Warm Nordic: good feelings manifest good design
Anchored in design history, Warm Nordic are a Danish brand known for their inter-generational collaborations with designers from the past and present, to create pieces for the future.
With foundations built on design heritage, Warm Nordic came about when founder Frantz Longhi utilised his collection of antique, Scandinavian pieces to furnish his Kähler Design restaurant in Aarhus. As more and more of his guests began to enquire about the designs of the past he'd used to furnish his restaurant — the idea for Warm Nordic was born, a destination for excellent craftsmanship, sustainable materials and unique designs.
We spoke to Frantz to find out more about what goes into crafting each of their delectable pieces and what inspires these timeless creations.
So Frantz, could you sum up Warm Nordic's philosophy in a short sentence for us?
To offer a design quality with an unrivalled combination of form and function that seeks to amaze design lovers all over the world — take our Classic Collection, which's composed of iconic furniture and lighting pieces from the 50s and 60s. All of which are designed by world-famous Scandinavian designers and architects.
We love that Warm Nordic takes iconic designs of the past and adds a modern touch. Where do you find inspiration?
The golden age of Nordic Modern design is an endless source of inspiration. But also artistry from Bauhaus, the Eames family in the US and the simplicity of Japanese art and design inspire me. All have references and influenced the Nordic design style. It's often difficult to determine which country influenced which in the early days. In fact, good designs are also good examples of how developments in all aspects of life stand on the shoulders of one another in a democratic evolution. This goes for design, as it does for food, architecture, music and so on.
Can you tell us more about the manufacturing process and how important materials are for you?
At Warm Nordic, we commit to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and both the sourcing and the sustainable selection of raw materials are key to the responsible design production of our pieces. Our furniture and lighting are manufactured to last for generations and to form part of the circular economy that the world needs to embark on.
What do you think makes great interior design?
Great design can't just be defined by how it looks, it's in fact, much more about the feeling it creates inside you. Memories also play a role in great design. Maybe you love that old rocking chair in the corner of your living room — not because it's beautiful in itself, but because you can remember and almost feel and maybe smell your late and beloved grandfather sitting in it, smoking his pipe and telling you stories when you were a child. Suddenly that particular chair becomes perhaps the most beloved design piece in your home.
So to surround yourself with great design is to surround yourself with good feelings, rather than an expensive showcase bought to impress your neighbours. What kind of atmosphere do you want to create for yourself and your family?
What about Warm Nordic makes you proudest?
When we launched our Design Collection in 2018 we were awarded the prize for Danish Design Company by the Danish design community and design magazines. Also several of our designs were in fact selected by the design readers in Denmark as Design Piece Of The Year. These awards made our whole team in Warm Nordic proud — and I knew that we had something going on.
It also personally touched me, when at our launch event, one of the family members of the original late designers began to cry when she saw the revived design piece come to life again — more beautiful and alive than ever. A piece that her grandfather had struggled to create 70 years earlier, and now suddenly, after having been out of history for 50 years, it was back as the Icon it really is. She said to me: "I hope my grandfather sees this happening from where he is - it will make his life so much more worthwhile".
The Crown Prince of Denmark chose the Fried Egg chair for a royal event in Denmark, at this point I really felt this is what I love doing. Because what our team at Warm Nordic clearly creates is a lot of good feelings around in the world. And this is what life is all about - to create good feelings around you.
What do you expect from the future?
Besides Warm Nordic, I'm also the owner of retail design company Paustian, the founder of a cosy boutique hotel in Copenhagen, and two restaurants mentioned in the Michelin guide. Add my consultancy company with 50 employees advising the UN, the World Bank, the EU, the danish state and municipalities about sustainable energy and the circular economy. All these activities are aimed to creating space for our good life to be lived. But also a responsible life, committing to the SDG Development Goals to secure a brighter and more equal world - for the future and for our children.
This may be a difficult question to answer, but what's your personal favourite Warm Nordic piece and why?
It is and in fact, I can't choose! I believe we have so many beautiful designs in Warm Nordic — one day I'm in love with one piece and the next day it's another piece. But no doubt the Warm Nordic Fried Egg Lounge Chair by Hans Olsen from the 50sis the most iconic piece we have in our Classical Design Collection. It's so playful and now comes with a matching sofa.
Is there a place in the world you find more inspiring, somewhere you have visited or wish to visit one day?
I've travelled to more than 30 countries and worked in several others. I've lived in South East Asia in Malaysia, but only had the chance to visit Japan once. I would like to go back to Japan for a longer period, to learn more about the simplicity and the enormous focus on quality and craftsmanship I see in their design tradition.
What music genre or particular song do you enjoy the most or gets you in the mood?
No doubt smooth jazz and the more popular pieces of classical music are my favourite genres. At times I even choose an opera. But in fact, I like most music — depending on the day, event and the spirit I'm in. Though you can't do happy dancing to neither Beethoven nor smooth jazz, and happy dancing is also part of the good life. Heavy rock however, I doubt will become a favourite of mine!