Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen, founder of Norm Architects, and his wife, Christine Juel Bjerre-Poulsen, live in a 3,229-square-foot house facing the sea. Their home can be found in the small Danish fishing village of Vedbæk, which is just a half an hour north of Copenhagen and surrounded by woods and fields. Bjerre-Poulson is known for his distinctive brand of minimalist Scandinavian style—as evident throughout the work of his own company and the Danish design brand, Menu, where he serves as design director.
Built in 1911 by Copenhagen architects H. Wright and E.V. Marstonthe, the house has an old-world feel that is "extremely poetic and alluring." Still, Bjerre-Poulson had always envisioned himself living in a more modern space, and in order to make the home comply with his vision and be livable, several architectural changes were needed. He looked to art museums and galleries that successfully blend historic exteriors with ultramodern interiors for inspiration, including London’s Saatchi Gallery.
The design of his kitchen, however, took extra priority and consideration. Bjerre-Poulsen—who worked as an industrial designer focused on cookware before starting Norm Architects—is the primary cook in the household and wanted to create a space that was not only up to his high aesthetic standards, but also one that would be optimized for his own personal culinary endeavors. "The main goal was to create a kitchen that was functional," he shares. "But also something that was beautiful and simple and that would complement the architecture and the spatial dimensions already in place."
Bjerre-Poulsen's firm Norm Architects designed the SURFACE kitchen for Danish design brand Reform, a company that specializes in customizing IKEA kitchens with architect-design fronts. The design features smoked oak fronts and countertop—a material that Bjerre-Poulsen favors for its inherent natural properties. "A wood countertop is soft for the hands. It's also soft for the ears," he says. "It feels nicer to touch than stainless steel or stone countertops. Even though it can be delicate, it is quite easy to maintain and it grows more beautiful over time." The smoked oak kitchen cabinetry is intended to "stand out from the space", like a freestanding piece of furniture. "A lot of kitchens are fully built-in," he shares. "And the designer’s goal is for the elements to become a part of the architecture. In this case, we wanted to take the opposite approach, we wanted to create furniture."
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"My focus as a designer is all about functionality where beauty is part of the function." Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen
Related Reading:A Design Duo Made in Heaven: Norm Architects and Menu
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