Nordic Charm

The refined simplicity of Danish-modern design informs every aspect of Norm Architects’ growing practice.

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Norm’s Raft Stool and Table, designed for &tradition.

Courtesy Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen

“The thing about Denmark,” says designer Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen, 37, “is that it’s always gray and rainy and cold.” That’s not entirely true, of course (Copenhagen’s winters are surprisingly mild), yet damp and dreary are a constant even in summer, and this, Bjerre-Poulsen contends, has been a prime factor in the development of his home country’s design culture. “People always stay inside and have guests come over, so the home is what’s important. For people with outdoor cultures”—think of the Italians or the Spaniards—“it’s all about your clothing, your car, your watch. Here it’s your home. People are obsessed with their furniture and lighting.”

Which is fine by him. Together with partner Kasper Rønn (also 37), Bjerre-Poulsen heads up Norm Architects, a five-year-old practice that’s quickly moving to the front of a very crowded pack. The national cult of design in Denmark, and more broadly in Scandinavia, can make it hard to stand out, and one may wonder if the world really needs another purveyor of understated Nordic elegance; yet Norm’s finely calibrated ambition, as well as its founding partners’ highly adaptable and resourceful approach, set it apart from some of their more staid contemporaries on the regional scene.

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