In Part Two of our discussion with Flemming Lindeløv, former CEO of Carlsberg and Royal Scandinavia and now Chairman of Toneart A/S, the holding company for the PH Furniture and PH Pianos brands, we talk more about music, furniture and what is motivating him to revive the iconic furniture designs of Poul Henningsen (PH) for the contemporary furniture market.
PH Magazine: You have a connection with Music, with your involvement in Nordic Artists Management which is dedicated to the creation of classical music in the Nordic region. You are clearly very interested in music – did this inspire you to become involved with PH Pianos?
FL: When I was five years old my Mother told me I have arranged for a teacher for you to learn piano for two hours every Tuesday. I think I continued for eight years. It was quite difficult. I loved it, but it was an uphill struggle for eight years. I did not have a real talent. I think these days I may be tone deaf, please don’t ask me to sing or play piano! But at the end of the day I really loved to have a piece of music and try very hard to play it. I think it is nice to play football and play piano. I do not have a great talent but I am nevertheless eager to take part. I could allocate more time to go back to piano these days and I am very tempted to do that.
PH Magazine: Good music can be about bringing people together: to entertain is not always about perfect music.
FL: That’s the attraction of the PH Piano: it’s a talking point and draws people to it. Yet while the PH Piano is striking to look at, it can also be quite unobtrusive due to it’s open nature and transparent lid. It is a piece of art as well as a first class musical instrument.
PH Magazine: What are your favourite pieces from the PH Furniture Collection?
FL: The black version the of PH Piano and the Snake Chair would be my favourite choices!
PH Magazine: What pieces of PH Furniture do you have in your own home? Tell us about living with PH Furniture day to day…
FL: I have bought the PH Desk for my private office…I bought it in the Light Oak finish, in the same office one day I should have the Snake Chair in black. Every time I have guests in my private home I show them the PH Desk and all the wonderful design details like how the swing drawers open. I am very proud to have the first. I do not yet have the space for the piano but one day in the future I would love to have the piano. I enjoy it one hundred percent and beyond – I am proud. I also want two or three PH Mirrors in the hallway in different sizes at the front of the house.
PH Magazine: What is the ambition for PH Furniture for the next five years and ten years?
FL: So now we have the producers to make high quality furniture and pianos. We have a supply chain that is very good and then it is about building infrastructure and selling more globally. There are some challenging questions about selling over the internet, which companies to collaborate with and of course we would like to develop further retail shopping experiences around the world so people can see the product and feel the quality before ordering. We have taken the big decision to exhibit at the IMM Cologne and Salone del Mobile Milano furniture fairs in 2019. We are excited about the outcome of these exhibitions next year.
PH Magazine: Of course with your work at Illums Bolighus, you must have lots of opinions on the future direction of the furniture market: how does PH Furniture fit in to this?
FL: PH Furniture is high quality, unique furniture, you have never seen before because these furniture designs have never been commercialised before. So it is a new era where we start a totally new concept of selling unique furniture designed in a period where there a lot of Danish furniture designers that have made fantastic furniture. We can stand on the back of the more well known furniture designers from the 1930s to the Mid-Century and say here we have found some very, very nice furniture designs that are an investment for the future. It is also the one hundredth anniversary of the Bauhaus movement and a lot of our furniture is built on the Bauhaus tradition.
PH was looking in to the standard furniture and standard piano designs and saying to himself ‘How could I do this furniture and piano in another way?’ So it is another way of thinking but it is the same way of using the piano, using the table, using the chairs. He did not want to adhere to ways of thinking that were ‘safe’, he wanted to take risks with his designs. He wanted to make things in a proactive exciting way, not in a boring way. The Snake Chair is an example, the Axe Table is an example. It was a provocative way of thinking and these are exciting times for furniture.