Founded by design duo Marcus Hannibal and Louise Sigvardt, who have different backgrounds—in industrial design and fashion, respectively—Bunn Studio was originally launched in New York. The studio's name was inspired by the delicious coffee and simple food the couple used to enjoy every Sunday, in a local café, while living in the Big Apple. Now based in their native Copenhagen, the designers love the fact that the city gives them a feeling of calm that works well with their creative process. Promoting physical and emotional well-being through products and spaces, Hannibal and Sigvardt believe that “even the smallest object has the potential to color the mood and tell a story.”
The new Brdr. Krüger showroom, located in the heart of the Danish capital, is Bunn’s latest project. Having a strong connection with New York City—where they still have most of their clients—Hannibal and Sigvardt are also currently creating new furniture and rug pieces for an Upper East Side apartment designed by Radnor and Elizabeth Roberts. Interior Design sat down with them to learn more about their sources of inspiration and creative process.
Interior Design: What was your overall design goal for the new Brdr. Krüger showroom?
Marcus Hannibal: In short, the brief was to incorporate the history of the building, and the values and story of Brdr. Krüger. It was important for us to elevate, interpret, and add depth to the concept and learn about the building first. When we saw the space for the first time, the massive windows, which give a lot of light, reminded us of a Los Angeles beach house overlooking the sea. We wanted to create a similar sensation of coziness and at the same time break the mold of the New Nordic wave. On one hand, the showroom becomes almost like a home, which we think is one of the core values of Brdr. Krüger as a family and brand. On the other, we wanted to add surprising elements and areas that would stand out and that the visitor would remember. So overall, it is a combination of the Rococo building, the craftsmanship of Brdr. Krüger, and Bunn’s eclectic aesthetics.
ID: What convinced you to work on this project?
MH: We have known Brdr. Krüger—and what they stand for—forever, so we never doubted that this would be a great project to work on. In addition to that, we saw quite early the many possibilities that the space offered, and we were instantly inspired by the atmosphere.
Louise Sigvardt: The main challenge was to maintain the soul and charm of the building, so we renovated some elements that date back to more than 100 years ago. We didn’t want to make it a replica of what it was. Instead, we enhanced and interpreted the space into something new.
ID: How would you describe Brdr. Krüger as a brand?
MH: In many ways, it is a very traditional furniture brand with roots in all the "good old" Danish woodworking savoir-faire. They also have a strong wish to look forward and challenge design based on the capabilities they have at their factory, such as the way they turn wood into something extraordinary. We very much see them as family. You always feel like you are a part of that family and that was one of our important inspiration sources.
ID: What atmosphere did you want to create in the Brdr. Krüger showroom and how did you achieve it?
LS: We wanted to incorporate a multi-level universe, and combine values and inspirations from more than one source to avoid most of the interior design clichés. The way we did this was to pick elements—mostly from the building—that have a decadent feel. During our first talk with Brdr. Krüger, we said that we wanted to capture the "hygge" (Danish coziness) and interpret it through a place where people would want to stay and feel comfortable and relaxed. There is a balance between elements that you could find in a home and others that would be more abstract, trendy, and with a daring color scheme that you would never see in a home or in other showrooms.
ID: Nuura was the lighting partner for this project. How did you work with them?
LS: We were very pleased with Nuura as the materials such as brass and opal glass create a perfect glossy/clean contrast with the warmth and texture of the wood of the Brdr. Krüger furniture. All the pieces really complete the look as they possess the same qualities as we where looking for: something based on a classic reference, but at the same time very contemporary and sleek.
ID: How would you describe the design scene in Copenhagen compared to the design scene in NYC?
MH: The two scenes are diametrically opposite to each other. The Danish design community focuses on the "new nordic," which is minimal, light, and mass produced, whereas the New York scene takes the “designer-maker” approach, which is more hand-made, raw, and high quality. What we first noticed when living in New York was that the design culture seemed younger, with only a few well-known designers compared to Europe. We also like the way that they find inspiration from something native to their environment.
LS: We like to think that we learned from both worlds. Living in another country—and especially in New York—shows you that the world is bigger and more different than what you see on social media, and that even though everybody has access to everything everywhere, designers and people still seek inspiration and use local influences. Luckily it has not turned into one gray unified mass.
ID: How do your backgrounds in industrial design and fashion impact your design approach?
LS: It creates references from two different worlds that meet in the interior world. While working in fashion, you get trained in looking ahead and knowing what the next trends will be, what the general user needs and wants before he does. The industrial experience means a lot of training in the creative process, tackling complex scenarios, and dealing with the technicalities of design. We take ideas and concepts, and turn them into spaces and products that are new, but based on what people can relate to and find useful. To be honest, it took us a while to align our approach and process into a workflow where we can produce a design in a smooth way. We still disagree and challenge each other, and that is one of the main reasons why we end up with results that are different from anything you have seen before.
ID: What is your first memory of design?
LS: Being born in Denmark, it is something that has always surrounded us: the appreciation of aesthetically pleasing and high-quality products. In kindergarten, the furniture can easily be by Alvar Aalto, and in an average home, people often have a Poul Henningsen lamp or an Arne Jacobsen chair. But the first time we realized that was when we started to travel outside Denmark, where people don’t necessarily prioritize iconic pieces of furniture.
ID: Can you name some people in the industry who inspire you?
MH: We rarely look at other designers for inspiration. Our inspiration comes from different sources, such as architecture and art, or even something more abstract, like a word or a notion that we interpret through a product. However, visiting the Eames House in Los Angeles was a defining moment for us as it legitimized the way we have always been living: the fact that it’s okay to have elements in your home that are sometimes slightly 'out of place.'
ID: What are your upcoming projects?
LS: We recently launched five lines of curtains for Kvadrat ("Kvadrat shades"): Meru, Russell, Sabinyo, Stanley and Yudono. We are also currently designing a new dining chair and material/color range with Brdr. Krüger that will be launched at the beginning of 2020. Since we finished the Copenhagen showroom for Brdr. Krüger, we have started to design new pieces of furniture and rugs for a 4,017-square-foot apartment situated in a new building in Carnegie Hill, in New York. The interior design is by Elizabeth Roberts and Radnor and the project will be finished in May 2020.
MH: Another project that we are planning right now a gut renovation of an 1860 townhouse in Copenhagen, with some inspirations similar to the Brdr. Krüger showroom—highlighting the essence of the house and doing a new version that combines eclectic touches with a warm feeling. Lastly, we have finally had some time to develop some ideas for furniture design and we will be able to show prototypes around mid-2020.
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