The Shoulders On Which We Stand
Estimated 4-minute read
Issac Newton famously said that if he had seen further than others it was by “standing on the shoulders of giants”
While our design team is an extremely talented bunch, they’d be the first to admit their work stands on the shoulders of some real titans. So, we asked them who their inspirations were and the answers they gave were fascinating, often unexpected, and undeniably inspiring. Without further ado, these are five designs that have inspired the work at HØJ:
- The Original Telephone Box
With some of our team based in London, we simply couldn’t ignore the humble red telephone box designed by Sir Giles Gilbert-Scott. Scattered across the UK, the bright red steel containers were designed to proudly stand as the physical embodiment of the nation’s industrial and empirical might. Ahead of his time, Gilbert-Scott crafted the boxes with exclusively rounded corners, making the potentially intrusive landmarks easy on the eye – mirroring the curves of nature rather than the hard edges popular with many industrial designers of the time. Our metal pipe and metal grinder are HØJ’s homage to him.
- Louise Campbell’s Cutlery
For over a decade the Georg Jensen company has collaborated on designs inspired by the philosophy of their namesake – quality products that possess both functionality and beauty. This piece in particular, designed by one of Denmark’s leading talents Louise Campbell, honours that belief implicitly. Its playful curves and carefully considered proportions result in a product that is beautifully unpretentious, truly living up to its purpose of being a “useful, flexible, and modern tool” that sits just as comfortably on a dinner table as it does in a display case.
we are so proud that, after years of hard work, we've managed to achieve the same with KØL, our aluminium and stainless steel pipe.
- The Egg Chair
Originally designed for the lobby of his hotel in Copenhagen, Arne Jacobsen’s egg chair marked a watershed moment in the world of furniture by using a foam shell covered in upholstery (a new method of production at the time). Yet, this modern technique was never allowed to obscure the craft behind the product, with each of the 1,100 stitches sewn by hand and the exact shape perfected by Jacobsen in his garage through clay modeling. It is pioneers like this that have given modern design companies like ours permission to invest in craftsmanship, setting a precedent of combining cutting-edge technology and traditional skills on which we hope to build.
- ‘The Chair’
And, without apology, another chair! Decades before Danish design was influencing smartphones and applications, it won its hard-earned reputation primarily through furniture. No single design contributed more to this legacy than Hans Wegner’s ‘The Chair’, an icon both in Denmark and across the world. While we could explain this ourselves, Wegner, as he so often does, did it best; remarking that he wanted “to cut down to the simplest possible elements of four legs, a seat and combined top rail and arm rest”. He termed this approach “continuous purification” and we follow his lead in every product we create.
when designing our metal grinder, our hemp paper or our metal pipe, we have been constantly inspired by this very Danish hero.
John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon famously occupied ‘the chair’ in their first televised debate, giving us hope that one day Danish design will once again find its way back into American politics - perhaps with Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders trading hits on KØL rather than insults!
- Mini Mark One
As fundamentally British as the phone box – but far more mobile – Sir Alec Issigonis’s original Mini launched as one of the most playful and yet most advanced cars ever made. In the mid-50s, Britain was suffering from soaring oil prices and demand for more economical vehicles sky-rocketed. But, how do you make a car smaller without restricting the size of the interior? Innovation! Radically, Issigonis mounted the engine sideways and boiled down the design to its bare essentials. What was left was a vehicle that could comfortably fit four people and yet was only 3 meters long, weighing as little as just over half a ton. That is the mark of a truly well-designed product, one that solves a problem and turns heads as it does so!
- Bang & Olufsen Beosound 3200
Carefully selected by Steve Jobs to sit in his infamously empty apartment, as well as by HØJ to sit in our slightly less infamous office, we love this product because it isn’t timid or apologetic. Instead, its bold design revolves around the disk’s circular shape and dominates the room that the speakers promise to fill with music. Bravely industrial, the design absolutely fits with the mantra of its designer, Jacob Jenson, who once proclaimed, “if we had made a compromise Bang & Olufsen wouldn’t exist. It’s as simple as that.” And that’s why we have it next to our desks, to remind us that only perfection will do.
without their lead, we may never have created the world’s best grinder.