Based in the very centre of Aarhus, Nicki van Roon and René Hansen are the two founding designers behind Danish design company Roon & Rahn. It all started when they both held internships in Aarhus, and René helped Nicki draw some 3D sketches for a school project. Soon after, they started designing and building furniture for their own apartment, when they first moved in together at the beginning of 2014.
Mixing competencies in industrial and graphic design, they both graduated in 2013. Nicki finished his studies at The School for Visual Communication in Haderslev, Denmark, while René graduated at the same time in Industrial Design at Aalborg University.
Today, Roon & Rahn are about to increase the quantities in which their products are produced, while still maintaining the same complementing power of their two different fields of study to ensure high quality products. René is the skilled industrial designer and takes care of the 3D sketches, while Nicki makes the graphics and artwork for each product. Despite having their own work areas, they collaborate on everything.
“We usually sketch on our own and then bring our sketches and ideas together in a discussion. We get our ideas from different places and insights. Our focal point when designing is problem-centred design, and the main thing for us is that our products have to solve a problem and fulfil a need. That is good design to us,” says René.
One of Roon & Rahn’s popular designs is ‘Moodboard’, which is a highly customisable hanger system for you to use to store your jacket, hat, shades and so on. Available in four different sizes and customisable with four different hangers that are kept in place by a magnetic locking system, it can be tailored to fit any wardrobe.
According to René, the feeling of each detail in a product is very important. At the same time, the designs must be consistent and people have to know that their looking at a Roon & Rahn design. In this way, Nicki and René try to create their own style. Together with their care for detail, the unique style is something very important for the brand’s success.
“We spent an awful lot of time adjusting the magnetic hanger for the ‘Moodboard’. It had to have the perfect balance between functionality and feeling. It was just not right for us, if the hanger fell off too easy or if it was too tight to pull away from the board. That is a good example of our attention to detail”, says René.
When asked about what is most important for the duo when they are designing, René answered:
“The joy of solving a problem is the main thing for us. That is what gets the engine running in our business. We seek opportunities to help fulfil needs, and do a lot of prototyping to make sure we fulfil the need. Actually, our apartment is one big prototype and is filled with new designs, tests and experiments.”
The company won the Danish chain of furniture shops Ilva’s design prize in 2014, and this summer it won a Nordic Buzz award at the Formland design fair in Denmark. The latest step in the development of Roon & Rahn has been to grow production, and now, further marketing is the next big job for Nicki and René, who are still young designers, both only being in their late twenties.
“It is cool to see everything come together: design, graphics, marketing, branding and so on. To make our own identity, you can say. In the near future we will concentrate even more on the marketing of our products. We will do this by collaborating with bloggers and artists who can decorate our products. At the same time, we are looking for opportunities to expand our business in new countries”, ends René.