Designer Heidi Hofmann’s light-filled Danish apartment is packed with personal touches which showcase the designer’s distinctive style.
Up a battered stairwell in the trendy Vesterbro district of Copenhagen, behind a heavy door, is an apartment filled with international treasures. The living room rug is from Marrakesh, the lamps are by French designer Jean Prouvé, the dining table is by Finnish American designer Eero Saarinen, and the many works of art have been purchased from auctions, galleries, and studios around the world.
Behind this mix of international design classics and artisanal finds are fashion designer Heidi Hofmann, founder of clothing brand Hofmann Copenhagen, and her husband Claus Robenhagen, an art dealer for London-based Lisson Gallery. The apartment feels cosmopolitan and is clearly influenced by the couple’s many travels together, filled with details which convey their personal stories.
“Our home tells a story about our journeys together and the years we have spent in London, but it probably also reveals that we both work with aesthetics for a living and enjoy good craftsmanship, because it takes talent and many years of experience to create something visually pleasing,” Hofmann says. The five-room apartment has just one bedroom, which opens onto the dining and living rooms, the continuous flow offering plenty of shared living space. A small balcony overlooking Vesterbro’s rooftops functions as an extra room – the sunny spot a favourite for the couple’s morning coffee ritual.
The couple’s interest in contemporary art is clear from the many works by both Danish and international artists. Every way you turn, the eye is met by different works – from upcoming names to stars of the art world. It is not only drawings, prints and photos which catch your attention, though. Statement pieces, such as a double door by the Danish duo Bank & Rau, which separates the dining room from the bedroom, integrate functional art into the apartment’s interior. Limited edition works are also present, such as an elegant sculpture of a bird with an egg balanced on its head, one of just 1,000 pieces created by Urs Fischer for the opening of the Jumex Museum in Mexico City in 2013.
“Art plays a big part in our lives, not only because Claus works in the art world, but also because our social circle has always consisted of artists and gallery owners,” Hofmann explains. “This is why I usually find my inspiration for new clothing lines in art rather than fashion. Trends, colours or specific pieces of art inspire me in my work with prints and cuts.” Her creative process is inspired by the likes of Richard Tuttle and Sol Lewitt, she adds, and other 1960s artists from the United States and South America.
The apartment is also influenced by Robenhagen’s minimalist aesthetic and Hofmann’s love of rare vintage finds and historical objects, such as the seashell-inspired porcelain set designed by goldsmith and sculptor Arje Griegst, and a set of tiny boxes from the 1920s.
“Claus prefers simplicity and minimalist solutions while I am the collector in our relationship. I have a hard time resisting a good flea market find, no matter where I am in the world and how difficult it will be to bring home. I feel the most comfortable in an artistic mess where things have not necessarily found their right place yet,” she says.
The couple share a passion for quality, and they both have – flea market find or not – high standards when it comes to the items they purchase. Even if that means it takes years to find the perfect chair, or curtains that will create just the right light in the bedroom.
“You would never find a reproduction or – even worse – a replica of a piece of designer furniture in our home. We are willing to make the effort to source the original design, or the exact piece which fits with the rest of the decor in the apartment. We don’t mind waiting until we can afford it or until we come across the right item. We would rather wait than compromise and settle for something average,” Hofmann says.
The bathroom is an example of the effort the couple is willing to make in order to achieve their desired look. From floor to ceiling, the surfaces are covered in mosaic tiles. These are complemented with an imported basin by Spanish designer Jaime Hayon and a mirror from a Parisian flea market.
The pair have also dedicated a lot of time to perfecting their kitchen. They designed the fittings themselves and had them built by a company called Wonderwood. Pendant lights by Finnish designer Alvar Aalto were a housewarming present from Robenhagen’s mother.
But not all design choices in the apartment have been made entirely in accordance with the couple’s taste. The living room sofa, filled with inviting cushions sourced on the couple’s travels, was not exactly chosen.
“Our sofa is not the most fashionable of its kind, and if we were to buy a new one we would most likely not choose that style again, but it has sentimental value as it used to belong to my grandparents. It has faithfully followed us throughout several apartments and has been reupholstered a number of times. It carries a story. That is why it is so valuable to us.” It is personal touches such as this that have transformed the couple’s apartment into a home.
Words: Marie Monrad Graunbol.
Photographer: Mikkel Tjellesen from Living Inside.
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