For a long time, Finn Juhl was part of the Onecollection family. But over the years, it became more and more obvious that Finn Juhl´s furniture appealed to a different audience than the rest of the furniture did within Onecollection and something had to be done. Hence, a new brand was established with the name House of Finn Juhl.
Sometimes an exotic egg is hidden in a nest with a clutch of eggs of another species. What you do with it thereafter is crucial. Here is the story of how a cuckoo’s egg in the nest of Onecollection was identified and carefully picked out and nurtured to grow into House of Finn Juhl.
Onecollection is the company behind House of Finn Juhl. It was through Onecollection that the rights for Finn Juhl’s furniture was handed to the owners, Ivan Hansen and Henrik Sørensen, back in the year 2000. What the company then experienced the following years was ever-rising interest in Finn Juhl furniture, which sadly also meant a lack of focus on their original – and more btb related – collection. To address this, they contacted Danish cultural design studio Urgent Agency with a brief to restore and equalize the entire collection:
”I might have been a bit too fresh when first stating that, for us, it was obvious that the solution would be to separate the two brands. Even though you’re a family, your kids are different from one another and have different abilities. So, when they are ready, it serves them well to work and live separately,” Mads Quistgaard from Urgent Agency tells.
Then, another year and a half went by before Henrik Sørensens and Ivan Hansen felt that it was the right time to unfold Finn Juhl, and in order to get it right Urgent Agency dived into his history:
”Finn Juhl is one of the fathers of the modernistic age in more than one way. Not only did he come before Arne Jacobsen and Poul Kjærholm and indeed was part of their inspiration – already at that time, he was taking a more international and almost artistic approach to furniture. This was our key to nurturing the cuckoo in the nest,” explains Mads Quistgaard.
Despite the slight scepticism in the early process, Henrik Sørensen and Ivan Hansen are both very happy about their decision:
“Naturally, it requires a change of habit from those who already knew Onecollection as the company and brand behind Finn Juhl furniture, but overall – and for the new customers – it makes complete sense that all of the Finn Juhl furniture that we have the rights to manufacture and sell are compiled into one separate, exclusive brand,” tells Henrik Sørensen.
No New Nordic Here
To determine an international presence and to showcase the indisputable quality and exclusiveness of the furniture, House of Finn Juhl is, with their new identity, always presented in context with a colourful and sometimes quite dark visual universe that evokes luxury brands and artfulness. The idea is to combine the visual impressions with something sensuous and sometimes almost sensual. About this Mads Quistgaard adds:
”Whereas a lot of brands from Scandinavia tap into the new Nordic expression, we advised House of Finn Juhl to go in a different direction. The furniture pieces are all high end and quite pricy, and when looking and touching each of the pieces, it is clear how every detail is catered for. You can almost feel the round, the soft and the richness of each small detail,” he states and continues:
”House of Finn Juhl equates to world class, state of the art and goes beyond fleeting subjective taste or trends, which was our focal point when developing the new visual identity for House of Finn Juhl.”
Henrik Sørensen from House of Finn Juhl is quite excited about the division of the two brands:
“It has shown itself to be much easier and clearer for us to brand the furniture consistently no matter the platform or market, as we now carry an awareness all the time about the new identity, which is really strong.”
Another idea was that House of Finn Juhl should support a more artsy perception by the furniture often being showcased in combination with art pieces that help create dreamy universes that are three dimensional, whether that’s in photos, concept stores, showrooms or at fairs.
Deciding specifically to work with this expression is the result of investigating what the furniture does. But how does it work?
”For one thing, it is authentic. There´s nothing that looks or feels like Finn Juhl´s furniture. This is a value in itself. But people buy Finn Juhl furniture for different reasons. Some buy it to obtain social capital, such as acknowledgement from your surroundings, some because they, with their intellect, understand that this is beyond just furniture. It´s like art to them and it supplements their identity. Finally, there is the third group. We call it “fondleability”… You know when you without thought just sit in a chair and then bit by bit start to feel the shape of the wood, the softness of the process, the rounding at the armrest. This group of people is almost seduced just by sitting in one of Finn Juhl’s chairs – and then it turns into a must-have,” explains Mads Quistgaard.
Building a brand a visual universe with nice products is not enough. Every brand requires a logo and for this, Urgent Agency went back in history once more.
”We looked at some of the very first popular cabinetmakers in Denmark and how they communicated. They used a very unpretentious font, which resulted in them being very clear communicators.”
Urgent Agency wanted the logo and the font to illustrate the Danish heritage, but at the same time they wanted to develop an identity that would not only suit the brand and the products but also the customer, who is present in more than 30 very different markets – one of them being Japan.
”The Japanese have always been very keen on Finn Juhl´s furniture and in the later years some of his wooden pieces from the collection are actually manufactured in Japan. Buying a hotel in Japan was a stroke of genius from the owners of Onecollection, we think, and just ties a big bow around the entire journey… for us and for all Finn Juhl lovers,” finishes Mads Quistgaard.
Splitting the collection of Finn Juhl from Onecollection has also meant a brush up with Onecollection as well. This job was done by Morten Duemose – and you can see their work here.