Scandinavian

Inspired By: Plethora Magazine

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We wanted to highlight the natural beauty and tactility of print by using a format that allowed the craftsmanship to shine trough on an excessive level. Ultimately, we created this kind of otherworldly giant…an object that no one would know exactly what to do with.
'Anima Mundi:' the latest issues of large format (70cm by 50cm), bi-annual   Plethora Magazine  , created and published by  Peter Steffensen and Benjamin Wernery.

'Anima Mundi:' the latest issues of large format (70cm by 50cm), bi-annual Plethora Magazine, created and published by  Peter Steffensen and Benjamin Wernery.

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An otherworldly Giant

Plethora Magazine is an independent, biannual publication founded in Copenhagen which challenges the bounds of the conventional magazine format — conceptually as well as physically (each page has poster dimensions, 50cm x 70cm). 

Skillfully printed by the monks of a Hindu temple, Plethora Magazine is unlike any other magazine on the planet: no noise, no ads and no logos, just 52 pages of poster-size visual indulgence and tales from the life less ordinary, presented in a careful blend of quirky archive material, wondrous art prints and contemporary artist features.

What inspires us most about Plethora, is how editor Peter Steffensen and art director Benjamin Wernery are curating such a fascinating variety of content - much of it reclaimed from historical ideas, technology, and imagery - to make something entirely new. 

Here are the highlights from our conversation with Peter Steffensen.

First off, tell us about the creative / professional journey that led you to Plethora?

I come from a background in philosophy and so, in  many ways, Plethora is a natural bridge for me between the academic world and the art scene. With Plethora, we are trying to shift the boundaries between the two fields and create a new context for both, essentially blurring the lines between fiction, myth, and science - which I think is an essential aspect of art. 

Was there one main idea that led to creating an oversized magazine now, in the digital age?

Yes, in fact. As you probably know, not that long ago, most magazines published a digital version to supplement their print publication. But now, that relationship has been been inverted. So, the aim for us was to turn all the inherent and presumed 'flaws of print' upside down and then amplify and refine them to a degree were they became attributes, specifically those qualities that are impossible to digitize.

Basically, we wanted to highlight the natural beauty and tactility of print by using a format that allowed the craftsmanship to shine trough on an excessive level. Ultimately, we created this kind of otherworldly giant…an object that no one would know exactly what to do with.

Why did you believe that bigger was better?

Well, we wanted to craft a very particular reading experience. The magazine's size naturally slows down the consumption of content.  Plethora Magazine is designed to actively involve the body so as to change the way we experience the content and then, hopefully, open up a space for reflection.

What we've observed is that the magazine's size does, in fact,  help people to both slow down and become quieter as they flip through and examine the pages - which is one of the hardest things for any of us to achieve these days.

Without giving away any trade secrets, what can you tell us about the printing process?

We are fortunate to work with very skillful printers here in Denmark called Narayana Ashrama Press, which is both a Hindu temple and a high end off-set printers. It’s truly a wonderful place and so, when we print, we actually move in and stay at their guest house during the whole process. This lends a much needed air on calm to an otherwise decision-intensive and hectic process. Don’t think we could make Plethora anywhere else.

what would you say is the 'red thread' that connects the themes of all six issues of Plethora to date? 

We work from a vast and ever-evolving archive of images and subject matter that we have compiled over the years (the crossroads between art and science is definitely a preferred territory for us). And these items make up the reservoir from which we can shape and slowly built a theme for each issue. Honestly,  the themes for some  editions can be years in the making. 

Ultimately, the trick is to create subtle intersections between a variety of narratives in order to bring about the element of wonder, which is essential to Plethora.  We want to create a experience where layers of meaning are endlessly unfolding, so there are new connections being made each time you open an issue. 

What's been the biggest challenge in bringing Plethora out into the world?

Almost from day one we’ve had to carve out our own niche within the world of magazine distribution. Also because it’s such a hybrid between a curated print collection, an object d’art, and a conventional magazine. So seeking out the appropriate platforms and outlets for the magazine has probably been the biggest challenge.

Do you have a favorite feature from the first six issue of Plethora?

Once in a while we manage to stumble on a real gem. And if I was to pick one out of the lot, it would probably have to be the feature on the Selknam tribe of Terra del Fuego (also called the Hain people), from our first issue (see below).

During the long preparation for issue one, we ran across these amazing black and white images of a now extinct tribal culture. They were all wearing these strange tribal masks and their bodies were totally painted and they were standing out in the snow. The whole scene was like something out of a strange and grotesque avant-garde theater productions. 

When we researched the Hain we discovered an incredible and elaborate mythology behind the initiation ritual - more complex than any greek tragedy. 

As it turned out the image we found were taken by a German priest and anthropologist who visited Patagonia in 1923 and who happened to witness and document,  the last ever initiation rite of the Selknam tribe. The entire tribe were murdered by settlers not long after the priest's visit.

So this story just had it all - fierce drama, mystery, forgotten meaning, archetypical signs and symbols - an ancient, universal narrative somehow. Working with this story really helped set the tone and standard for how we choose our features ever since.

What can you tell us about the impact Plethora is having around the world?

Only when an issue of Plethora is exhibited and unfolded in three dimensional space, can the potential of the magazine truly comes across, and the quality of the print can be best appreciated. 

So, from the very beginning we have prioritized traveling exhibitions abroad to show the diversity of our editions and to create experiences for a foreign audience that would have a real impact. And it gives us the opportunity to meet with our collectors in person, which I think is very important for our kind of product.

How would you say that ideas and artifacts, of the past inspire you to create and innovate?

I really appreciate the different traditional crafts that we encounter on our journeys. Especially in Asia, where the artisans have a very different approach to time and craft than we have here in Scandinavia. All in all, I like most esoteric things drenched in mystery and symbols. And much of the work we do on Plethora Magazine is actually one long semiotic journey to extract the meaning behind these.

So, for now, I definitely feel that I'm in the right line of work.

Learn more and shop at www.plethoramag.com

The  Selknam tribe of Terra del Fuego  from the first issue of  Plethora Magazine .

The Selknam tribe of Terra del Fuego from the first issue of Plethora Magazine.

Peter Steffensen, Editor In Chief (pictured at right) and Art Director  Benjamin Wernery of  Plethora Magazine.

Peter Steffensen, Editor In Chief (pictured at right) and Art Director  Benjamin Wernery of Plethora Magazine.

The aim for us was to turn all the inherent and presumed ‘flaws of print’ upside down and then amplify and refine them to a degree were they became attributes, specifically those qualities that are impossible to digitize.
— Editor-In-Chief, Peter Steffensen
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The Hudson Company + Frama CPH

Custom mood board by Frama CPH for The Hudson Company.

Custom mood board by Frama CPH for The Hudson Company.

The Hudson Company + Frama

Scan almost any list of top design studios coming out of Scandinavia, and you will come across the name Frama - a Copenhagen-based design shop and creative team at the very forefront of Scandinavian chic. With their one-of-a-kind office space in Copenhagen's historic Nyboder neighborhood, Frama is a trendsetting brand that refuses to be boxed in by industry adjectives, which is appropriate, as the brand is constantly reinterpreting, rediscovering, and reimagining what it means to be a 21st century design leader (we think the photos below speak volumes about the quality and timeless elegance of Frama's work).

Here at The Hudson Company, we have been fans of Frama's inspired work for a long time, so, of course, we were thrilled this past summer, when they graciously agreed to create a custom mood board for us. Choosing from our full product range, Frama chose to focus in on our Select Harvest White Oak [Barley Finish] to use as the backdrop for their custom mood board.

Read on for some insights into what keeps the creativity flowing at Frama and how they brought this inviable mood board to life for The Hudson Company.

5 Questions with Frama

Tell us about the items included in your mood board, what's their origin story? Why did you select them for this mood board?

The objects of focus in our mood board design is our line of Aj Otto Stoneware - designed by Frama Studio here in Copenhagen. The ceramics are hand made in Denmark, which provides each product in the collection a unique feel. Although it has a Scandinavian aesthetic, the idea for this collection came from some old Italian glass food-containers discovered during some southern travels a few years ago.

Along with the Aj Otto stoneware, we've also included a variety of vintage and new brass pieces in our mood board. The cutlery is from different flee-markets, while the candleholders are designed by a young danish designer Maribel Carlander for Frama. Cut out of solid, untreated brass, these candle holders are a careful study in geometry, proportion and composition. Lastly, the E27 Table Light (also designed by Frama), is a simple, industrial and straight forward lamp which provides a cozy light to any table setting.        

Where does that team at Frama turn for inspiration, what sources are consistently inspiring?

Most often our best inspiration comes from dialogues with interesting people we meet on our travels, with whom we collaborate, or from people who stop by our studio.  

Overall, it's a central focus of ours to find the right balance between the traditional and the contemporary aesthetics, so we often look back in time for our inspiration whether that's to old art-posters or to historical building detail. Many of Frama’s design ideas grow out of the interior design projects we work on. We find that great inspiration can come from nature, art. architecture, as well from basic shapes and forms. 

Color and texture seems to be especially important to the items and collections that Frama produces: can you talk about that a little bit? 

Yeah, sure. Everything we do stems from an idea that we call "slow production." We use solid woods, untreated metals and stone to create both a aesthetically pleasing product, but also something that will “live” for a long time - these are long lasting and “honest” materials. Our design language is pretty straight forward, based in simple geometry and subtle, natural colors. These are the elements at the center of the Frama design universe. But we also love rich colors.

Choosing the right colors is essential for curating the final expression any space will have. So, with that in mind, we really thoughtful with how we use color - both in painted and non-painted finishes - so that everything is complementary. That's how we developed our St. Paul's Blue paint color with Jotun and it's how we got started with our upcoming line of colors based on the interiors of an historic Copenhagen space (coming in 2017).    

Is there a driving design vision or 'manifesto' that you use in your work and collaborations?

We often work within the area of re-interpreting design archetypes. Therefore, the objects of our collection often signals a return to basics. Our vision is always to come up with something new, but we try to maintain a historical feel to everything we do. The synergy between the past and present is important for our design process. Our main interests lay somewhere between two opposite poles - that space between classical and the contemporary design, that incorporates both digital and analogue production. 

Why did your team chose Select Harvest White Oak [Barley Finish] flooring as the background for your mood board? 

We chose this specific White Oak flooring because of its honesty. It has rich veins and you can clearly see and feel the knots in the wood. The color of the flooring is warm (natural white with a slightly golden hue) which provides a cozy feel to the mood board. Also, since it's Oak, you know that it is a solid, enduring surface. These are all qualities of material that reflect the Frama vision.

You can learn more about Hudson Company White Oak Center Cut, Barley Finish] here, and more about Frama here. 

Follow The Hudson Company on Instagram. Follow Frama on Instagram.

All photos courtesy of Frama CPH.

Frama Studio in Copenhagen, Denmark. All photos courtesy of Frama CPH.

Frama Studio in Copenhagen, Denmark. All photos courtesy of Frama CPH.

We often work within the area of re-interpreting design archetypes. Therefore, the objects of our collection often signals a return to basics. Our vision is always to come up with something new, but we try to maintain a historical feel to everything we do. The synergy between the past and present is important for our design process.
Frama's home offices and showroom at St. Paul's Apotek in Copenhagen.

Frama's home offices and showroom at St. Paul's Apotek in Copenhagen.

Hudson Company Select Harvest White Oak [Barley Finish].

Hudson Company Select Harvest White Oak [Barley Finish].

We chose this specific White Oak flooring because of its honesty. It has rich veins and you can clearly see and feel the knots in the wood. The color of the flooring is warm, and since it’s Oak, you know that it is a solid, enduring surface. These are all qualities of material that reflect the Frama vision.
Custom mood board by Frama Copenhagen. Wood background is Hudson Company Select Harvest White Oak [Barley Finish].

Custom mood board by Frama Copenhagen. Wood background is Hudson Company Select Harvest White Oak [Barley Finish].

Inspired By: Installation Artist Pernille Snedker Hansen

All photos taken from  www.snedkerstudio.dk.

All photos taken from www.snedkerstudio.dk.

 

Partly calculation, partly chance: The Evolution of Formation

It's not every day that we stumble upon an artist or maker doing something truly innovative with wood flooring, but when we discovered the work of Copenhagen-based artist and craftswoman Pernille Snedker Hansen - we were totally floored.

The founder of Snedker Studio, Pernille specializes in custom, handcrafted wood surfaces and commissioned artworks. Her current work is defined by the use of colorful patterns and organic forms applied to both paper and wood flooring. By combining the random with the intentional - her work is at once whimsical and structured.

One admirer has described Pernille's work as, "immersive artworks" and we have to agree - by replicating the fluid, asymmetrical aesthetics of nature and combining those forms with the careful human touch of the artisan, Ms. Snedker Hansen is creating works that are both singular and inspiring. 

Another perspective on the artist's work, from her own website:

"In search of visual phenomena in nature like structures of wood, grain, patterns of growth, Pernille Snedker Hansen sets out to experiment with techniques to imitate and magnify nature. Organic processes become scripts for the artist’s movements with her tools: water, numerous small bottles filled with various colors, wood, paper and a careful choice of colour combinations; combing through materialised occurrences like a colour drop spreading in the water basin, pushed away from its inner circle to the edge by the next drop falling into it. What happens is partly calculation, partly chance, loosing the artist’ hold on the process but at the same time being incredible aware and highly concentrated on the evolution of formation."

Our team is always on the lookout for creative makers who are pushing the boundary of what's possible in wood flooring design and Ms. Snedker Hansen certainly fits that description. We're especially smitten with her Refraction and Arch flooring installations. And while we can't wait to see what this inspiring artists comes up with next, there's plenty of Pernille's work out there to admire. Trust us, you want to dive into the full spectrum of her impressive and chromatic body of work.

You can learn more about Pernille at her official website and follow her inspiring posts on Instagram. All photos taken from www.snedkerstudio.dk.

The artist at work in her Copenhagen studio.

The artist at work in her Copenhagen studio.

All photos taken from  www.snedkerstudio.dk.

All photos taken from www.snedkerstudio.dk.