Meet Denmark's Prolific Designer Who Puts 'Soul' in Furniture

Hans Bølling | Courtesy of  Hans Bølling
Hans Bølling | Courtesy of Hans Bølling
Hans Bølling is one of the most renowned and inspiring contemporary Danish designers. His career started back in the 1950s and even now, in his 80s, he refuses to leave his workshop – and so new projects keep coming up. His love of wood led him to Brdr. Krüger, a brand established in 1886, and they have been working together since 1960. The Culture Trip talked with both the designer and the brand’s creative director about design, future projects and their long-lasting collaboration.

‘We share a passion for wood and working with wood that binds us together, but I also think there is more to it than that. Hans is a creative force also in his personality – he is playful by nature and that suits us very well, as we are also a bit silly sometimes. I think good collaborations are based on personal relations and chemistry – it makes a foundation for a proper creative partnership’, Jonas Krüger told us.

‘I think it is awe-inspiring to work with the man behind true Danish design classics, but he is not done yet and I think his new TRIIIO tables are evidence of this. We are conceptualising more new projects together, and I am convinced Hans has more to offer, to design lovers everywhere and also to his own legacy’, Krüger pointed out.

Hans Bølling Courtesy of Hans Bølling

Continuing the legacy of his father and grandfather, Krüger’s goal is to leave a successful business, built on honesty and integrity, whose products are kept and loved for generations. ‘I know that Hans is thrilled with the level of quality we deliver and also the structural improvements we have implemented over the years, which are quite invisible to the naked eye but enable the products he has designed to last longer. This inspires him to set the design bar just a little, because he knows we are always willing to rise to the challenge of realising his designs.’

Hans Bølling gave us his perspective on this collaboration and his passion for design.

Why is wood your favourite material?

It is living and warm and ages with beauty. It has human qualities. Also, it is sustainable and brings a little piece of nature into our homes.

What features do you think all furniture should have?

Furniture should be created for human needs and to improve our daily lives, both in function and in spirit.

Which designers from the Danish Modern Movement do you admire?

Ole Wanscher and Knud Holscher, and two of my teachers at the Royal Danish Academy of Architecture, Aksel Bender Madsen and Erik Herløw. They were progressive for their time and worked with progressive companies that were not afraid to produce their designs. A lot of their work is still relevant today because of its enduring qualities.

Hans Bølling Tray Table Courtesy of Hans Bølling

Why do you believe Danish Modern furniture became an international success?

I believe us Danish were good at putting humans at the centre of our work and giving a soul to furniture, bringing it to life.

What international designers from the current design scene do you like?

I don’t know the current scene very well. I think Charles Eames was a genius, and I haven’t seen his match since then.

What are the challenges designers face?

The Art of Restraint.

What inspired you to make the Bølling Tray Table for Brdr. Krüger?

The challenge of making a small collapsible table.

Which of your furniture designs is your favourite?

The Bølling Tray Table for Brdr. Krüger is my favourite. It has followed me for many years and has brought me much joy. Brdr. Krüger has produced the Bølling Tray Table since 1963. I have a wonderful relationship with Brdr. Krüger – they almost feel like they’re part of my own family.

Any location in Denmark that you escape to for inspiration?

I get inspiration all the time – I even wake up at night to take notes. I don’t need to escape to get inspiration. But I do like visiting our summerhouse at the Danish island of Anholt, to enjoy nature and eat freshly caught seafood from the local fishermen.

Hans Bølling, Serving Tray Courtesy of Hans Bølling