Authentically energised

by Teresa Chow on Sep 30, 2011 in Interiors , Products
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Georg Jensen’s stores around the world live up to the brand’s Scandinavian heritage and at HK’s IFC mall, we see the same understated elegance

Many historic brands are revitalising themselves in order to adapt to the new world of consumerism and, crucially, they are achieving this while keeping their own heritage at the forefront. Take Danish lifestyle brand Georg Jensen, which has introduced the concept of ‘Scandinavian luxury lifestyle’ to its stores — Interiors+ talked to CEO Ulrik Garde Due, who brought the Danish home concept into every Georg Jensen store.

Your background is with high fashion brands; how did this experience prepare you for George Jensen?
I first worked for Celine, which is chic, Parisian brand, then I moved on to Burberry which is obviously very English, all countryside and sophisticated lifestyle. And now I am with George Jensen. I felt like I was coming home, as I am originally from Denmark. All these brand share a very in-depth DNA, deep roots, but obviously in different ways. For George Jensen, it’s very Scandinavian-rooted.

Where did the ‘Danish Home’ concept come from?
We were trying to infuse the values of Denmark into our stores. Very often, when you come to Denmark, we receive people at home, very rarely in restaurant, casual but elegant. So, in a luxury retail environment like Georg Jensen, we want to create a touch of intimacy; we want our clients to feel like they are walking into a Danish home. We are in fact creating a lifestyle that you can dress with and, at the same time, live with. Our collections — hollow-ware and silverware, jewellery and watches, the living collections, Danish Christmas decorations and ornaments — when we put these items in the right place, then we can achieve the right lifestyle.

How does Georg Jensen lives up its Scandinavian heritage?
Everything within the brand starts with our basic essence, which is quality, and the craftsmanship excels. This really brings the Danish-Scandinavian design into the luxury world in an organic way.

Very often we associate Scandinavian style with being light and minimal.  The Georg Jensen store at IFC is very warm, by contrast. Why?
I want to address this perception, if I may. In Copenhagen, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is one of the most spectacular museums in Scandinavia. I took our architect there and told him to get inspired and use the same materials and create the same feeling in our shops.

The circular glass table at the entrance is very attractive…
It’s a great fixture that represents our jewellery gallery in a good way. The fact that it is round is a very organic, Scandinavian design. It gives softness to the stores. We also have it in some new stores, such as the one on Bond Street in New York.

What was the main challenge in creating the shop in Hong Kong?
In a store of this size, I think we have managed to create a ‘Danish home’ feeling. We have stores ranging from 750 sq-ft to 3,500 sq-ft — you can have a small Danish home or big Danish home. But all of these enjoy the same elements, the same materials; wood is, of course, very important for us, as well as stone, and the library wall is an iconic feature.

What makes a good interior design for stores?
Customers need eye-catching things and aspirational moments; to be attracted to both the atmosphere and the products. But you want to create an interesting atmosphere where customers’ eyes and senses are inspired. It’s also important to be authentic to the brand’s values, to figure out what is the atmosphere you want to create as a setting for your product. But it has to be done in an organic and natural way.

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