Despite his young age, architect David Thulstrup is a well-established name in the interior design industry. DANISH™ has asked the talented Dane to take a look back at the year’s that was and ahead to the future to come.
“I opened my own studio in 2009, and in the first year, I only accepted one job, while I turned down 20–30 enquiries. I felt that I needed to move away from commercials and photoshoots and instead show that I was something different,” tells architect David Thulstrup.
David Thulstrup returned to Copenhagen at the end of 2008 after several years working in the ultimate design hotspots. First Paris for Jean Nouvel and afterwards New York for Peter Marino, where he worked on the concept for Chanel on Robertson Avenue in Los Angeles. But the designer had so many more projects on his wish list.
“I wanted to do shop designs and concepts. That’s why I said yes to do a stand for Kopenhagen Fur, which to me was a dream job. Of course, it was difficult to turn down other enquiries, since I was a new start-up business, and I needed the money, but I didn’t want the economy to overrule my gut feeling,” says David Thulstrup.
In general, gut feeling is a very important tool at David Thulstrup’s studio. Both when it comes to picking out the perfect material and when starting up a dialogue with a potential client.
“We spend a lot of time with our clients, analysing their dreams and thoughts and gaining a foothold in the project. I’ve never believed it’s good to work alone so our clients are included throughout the entire process. The collaboration is essential, and there must be a good chemistry between me and the client – if there isn’t, I choose not to continue,” David Thulstrup elaborates.
Finding the Right Balance Between Creativity and Responsibility
Since David started the studio on his own back in 2009, the business has enjoyed growing success and today, the Danish architect has approximately 20 employees affiliated to solve a diverse range of incoming projects. But growing pains come with new challenges.
Paperwork and formulas don’t really harmonise with mood boards and open-minded creativity, and to David it has been difficult to find the right balance between the two sides of his business.
“I’m responsible for all the administrative work at the studio. The finances, salaries, future plans, everything is on my plate. In that way, I make sure I know what’s going on, but at the same time it also causes a lot of worries, and it can be tough to balance between being creative and being responsible for a studio with 20 people,” David Thulstrup tells.
Luckily, over the last year, David has found a way to put the growing studio into order. The internal structure is now in place and is much clearer than before and the founder has now delegated different assignments to his employees.
“We’ve always had a very flat structure, but with the growing number of projects, I needed to give my employees more responsibility and develop their leadership skills. Now we have heads of departments and project leaders – a structure we didn’t need only a couple of years ago, but a sign of our continuing success and growth.”
And the new structure has had a positive effect on the business.
“We are in a good place now. An interesting place. We’ve added an extra layer of professionalism to the studio during the last year and have become less chaotic and more in control. Everybody works really hard and is focused and I’m very proud of my employees and where we are today,” David Thulstrup says.
What’s Next on the Wish List?
David Thulstrup has been involved in a bit of everything since the studio opened almost ten years ago. Shop designs, concept stores and private housing are some of the projects that the architect can tick off his wish list. So, the question is – what’s left? Has he achieved all of his goals?
“I would say I’ve reached 30%, so there’s still a lot to do! Hotels, restaurants and galleries are placed very high on my list. The studio did the Vipp Hotel in Northern Copenhagen, and we had so much fun. Hotels are a bit crazier too, which means that we can go off the rails and try out wilder ideas,” David Thulstrup explains before he continues:
“I travel a lot myself, and the feeling of being in an amazing place or room and where you feel welcome triggers something in me. What does it take to create the right atmosphere? To me it’s not important if we work with IKEA, Chanel or Vipp, I’m more interested in the process of mixing all the elements together in a natural way, no matter who the client is.”
Whether it’s a hotel, a restaurant or something completely different that’s on the drawing board at Thulstrup’s studio is a secret, but let’s hope the Danish architect can tick off a few more wishes during the next couple of years.