Tender &Tradition

It was the gem-like gleam of &Tradition’s new Loafer collection in yellow velvet that beckoned Oak to the design studio’s showing at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair. The 2019 collection is a celebration of rounded edges and bright hues; embodied designs that sit comfortably next to the studio’s classic pieces. This form was appropriated by Studio David Thulstrup who was charged with designing &Tradition’s travelling fair stand. Large portholes between rooms conjured transparency and mimicked the organic curve of the chairs and coffee tables. Oak spoke to &Tradition’s chief designer Signe Hytte about the studio’s hunt for design equilibrium amid contrasts and their recent collaborations with Space Copenhagen and Studio David Thulstrup.

Colour and materiality seem to be the &Tradition motifs. Does one stipulate the other in your process? 

We definitely spent a lot of time finding the perfect balance between these two factors. However, we often chose the material first – we are very focused on finding the materials that suit the particular design and the larger collection. But it’s always a balance between colour and materiality. They should complement and challenge each other at the same time.

Do you believe there is something innately Danish about your use of contrasts: between the delicate and the boldly functional? I think about the parallels with Copenhagen fashion, where flowing dresses are paired with sneakers. 

I don’t know if it’s particularly Danish, but it’s definitely some kind of core value in the essence of &Tradition. It’s basically all about the contrast in our collection: between the classics and the contemporary pieces, between colours and materials, between the feminine and the masculine, the playful and the minimalist designs. It is like a constant hunt to get this balance just right.

The Little Petra chair in sheepskin feels particularly emblematic of the &Tradition ethos: a Danish heritage design with modern material. How do you approach innovating on the classics in your collection? 

In some way, we strive to innovate as little as possible when it comes to our re-editions. In the development phase, it’s important to remain true to the original design because otherwise it will lose some of its heritage. We will never choose something that is too trendy when it comes to new materials and colours for upholstery. The sheepskin is modern, but still classic, and somehow it just makes sense to use it on Little Petra. We have a lot of other lounge chairs that I would never dream of using this material on – even though it’s really popular at the moment.

What was the motivation for the Loafer collection by Space Copenhagen? How did you land on those colours and that texture for this series? 

Space Copenhagen had originally designed the Loafer chair in velvet for the SAS hotel in Copenhagen, so it was very natural for us to keep focusing on velvet when we started to show the Loafer chair too. &Tradition has its own velvet collection consisting of a small palette of colours, but at the moment we’re also very fond of using boucle. The Loafer chairs just look amazing with this type of textile.

The same round and organic shapes that we see in your furniture were reflected in Studio David Thulstrup’s stand design for the 2019 Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair. Can you talk about this collaboration?  

We teamed up with David Thulstrup to design the concept for our fairs. Thulstrup had a true perception of the brand and its essence. He and his team perfectly captured our love for both classics and contemporary designs. The stand was a strong mix of the two directions, with the architecture of the stand itself being more inspired by modern mid-century architects such as Carlo Scarpa. But the use of materials and colours for the stand, such as the aluminium walls, made it contemporary and eye-catching. It was brilliant.

Read more about Oak’s visit to Stockholm Design Week here. Click here to browse &Tradition’s 2019 collection.