Normann Copenhagen: Hans Hornemann

Martyn White

Posted on June 27 2016

After such an incredible visit to Copenhagen, I caught up with talented designer Hans Hornemann from Normann Copenhagen to discuss his latest designs and inspirations.

After such an incredible visit to Copenhagen with Amara, I had never felt so inspired and motivated by a city and its designs. Having the opportunity to visit the flagship to one of my favourite brands was a thrilling and unforgettable experience but being able to meet the talent and team behind Normann Copenhagen's iconic designs was definitely the top highlight. With the launch of the Ace collection underway, what better time to catch up with the guy behind the designs, Hans Hornemann. 

Hans Hornemann Norman Copenhagen Interview for Ace Collection Tell us a bit about yourself, how did you end up designing for Normann Copenhagen?

"I have always had a curious mind and a desire to create. In my opinion, good design is design that offers something new. I grew up with the Scandinavian design tradition, where the form is honest and true to the function, so naturally this is also an important factor for me when I design products.

As part of my studies, I started working as an intern for Nicholai Wiig-Hansen, a Danish designer who has designed a number of products for Normann Copenhagen. Through Nicholai, I met Jan and Simon (Jan Andersen, one of the founders of Normann Copenhagen and Simon Legald, Head of design at Normann Copenhagen) and they gave me the opportunity for an internship. I did, of course, apply!"

Ace chair upholstery from Normann Copenhagen Scandinavian chair designAce chairs designed for Normann Copenhagen by Hans Hornemann

Out of all the products you have designed, what is the one closest to your heart?

"Tough question! I always put my heart into the project that I work on. This means, that I am thinking about different improvements day and night. In the end of the project phase, I have to tell myself not to be more concerned. Not to think about further improvements, because the further you get, the smaller the details become.

It is not easy to say exactly what my favourite product is, because as soon as it is out of my hands, it disappears from my dreams – and the new product takes over. When I was working on the Ace series, this was the product closest to my heart – worked on it day and night. All the time thinking about improvements. I handed it on to the production approximately a year ago and now the project that I am having in front of me on the desktop is the one that is most important to me."

Grey upholstered chair cushions Normann Copenhagen Ace ChairWe love the brand new Ace collection, what inspired you to create the designs?

"Thank you! The starting-point was my way of living.

I believe that a large part of the furniture industry is a leftover from the past. Back in the days, you took your car to a large furniture store; fell in love with a chair. Placed an order, waited eight weeks – and then you went back in your car to pick up the chair. Now a day, more and more people live in the cities. Without cars, in smaller spaces and with no patience.

This gave me the idea of being able to cycle down to the local, much smaller warehouse, fall in love with a chair – and then being able to take it home on your bike the same day. This of course demanded a flat-packed concept.  Currently lots of existing flat-pack furniture-concepts are based on leaving the entire process to the end-user.  This is often a shame and often the user becomes frustrated by all the screws and steps. This inspired me to create something new – and different."

Blue upholstered Scandinavian side chairWhat were the biggest challenges designing the collection?

"It was a big challenge to make all the parts fit together with the different textile types. Upholstery is a craft and there is a large tolerance in the production method."

How long did the collection take to design and produce?

"A bit more than two years."

There can be a stigma attached to flat pack designs in the luxury world, how does the Ace collection challenge these perceptions?

"I tried once to assemble a closet. Spend 6.5 hours, two persons. Off course, this is everything but exclusivity. I believe that the assembling process also needs to be a fun experience. An experience that should not take too long and give the user a feeling of a 100 per cent complete product."

Ace side chairs flatpack design for Normann Copenhagen by Hans HornemannNormann Copenhagen Ace furniture collection sofa designIf you could pick just one favourite feature of the Ace collection, what would it be?

"It’s flat-packed!"

After seeing all the finishes, I couldn't honestly pick a favourite, they are all great! How did the finishes get selected and will we see an expansion in the future?

"The textiles were selected in collaboration with the entire Normann Copenhagen design branding team. We started out having 12 different colours in four different textiles. The most important colours were picked to create a colour-range that we believe is the best and a range that can live for a long time"

What is next in the world of Hans Hornemann?

"Many great products!"

Simple flat pack luxury chair design from Normann Copenhagenupholstery options for Ace Collection chair Normann Copenhagen

Not only is Ace one of the most comfortable flat pack chairs I have ever sat in, it is actually one of the most comfortable chairs generally that I have experienced. This attention to detail and no compromise attitude to luxury and comfort will change many people's perception on mobile, flat pack design. 

The Ace collection consists of a Lounge chair, dining chair, sofa and footstool, available in vibrant velour, flecked wool textile and exclusive leather in multiple colours. 

For further product details, check out the Normann Copenhagen website, Milan 2016 page.  

Hans Hornemann, Norman Copenhagen Design


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