As product design that follows the movements of the changing landscapes of social space, MENUThe multi-purpose Tearoom and Co Chair collection offers shared interactions and flexible functionality for multiple users.
The cocoon shapes of the Tearoom collection offer privacy in public
Questioning social spaces to properly reflect our modern existence should be an important quest for all designers – the power of progressive interiors should not be underestimated and may even contribute to a change in the course of history. Danish design brand MENU is guided by a human-centered approach rooted in social action – the end result of every product design being to forge a sense of community and belonging to the real world.
The Co Bar Chair provides an informal yet comfortable perch for any occasion
With every piece of furniture, lighting and interior accessories, MENU seeks how a product can truly connect an individual to a space. This is achieved through slightly minimalist products that are both versatile and accessible, and their collaborative team spirit that combines a wide range of experiences and expertise. More, The menus An experiential showroom and concept hotel in Copenhagen, The Audo, provides an ideal social test bed for their designers to learn from, with its hybrid, open layout mirroring that of many modern hotels, restaurants, workspaces and homes.
Pictured, The Audo is a hybrid social space – a boutique residence, restaurant, cafe, concept store, materials library, work and event space – in Copenhagen, designed and designed by MENU as a creative space and a testing ground for ideas
At the heart of our existence as human beings, our social spaces are constantly changing. At the start of the 20th century in Britain, for example, the novel “tea room” was one of the first places where women could congregate without drinking alcohol, opening up new conversations that contributed to political change for women later in the century. This social space has inspired The menus Tea Room chair collection, by the Stockholm-based Scottish-Swedish designer Nick Rosswho was informed in particular by by Charles Rennie Mackintosh Curved Willow Chair, created between 1902 and 1904 for the Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow.
High back sofas and armchairs from the Tearoom collection create moments of intimacy and help divide an open space
Applying this innovative historical precedent to today’s modern hybrid spaces, such as hotel lobbies or co-working spaces, Ross has designed a simple, rounded chair, with full upholstery offering sturdiness, comfort and absolute flexibility. ‘the Tea Room the chair has no direction – its round shape makes it ideal for spaces like The Audo that are open-plan, as it can be placed anywhere and always feels comfortable,” says Joachim Kornbek Hansen, Brand and Design Director at MENU.
the Tea Room The family has now expanded with a high-back variant, in both sofa and chair form, with the option of a USB port and power outlet at its base. ‘The new high back responds to the need in these large spaces to create a more intimate shelter with furniture – it creates a room within a room,‘ said Kornbek Hansen. ‘Its sculptural aesthetic is ideal for workspaces trying to soften and become more welcoming, which is the trend of the moment.‘
The Tearoom High Back Lounge Chair, shown here with the Androgyne Side Table and Strandgade Stem Vase
Another challenge is that these hybrid spaces must be shared by all. Seats must therefore meet a wide range of needs, be accessible and comfortable for everyone. The menus Collection of Co chairsconceived by Normal Architects and Els Van Hoorebeeck, formerly of The Office Group, respond to this by adopting the “co” prefix that we have become accustomed to today, such as co-working and co-living, which means together, mutually and in common . It is a family of minimalist, multifunctional and customizable chairs designed to adapt to many types of indoor environments, from public to private, with the new launch Bar chairs Co and the Co counter chairs being ideal for restaurants and bars.
The Co counter chair, shown here with the Snaregade counter table, Curiosity cabinet and Hashira pendant group
With a wide backrest and a generous seat, resting on a slender but robust steel tube structure, the Co-chair the design combines minimalism and warmth to create the greatest possible appeal. ‘the Co-chair is both human-centric and practical for contractual standards of strength, durability and stackability. It taps into the need for eclectic, design-driven coworking communities, where no one should feel boxed in, and where they can be dynamic and free-flowing themselves.‘
‘If people don’t interact well with design, what’s it worth?‘ asks Kornbek Hansen. ‘Today, products can be designed so easily digitally as an aesthetic exercise rather than putting the human at the center of design success.‘ The menus ‘soft minimalism’, seen in the Tea Room and Co-chair collections, seeks to find a universal approach to today’s comfortable and convivial social space. ‘Feeling welcome and drawn to a space is a very subjective thing, but we want a design to be accessible to everyone.‘
Guest reporting by Harriet Thorpe / Architonic
simon keane-cowell I architonic
May 10, 2022