A Design Duo Made in Heaven: Norm Architects and Menu

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By Marianne Colahan / Published by Dwell
Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen and Kasper Rønn founded Norm Architects, a multidisciplinary design studio, in 2008. Bjerre-Poulsen and Rønn decided on the name “Norm” because they work within the traditions and norms of Danish design, while refining them to create something new. The studio works with residential architecture, commercial interiors, industrial design, photography, graphics, and art direction. Norm Architects has joined the Menu brand—a renowned Scandinavian design company—as art directors, curating furniture and lighting collections and launching their own collections within the brand.

The Norm Dinnerware Collection was designed in 2010 when Menu and Norm Architects began a collaboration with Copenhagen restaurateurs Cofoco to create tableware products that expressed a Nordic sensibility for the new restaurant Höst. The result is a clash of urban modernity and simple rusticity, a collection with a color palette that recalls crisp Nordic winds. The new Norm Collection, along with the restaurant itself—also designed by Norm Architects—calls to the Danish countryside and modern Copenhagen, in the cool colors and simple silhouettes created by each product.

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Norm’s design directorship for Menu includes introducing its own products, like the Wire Basket, Norm Floor Mirror, and Thermo Cup. Also shown: The GM 15 Pendant, Johansen Daybed, and Afteroom Chair.

Norm Architects designed the structural space of Höst, alongside the dining tables, curtains, dinnerware, glassware, and even the pendant light fixtures. The result is a truly cohesive space that captures exactly what Norm Architects strive for in its name—to honor the traditions and norms of Scandinavian design while breathing newness into each piece. The items designed for Höst are simple and timeless, and are meant to be used everyday. Each dish in the collection is hand-painted prior to glazing, meaning there are subtle differences from plate to plate.

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Menu’s New Norm dinnerware collection embraces a decidedly Nordic sensibility, featuring elegant silhouettes and refined color palettes.

Includes a lunch plate, side plate, 5-inch plate, 7-inch plate, slate plate, 5-inch bowl, and 7-inch bowl.

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A closer look at the Norm Dinnerware collection.

In addition to its tabletop collection, Norm Architects has designed a cohesive bath collection for Menu, available in matte black and glossy white. Each item in the collection echoes the cylindrical shape of the previous item in the collection, offering a consistency and simplicity that will suit any modern bathroom. The collection of products can be used to complement a black and white bathroom, or to provide contrast to more colorful or patterned spaces. Each item in the bath series is designed for use as a cohesive collection, but can also be used individually. The collection of products is rounded out by the simple, angular toilet roll holder and towel bar, which juxtapose nicely with the cylinder shapes in the rest of the collection.

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Menu’s bath collection includes a Pedal Waste Bin, Soap Pump, Toothbrush Holder, Toilet Brush, Towel Bar, and Toilet Roll Holder.

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Designed with apartment-living and small spaces in mind, the Norm Coat Hanger is a sleek, powder-coated steel coat stand with a small footprint. The stand is defined by the narrow pole that makes up much of the stand, as well as two round platforms, one at the top of the stand, and one just above the base.

Norm Architects’ assortment of products for Menu also includes a streamlined coatrack, steel clocks, wire baskets, lanterns, and fire baskets. In addition to designing its own collection of items, the design directors also curate products from other designers and design firms, creating a varied assortment of products that are united by their clean design, functionality, and Nordic roots. Each product from Menu can be used on its own, or with other items throughout the brand’s assortment. The result is a versatile line of products that complements modern living, focusing on everyday function and style.

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The Steel Wall Clock and Steel Table Clock celebrate materiality, color, and simplicity. Paring down the clock to its most necessary elements, Norm Architects focused on the simple hands and round face of the clock.

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An example of Menu’s collaboration with Norm Architects, the Bottle Grinders capture the soft blue and grey tones that call to cool Nordic skies and bodies of water. The grinders are designed to resemble small bottles, granting them an unexpected silhouette from standard salt and pepper shakers.

Norm Architects strives to make designs that are refined and simple, seeking the simplest shapes without neglecting the aesthetic appeal of the shape and its design details. The goal is reaching a point where there is nothing to add and nothing to take away from the product to make It better. Bjerre-Poulsen and Rønn take pride in their culture and history, and strive to create new norms for the Nordic design tradition.

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The Wire Basket and Wire Bowl (not pictured) are comprised of steel wire that is powder coated, chrome plated, or brass-plated. They can be used as a distinctive storage vessel.

Explore more of Menu’s celebrated designs, including its 2004 launch of Grethe Meyer’s GM Pendant Lights here.

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Designed by Norm Architects for Menu, the Fire Basket calls to mind the allure of a bonfire and the inviting look and feel of a fireplace. Made of oxidized steel, the basket is sturdy and resilient, and is meant to take on a rich patina over time. The series includes a Fire Torch, Wide Fire Bucket, Tall Fire Bucket, and Hurricane Lamp.

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The Carrie Candle Lantern is a distinctive accessory that can be used both indoors and out. Featuring a handle and base crafted from powder-coated steel, the Carrie includes a glass vase that can be used with a tall candle, flowers, or other items that deserve showcasing.

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