A Look at Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen’s Luxuriously Minimalist Kitchen

A Look at Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen’s Luxuriously Minimalist Kitchen

By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
The founder of Norm Architects gives us a glimpse of the kitchen his firm designed for Reform.

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.

Jonas Bjerre-Polsen at home in his custom-designed SURFACE kitchen from Norm Architects for Reform. 

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.

Bjerre-Poulsen's personal goals were to create a space that was highly functional as well as exceedingly beautiful. 

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."

"We wanted to create a kitchen that would develop and become prettier with time. Something that was raw, tactile, and natural. Our kitchen reflects this thought by using materials from nature to carry the design. In Scandinavia, we have a tradition of inviting nature inside, blurring the boundaries between what is inside and outside," says Bjerre-Poulsen.  

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." 

The handles of Bjerre-Poulsen’s kitchen are bronzed tombac, a material that has been discontinued; however, Reform now offers handles in brass for a similar look. 

The cabinetry is meant to feel like a freestanding piece of furniture, whether it is placed against the wall or in the center of the room. 

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One element of the design that helps Bjerre-Poulsen maintain the clean, minimalist design of his kitchen is a staircase that connects the ground-level space to a larder/utility in the basement.  


"My focus as a designer is all about functionality where beauty is part of the function." Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen

"This house had something I couldn’t really describe," he shares. "There was a certain old-world atmosphere with its abandoned beauty that we both thought was extremely poetic and alluring." 

The surface of the cabinet doors are made from saw cut veneer, which Bjerre-Poulsen says gives the design a very tactile element. "You can see and feel the groves from the saw on the surface."

The house also references many Japanese design qualities, like materials, craftsmanship, and the home's overall aesthetic. 

"Natural materials are patient and adaptable, they speak of time and of transience. They don’t require much care or maintenance and are more likely to patinate beautifully."

The Norm Architects' SURFACE kitchen for Reform is available in three different options: smoked oak, natural oak, and metal.  


Related Reading:A Design Duo Made in Heaven: Norm Architects and Menu


Project Credits: 

SURFACE Kitchen by Norm Architects for Reform


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