Copenhagen's Klassik is one of the places where you can learn about the DNA of Danish design.
The showroom on Bredgade Street exhibits a variety of authentic Danish objects mainly from the 1950's and 1960's. Since its opening in 1991, Klassik has been attracting Danish design lovers from all over the world.
Some of their customers are surprisingly young students. Store manager Stefan Jensen says, “they put some money aside to buy our furniture. They are not cheap for students, but have a certain value. It is something you can keep for a long time. They can also sell them later even at a better price”. Klassik does not openly claim the sustainability of vintage furniture. However, it subtly promotes the idea of reducing waste and reusing old objects passed over from one generation to another.
All the secondhand pieces are so well restored that they make you wonder whether some of them are really used at all, even though some pieces arrive at the laboratory in their poorest condition. In order to give new life to precious vintage pieces, experienced craftsmen work daily in the laboratory where they replace leather seats of chairs or polish oak tables with soap. “Soap is used for light-coloured wood panels like beech and oak, while you need to use oil for dark wood like chestnuts", explains Jensen. Soap is used traditionally in Denmark as an alternative wax to create a smooth surface on wood. The finishing material is considered an ecological way of treating wood objects by many industry experts.
“Danish design is not compromising. It has to be comfortable, functional, but also has to look great around 360 degrees”, Jensen adds proudly. This no-compromising attitude is also seen in Klassik's attempt to find items with a traditional essence, yet a contemporary feeling. “Danish furniture classics from the mid-century are original in their design and were also much ahead of their time. That's one of the reasons that they are still popular today.” About 70% of the pieces in the showroom are no longer in production. In an effort to revive some classic pieces, Klassik added Paul Volther Daybed's sofa bed to this year's collection. Some new projects are developed in collaboration with Hermes, being the only authorized Hermes fabric seller in Denmark. Some chairs and sofas are produced with Hermes's exclusive luxury prints.
The studio has a couple of expert buyers with a contemporary eye who go around private houses to find original works of notable Danish designers like Arne Jacobsen's Egg & Swan chair, Hans Wegner's Papa Bear chair and Poul Kjærholm's PK54 marble table. Jensen says, “it is safer to buy from a private collector rather than at an auction. In an auction, you never know what you are going to get and also price is unpredictable”. Klassik's furniture pieces travel a long way, from one house to another, then from the laboratory to the shop to get ready to be used for the next generation.