My way into design was through craftsmanship. I was trained as a cabinet maker at Jørgen Wolff’s workshop in Hellerup, Denmark. After finishing my apprenticeship in 1988, I studied industrial design at The Danish Design School in Copenhagen, spending a semester at Art Center College of Design in Switzerland.
After graduation, I was taken under the wings of Rud Thygesen, one of the grand old men of Danish furniture design. The four years in his studio were fundamental to my career. As a true mentor, he shared his craftsmanship, helping me to refine my skills as a designer. And he generously opened his network, introducing me to some of the key players in the industry. Among them Peter Stærk, the founder of the Danish furniture design company, Botium. Peter not only became a close friend; his company also manufactured RUNNER.
My career as a designer took off when RUNNER was spotted by Bjørn Stegger, then Head of Design at Fritz Hansen, at the Danish Cabinetmakers Annual Exhibition in 1997. Under the visionary lead of Bjørn, the collaboration with Fritz Hansen led to a series of products – the ICE-series, the LITTLE FRIEND table, the NAP chair and the PLURALIS meeting table – all manufactured by Fritz Hansen and sold worldwide.
Working in partnerships brings so many new perspectives. In 2004, I joined forces with my friend and colleague, architect Thomas Sigsgaard to set up Salto & Sigsgaard. Working across the fields of product design, lighting and interior design, we developed a series of solutions for Danish and international companies. In 2011, we entered the prestigious competition, New Furniture for UN’s Trusteeship Council Chamber in New York. Designed by Finn Juhl in the 1950s, this room and its furniture counts as one of the Danish architectural masterpieces outside Denmark.
Designing the Council chair was an exciting challenge. Winning the competition was a huge honour, which opened new opportunities. Among them, the collaboration with Onecollection, the manufacturer of the Council chair and its extended family; the Mindcraft exhibition for Danish Crafts at The Salone di Mobile in Milan; new furniture for the foyer in Vilhelm Lauritzen’s ‘Radiohuset’ (former HQ for the Danish Broadcasting Company), and restoration projects for The New Carlsberg Foundation at their residence in Copenhagen.
Working under my own name, I continue the collaboration with Fritz Hansen, developing new projects as well updates to previous Salto designs. Recently, my passion for promoting design that’s functional and sustainable has resulted in the co-development of the UV BENCH – a piece of furniture that doubles as a disinfection solution – produced by the Danish UV technology specialist, EFSEN.
Beside my design projects, I’m proud to be on the boards of The Danish Crafts Council, Knud W. Engelhardt Foundation and The Nordic Culture Fund. As a judge in the Danish TV programme, Denmark’s Next Classic, I’ve also had the privilege of working with the next generation of Danish design talents. A hugely inspiring experience which has not only taught me how much work can get done in very little time but also the courage it takes to perform under pressure and put your professional talent on public show.