A Danish Design Kingpin Moves to NYC With a Shipping Container of Furniture in Tow

A purveyor of contemporary Nordic design expands his brand’s presence stateside—beginning with his new Manhattan apartment.

"My father-in-law always says that you can make any place look good with a coat of white paint and good art," says Jasmi Bonnén. She and her husband, Peter, took that advice to heart when they furnished their Tribeca loft, which they moved into in January. The couple and their two sons, 7 and 11, migrated to New York City from Copenhagen so that Peter could bring Muuto, the furniture company he cofounded with Kristian Byrge in 2006, to a wider audience. When the company was started 10 years ago, Scandinavian brands and consumers cared only about classics by storied names from the past like Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner. "No one wanted to manufacture new things," Peter says. The partners felt it was time to move the conversation forward and celebrate what they labeled the New Nordic, employing rising stars from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland to produce fresh work. "We felt our generation could put Scandinavian design back on the map," says Peter. He and Byrge have more than succeeded: Today, Muuto has 1,300 distributors in 52 countries. But they wanted to expand even more and saw their greatest opportunity for growth in North America.

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Arlene Hirst
Deputy director of design at Metropolitan Home magazine until it closed in 2009, Arlene Hirst is now a freelance journalist.


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