living space, a generous loggia protects an outdoor entertaining area overlooking the lawn and pool. While at the front of the house a secluded lounge opens to a walled courtyard, offering an alternative more intimate garden experience.



A thoughtful curation of art and furniture by Design by Golden harmonises with the home’s modernist design, focusing on textural and natural elements. The white painted brick walls act as a canvas, bringing attention to the centre of the open plan living area, where a Christopher Blank dining table and Grazia and Co dining chairs take the spotlight.




Design and build: InForm 
Photography: Derek Swalwell
Furniture and Art Curation: Design by Golden  
Styling: Bek Sheppard 
Landscape Design: Jack Merlo Landscape Design 
 

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