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Danish Design Heritage Takes Centre Stage at TORP Inc.

Danish design, Living space with armchair and large plant at Torp

The Toronto showroom is an elegantly understated hub for Denmark’s world-renowned design culture

By Designlines in partnership with Torp
Photography by Naomi Finlay

There’s a little bit of Denmark in Toronto. Located on the second floor of 245 Davenport Road, the TORP showroom is a portal into the world of Danish design: Fritz Hansen. Muuto. PP Møbler. Erik Jorgensen. Snedkergaarden. Georg Jensen. (To name just a few). Sunlit and open, the space unfolds as a treasure trove of classic and contemporary design, bringing together a deftly curated selection of furniture, housewares and jewellery, as well as doors and windows. In the wake of a COVID-19 lockdown that’s amplified the importance of home, the Danish hallmarks of durability and timelessly sophisticated design have never felt more vital – or more comfortable.

Established in 2000, TORP has developed a reputation for honest, unfussy quality that reflects the Scandinavian brands it represents. As founder Arne Nordtorp explains, “Danish design heritage is based on a close collaboration between the architect/designer and the master-craftsman. They push each other to continually refine the products in the best possible quality materials to ensure beauty, comfort and durability. A piece of furniture should last a generation,” Nordtorp says, with a showroom’s worth of Danish design heritage – and continued innovation – as proof.

Danish design, dining area with nature artwork on the wall at Torp
Inside TORP’s sunlit Toronto showroom at 245 Davenport Road. Drop chairs by Fritz Hansen.

For the North American market, it all started with PP Møbler’s The Chair. There’s arguably no purer distillation of Danish design than legendary furniture designer Hans J. Wegner’s 1949 icon. As the name suggests, it is a simple, meticulously pared down piece of furniture, combining a sinuously contoured wood frame with a hard-wearing rattan seat. An early harbinger of Danish modernism’s global popularity, PP Møbler’s bestseller came to international prominence during America’s first televised Presidential debate, with John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon squaring off while seated in a pair of Wegner creations.

Danish design, Chair by PP Møble
The Chair by PP Møbler.

PP Møbler’s Papa Bear Chair is another Hans J. Wegner classic. An unpretentious and subtly playful design, Papa Bear looks every bit as striking as it did during its 1953 debut. An easy chair of unparalleled comfort and coziness, its distinctly flared armrests make for an unmistakable presence. But despite the high-design pedigree, it’s no museum piece. This is a chair to be lived in, with only all-natural products in its upholstery; the cotton, palm, flax fibre and horsehair ensuring your body “breathes” easy. Wegner strongly believed that you should be able to sit in a chair in many different positions for greater comfort. So feel free to swing your legs over the armrest. After all, “that was Wegner’s favourite way of sitting in it,” says Nordtorp.

Danish design - The Papa Bear Chair was desinged by Hans J. Wegner for PP Møbler.
The Papa Bear Chair was desinged by Hans J. Wegner for PP Møbler.

But don’t mistake heritage for complacency. While TORP’s Danish classics continue to be updated with thoughtfully (and sustainably) selected upholstery and finish options, new designs are pushing the envelope – all while celebrating tradition.

The N01 Chair, by Fritz Hansen, is quickly becoming a contemporary classic, available at TORP inc
The N01 Chair, by Fritz Hansen, is quickly becoming a contemporary classic.

Fritz Hansen’s N01 Chair is a good example of contemporary design meeting age-old craftsmanship. Designed by Tokyo-based Nendo, N01 represents a fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian sensibilities, with a design that elevates its simplicity into an eye-catching aesthetic purity. While designed as a dining chair, its versatility allows N01 to feel at home in any residential setting.

Nendo's design for the N01 chair for Danish company Fritz Hansen utilizes a simple but meticulously considered kit of parts.
Nendo’s design for the N01 chair for Fritz Hansen utilizes a simple but meticulously considered kit of parts.

There’s much more to TORP than its stellar selection of chairs. While Danish brands are renowned for their seating, TORP also offers an impressive range of Scandinavian furnishings and housewares for the whole home. Take, for instance, Brdr. Krüger’s Model 60 tray table, which has become an – often-imitated – household staple. Designed by architect Hans Bølling in 1963, Model 60 can be used a serving trolley or side table – resting on a wooden H-frame that can easily be folded without the use of tools.

Brdr. Krüger's foldable Model 60 features a pair of detachable serving trays. - Available at Torp Inc.
Brdr. Krüger’s foldable Model 60 features a pair of detachable serving trays.

And then there’s Georg Jensen. The acclaimed silverware company’s creations are a glistening accent to Torp’s showroom, with everything from fruit bowls and salad tongs to wristwatches, cocktail shakers, bracelets and pendants.  Like TORP‘s furniture – as well as its lighting options, doors and windows – the jewellery and housewares reflect the elegance of Danish design. This year, Louis Poulsen’s classic modern lighting is the newest addition to TORP’s product offering.

Georg Jensen's Wave Bowl was designed by Danish legend Henning Koppel.
Georg Jensen’s Wave Bowl was designed by Danish legend Henning Koppel.

But the simple, thoughtful designs are about more than just good looks. In prioritizing a timeless aesthetic and culture of durable craft, Danish design culture also puts sustainability front and centre – eschewing the disposable consumer culture that permeates so much of contemporary design. From a wristwatch to a lounge chair, the Danes are in it for the long haul. TORPINC.COM

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