Even as a young boy, NOFU designer Bertil Stam's desire to create ran deep. As an only child, he kept himself entertained on his family farm by designing things that helped him stay occupied . Since then, the young Dane's drive to create has flourished, seeing him become head designer for the rapidly expanding furniture brand, NOFU.
Here, we talk to Stam about his passion for Scandinavian design and the ethos behind his timeless, beautiful and functional furniture.
Despite his early childhood interest in making things from scratch, it wasn't until his early 20s that Stam realised it would be more than just a hobby, but his lifelong profession. And it was his upbringing around sturdy, durable Danish furniture which helped to shape his passion for creating pieces that are at once beautiful and long-lasting.
"I grew up with simple oak furniture being used everyday, and it's still standing, even now. Furniture like this doesn't fit into the 'use once and throw out' category - it is pure quality that will last for generations.
"Quality Scandinavian furniture design epitomises this. It will last for generations both in build quality and design style."
After acquiring a Masters of Industrial Design from the Danish Arkitekt School, Stam relocated for a job based in Vietnam, where he spent 14 years "deeply involved in the manufacturing of the items he designed". It was this experience that allowed Stam to grow and shape the NOFU brand upon returning to Denmark with his wife and two children.
"We bought a small plot of land and built a beautiful house on it, which then needed furniture. That's when I decided to design my own, as buying furniture from recognised brands in Denmark is very expensive.
"I knew that I would be able to to create the same or even better quality furniture for a much lower price, and by designing it myself I had the freedom to create the pieces I really wanted. That's how NOFU was born."
With a strong love of Scandinavian design, Stam's pieces are filled with exquisite details that serve both a functional and aesthetic purpose. This is an ethos that truly defines the brand and can be seen within all the pieces throughout the collection.
"Scandinavian design, like the NOFU brand, is decorative in the home setting and can bare to be used. The pieces are not "Art", as art to me is a unique single expression, which is not to be produced in quantities, and thus not used by many," he says.
"I want NOFU to be used, hopefully one day, by millions of people. That's why we emphasise comfort and functionality in our beautiful furniture, because each piece was designed to be used in everyday life."
When observing NOFU's designs, the superior craftsmanship and attention to detail is apparent in every smooth surface and carefully hand-carved curve. With each piece formed from solid ash wood and finished with PU varnish, this is furniture that was made to stand the test of time, so it can be passed on form generation to generation.
Stam struggles to decide his favourite pieces, but eventually decides upon the 737 dining chair, which sits around his dining table, and the 654 Clothes Rack.
"That one is in our bedroom and my wife has stolen all the space on it to display her nicest clothes", he says.
So, what's next for this quickly growing Danish brand? It's only onwards and upwards from here, with new designs currently in the works.
"Next in line is a rocking chair," Stam says, "I can't wait to have one for myself!"
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