Danish design company MILLION has gained a lot of popularity during the brand’s relatively short lifetime. CEO and designer Jens Kajus takes us through the inspiration and working dynamics involved in establishing a successful business from the bottom.
Founded in mid 2015, MILLION is a unity of talents consisting of co-founders and designers Jens Kajus and Claus Jakobsen along with Danish independent designer Terkel Skou Steffensen. Furthermore, MILLION collaborates with a hand-picked group of other Danish designers and architects to innovate new products, all of which are conceived in Copenhagen and made in Denmark or southern Sweden.
MILLION resides in a charming office space located in a tall, old red brick warehouse on the outskirts of Copenhagen. Here, DANISH™ arranged a meeting with Jens Kajus to learn more about the foundation upon which the company is built.
The Second Chapter
When asked about the future, Kajus states that the next step for MILLION’s founders is clear: they want to gain a bigger audience and become able to promote the brand on a larger scale, namely in Western Europe and the rest of Scandinavia. In extension to that ambition, they have been working on new products to present to this potential new clientele.
‘Design-wise, we have some interesting products in the pipeline. Among other things, we have recently been working on perfecting our first dining chair, and we are determined to expand our current collections. At the moment, we have a desire to release new products every quarter of the year. We want to do this because we cannot help but do it; we like to experiment immediately with how our customers react to the products – therefore, having a steady release-rate keeps us on our toes,’ says Kajus.
Claus Jakobsen & Jens Kajus – Photo courtesy of MILLION
Kajus and Jakobsen are always working with a mutual energy and discipline when designing new products for future collections. Kajus explains how this work dynamic is balanced between the two.
‘Claus is an educated cabinetmaker and furniture designer, so he has enormous knowledge about materials, and I have a background in graphic design, so I’m undeniably not the biggest craftsman in this company. I will say that one of our collective strengths is my free thinking combined with Claus’s practical approach during our design process, ’says Jens Kajus.
The manufacturing of all MILLION furniture is handled in Denmark or the southern part of Sweden. This solution was chosen at an early stage to optimise production with a human aspect in mind.
‘It would definitely have been cheaper for us to have everything made in China, but we chose this way of doing it because we felt a strong need to have the possibility of being in touch with our craftsmen. For example, we like to keep up a face-to-face dialogue with the actual smith who’s working on the welding for our tables. None of our craftsmen are more than a day’s drive away from our office. That’s a vital detail in our product development process,’ says Kajus.
How the Journey Began
‘In the early months of 2015, Claus and I were riding our bikes around Copenhagen to gain inspiration for our first collaborative design for the MILLION brand. Then suddenly we had an idea for the product that eventually became the LIBERTINE Rack,’ says Jens Kajus.
As this first product was designed to meet the need to organise clothing in small spaces, the LIBERTINE Rack is a no-nonsense design with industrial roots and a true Scandinavian tone. Its slender and stable construction rests on the floor and leans lightly against the wall.
It has a powder-coated frame and comes in four different colours, combined with a rounded oak pole that makes a pleasant sound when you place a coat hanger on it. The LIBERTINE Rack is also available in a chromed version, with references to the Bauhaus period’s focus on cantilevered chairs in tubular steel.
The design and development of the LIBERTINE rack became a stepping stone and motivation for creating the foundation for MILLION. From this point, Kajus and Jakobsen decided to build a brand together and started raising money for the project. This subsequently resulted in the official establishment of the company in the summer of 2015 with a launch to the public the year after.
After the completion of the LIBERTINE design, Kajus and Jakobsen developed the MIES table series and the CORONA hooks and in only twelve months, MILLION had ten different products in its catalogue.
If you’re interested in what the future holds for this young Danish design company, you can follow them and browse their entire collection by clicking right here.
PRODUCTS MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE
Photo courtesy of MILLION
MIES Conference Table
All unnecessary details are stripped away in this three-metre-long table that comfortably seats ten and works well for workplaces or larger rooms where it can occupy a central position. The table top is available in a new, soft nanotech laminate, which requires virtually no maintenance and makes this classically timeless table optimal in most office environments.
Photo courtesy of MILLION
CORONA is dimensioned to be used in three different ways: the back part that meets the wall can take a coat hanger; the peg in the centre of the circle can take a loop or a strap; and a coat can be draped over the whole. The CORONA Hook is crafted in solid aluminium before being anodised, which makes the material highly resilient to knocks and wear. It comes in five different colours.