Bill Carrig’s association with Danish design began in 1987 when he made his first business trip to Denmark. From then on, the Danish lifestyle has captured his imagination. With a background in international trade and shipping, Carrig has had brief forays into tourism and property development, but Design Denmark has been his primary focus for the past 19 years.
The key to good design is straightforward in Carrig’s mind. “Logical simplicity and function. Outstanding uncompromising craftsmanship,” he said.
It is cliché amongst designers to suggest ‘form and function’ as the two fundamental aspects of design. Carrig acknowledges this; however, he suggests that flexibility is another vital element in the design recipe.
“Danish design is more than just two words.”
Having been in the design industry for so long, Carrig has been watching technology changes how things are done in his workplace.
“Digital technology has opened up the world completely, and it takes all your time to keep up. No longer does the design fraudster have to physically see an article – they can guess the proportions of the design. Whilst the fundamentals of doing business are much the same, it seems more complex than before. The market is less inclined to plan.”
Carrig regularly stays with friends and visits suppliers in Denmark to stay up to date with changes in the Danish design scene. There are some notable trends he’s observed in the last few years.
“We are seeing more and more furniture that is certified fit for purpose and the vast majority of the chairs are made of components that are totally recyclable,” he said.
“Companies that used to be focused on accessories have now branched into furniture and lighting. We have seen so many new design houses emerge in our time in business.”
The most significant challenges in hotel design for Design Denmark evolve around budget constraints and awareness of the importance of quality products.
“In other words, think of function past the design mood board. There is a lot of talk about sustainability. Sustainability is a journey and not a destination.”
Denmark has been a world-leader in the hotel design for decades. When the Royal Copenhagen opened in 1960, it was the city’s first skyscraper, but more importantly, it was the world’s first design hotel. Designed by legendary Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen, the hotel was a total work of art – Jacobsen painstakingly chose everything from the exterior façade to the stainless-steel cutlery. The history, functionality, and simplicity of Danish hotel design are at the core of what makes Design Denmark special.
Of all pieces Design Denmark works with, chairs are at the top of Carrig’s list.
“Danish designers probably design more chairs than any other country. Because of their corporate canteen culture, there are any amount of options. Some designs have over 25,000 variants.”
He believes quality FF&&E is missing from the hotel design scene and is concerned that many hoteliers are short-sighted with their investments.
“There have been a number of hotels that have opened in Auckland in the past 18 months where pieces of furniture have had to be changed due to it being either impractical or not of an acceptable quality.”
Design Denmark has a broad market appeal thanks to the brands it represents for furniture, lighting, oils, textiles and accessories. Its crucial point of difference is its singular focus on Danish design, with many iconic and emerging brands.