True Scandinavian design goes beyond the white-washed-walls-and-pine-floor aesthetic that so defines it as a trend. There are the considerations of eco friendliness that encompasses a longevity in use and make stretching from the spatial environment to the intricate bits like furniture and furnishing. To this end we are energised by the ethos and practices of Noden, a Singapore-based vintage Scandinavian furniture furniture helmed by Marko Yeo and Tawan Conchonnet.
I first heard about Noden while on a shoot at a beautiful home designed by Ling Hao Architects. All glorious concrete rawness and stark spatial acrobatics both calm and cajoling at the same time, it warranted some fitting accessorising. An acquaintance recommended checking out Noden, Ling Hao tells me. On to the website I went and immediately I was enamoured and transported to a world so comforting and so authentic. A trip to the showroom followed and I couldn’t concentrate on Marko talking for love of the visual feast in front of me. All the lines and curves, tactility and details of the furniture harkened to my love for simplicity and good form. The thing is, can you imagine what their home looks/feels like? Love.
Follow their Instagram feed and you will be daily drooling at the beautiful, well-crafted vintage wood and leather furniture styled in the loveliest of moods and shot by Tawan, a talented and most intuitive photographer whose photographs capture perfectly the essence of moments and moods. An abundance of natural light streaming into the warehouse shows off the wares in the most flattering way. The space, packed full wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling with covetable pieces and accented by green plants and smallish accessories, makes you want to live and breathe Scandinavian design. The duo are well versed in the history of the topic and have the good taste to go along with it.
We ask the charming couple some questions on the pieces they carry as well as share some experiences they save on their buying trips to Copenhagen. After this I’m not surprised if you can’t help but click ‘send to basket’ on their website.
What are your concepts and memories of home and beauty, and how do you inject this flavour into Noden?
Marko: The concept behind Noden is pretty simple: we simply want to share our love for well-crafted original Scandinavian design—Danish Modern in particular—and to find happy new owners for our handpicked pieces. We could only collect so much and through Noden, we hope that people will open up to a more sustainable way of living around beautiful pieces that were crafted to last a lifetime during a magical period that will never be repeated again.
Tawan: Being born to a French father and Thai mother simply meant cooking and eating were the biggest passions at home, and we spent a lot of time at the dining table! That’s where a lot of great things happen, like ideas, creativity, long conversations and everything else in between. The beauty of home (and the dining area!) is all of that and you can truly be yourself!
Marko: My fondest memories of home growing up was cosy and comfortable rattan furniture that my sis and I spent too much time on, surrounded by Mom and Dad’s choices of unique antique and modern furniture that were somewhat very British and Italian inspired. We also had a lot of art up on the walls that Dad bought during his travels and plenty of flowers, plants and trees in our garden.
Tawan: Home to us should always be cosy, full of character and unique to the people living in it. What we offer at Noden is what we live with.
Tawan: Berit Mogensen Lopez is a Danish textile artist who also creates unique collages from paper. We were drawn to the shapes and colors of her artwork. They are naturally mid-century inspired, slightly unusual but very unique, and they complement our vintage furniture nicely.
Marko: We came across Rug Solid in Copenhagen during one of our sourcing trips. We had been on the lookout for a really nice rug brand for some time to complement our range of vintage furniture and the simple fact that all the rugs are hand-woven with leftover cotton thrown away by the fashion industry was a compelling story itself. Also, they are made from 100% cotton, sustainable and truly unique.
Tell us about the vintage vases, such as the Scheurich vases. How did you come across them?
Tawan: I love vintage ceramic vases and always take home a couple during our travels to add to my collection and to sell at Noden. Vintage Danish and Swedish ceramics can be expensive so we decided to offer vintage German vases, which were produced in larger quantities during the 1950s-1970s and are much more affordable as decorative and functional display pieces for the home.
Noden started selling vintage Scandinavian furniture but you’ve also recently added a new furniture brand – Frama. How does Frama fit into the whole Noden collection and story?
Tawan: We were looking for a well-made wall shelf for a long time and came across the Shelf by Frama in Copenhagen, took one home with us and knew it would blend in well with our vintage furniture range at Noden. Frama’s approach to design is honest and pure, and we really liked the natural finishes and solid materials used within their collection. The classical-inspired lines with a contemporary approach of Frama’s products blends in well with our vintage furniture.
You travel to Scandinavia a lot to source for furniture. Can you share with us some interesting stories about your sourcing adventures, as well as some of your favourite places to visit and things to do when you are in Scandinavia.
Marko: We have so many stories to share but the funniest one was when we spent the entire day ‘playing’ at Tivoli Gardens a few autumns ago. All we wanted to do was to have a quick coffee and ice cream at Kähler restaurant, (filled with design pieces by Finn Juhl, Wegner, Le Klint etc… ) before we started our work day and attend all our meetings. That never happened…
Tawan: We couldn’t decide whether to stay at Tivoli or get on with work! Of course we had to stay at Tivoli. Try the breakfast at Café Auto in Norrebro, Copenhagen. They serve delicious good food, the interior is charming and filled with design classics and a great mix of vintage furniture.
Glyptotek is a very beautiful museum and a must visit in Copenhagen for an inspiring art and cultural experience. Café Glyptoteket, located in the Winter Garden, is also a great place to take a break and enjoy lunch.
Marko: Finn Juhls House located at Ordrupgaard Museum located out of Copenhagen at Charlottenlund is highly recommended for serious Danish design fans. We love spending our time at Torvehallerne, which is a very beautiful modern farmer’s market and one of the best food havens in Copenhagen. We buy our food and ingredients here every time to cook. Don’t forget to stop by Coffee Collective for a great cup of coffee before you leave! Check out our entry on Torvehallerne on our website.
What are some challenges in restoring and selling vintage furniture?
Marko: Restoration of vintage furniture is a very delicate and time-consuming process and we always strive to bring the pieces back to life—to how they would have looked like back in the fifties and sixties. Obviously certain age-related wear & tear marks and scratches can’t be removed even with restoration but isn’t that the true beauty of a piece of furniture well lived?
There are plenty of challenges, from sourcing to the time and effort in restoration but the comparisons of pricing between poorly made replicas to an original designer piece is something we deal with often. Say, how does one expect an original vintage Hans Wegner piece to be of the same pricing as a replica piece? And on the flip side, replicas are often times more expensive than original vintage pieces. Our main focus is to sell only the best—pieces that function well, look beautiful and hold their value, in a style truly unique to Noden, so that’s also a good sort of challenge for ourselves.
Please continue this sentence: Play to me is…
Tawan: doing what you love!
Marko: loving life itself and catching a couple of waves!
+ Photo credit: all images provided by Noden.