The Village by &Tradition8 June, 2015
Makeshift streets and alleyways eventually converge to a wide-open expanse reminiscent of a city square; a few windows, interspersed between wooden roof beams and trusses, bring in natural light.
The FlowerPot in polished chrome by Verner Panton and &tradition is my favourite. Radiating an ethereal simplicity, the two semi-circular spheres facing each other make me think of my parents and the era of love, peace, and harmony they found themselves a part of; it’s exactly the type of furnishing that completely transforms the way a living or dining room feels upon entry.
&tradition, founded in 2010, is not a misnomer. On the contrary, its name is inextricably linked to the brand’s mission: recalling the past to inform the present and reimagine the future for its Danish-inspired library of furniture and accessories. Forming a kinship between old masters and contemporary designers, &tradition creates pieces that seamlessly elicit a nostalgia while retaining a sense of timeless eminence. Its significant roster of renowned 20th century Danish designers include the likes of Verner Panton, Arne Jacobsen and Flemming Lassen, and Sydney opera house architect Jorn Utzon.
Over the past five years, &tradition has collaborated with Copenhagen-based Norm Architects to explore how furniture and the environment they inhabit affect the way pieces are received and felt. The Village, which opened in autumn 2014 on Papirøen, is a culmination of this partnership and serves as &tradition’s first permanent space for its collections.
“This is a unique opportunity to be able to display the entire collection in one space and to show how our products work together in different settings,” says &tradition brand director Martin Kornbek Hansen. The 1000 square metre warehouse has been stripped down to its bare elements – wood, stone, and metal – accentuating its historical usage as a paper storage site for the Procurement Association of the Danish Press. 12 white houses, each varying slightly in structure and size, take centre stage on exposed concrete and resin. Makeshift streets and alleyways eventually converge to a wide-open expanse reminiscent of a city square; a few windows, interspersed between wooden roof beams and trusses, bring in natural light.
The space feels undressed, permeating with an evanescence more akin to a traveling gallery than a design showroom, and the minimalist houses – inspired by the artworks and industrial studio spaces of Donald Judd and Richard Serra – lay open as white canvases awaiting their first strokes of paint. The showroom’s visible capacity and readiness to change at the drop of a hat, however, are intentional. “What we’re really excited about is that every six months we are planning to invite artists and designers to create an overall concept for the space, so it will function like a gallery for our products,” says Kornbek Hansen.
The Village’s opening commission, designed by All the Way to Paris and Elisa Ossino, coincides with the unveiling of three new &tradition products: Marble Light, the In Between dining table, and a collection of Another rugs. For a brief season, the showroom will feel settled and complete, while it eagerly anticipates the next wave of experimentation to be ushered in by &tradition and their collaborators. For now, a lone FlowerPot in copper hangs above a Fly Lounge table in one of the village houses. It’s beautiful.