Building Denmark’s Design Identity, One Sale at a Time

The Crafts Collection promotes Danish designers who might otherwise get overshadowed. Their new wares include brilliant stacking mugs and gorgeous bikes.


American designers can only envy the support that Europeans give to their homegrown talent. And we’re not talking about bloated “Design Ministries” that hoover up tax dollars. One great example is Crafts Collection, a venture sponsored by the Danish Ministry of Culture. The program offers the economies of scale–in marketing, trade-show representation, and contacts–which otherwise might elude boutique designers, no matter how great their products. (If you’re curious about what’s wrong with American design, the difficulty of being a young designer is a good place to start.) But with the Crafts Collection, what grabs your attention is how thoughtfully the collection is curated. Here’s a selection of their newest offerings–the 13th collection produced by Crafts Collection.


The Danes have a bike culture that makes Austin and Portland look quaint, and they make beautiful bikes with abandon. One such craft master is Mikael
Pedersen, who designed this bike based on a dusty concept from 1893. The design was basically forgotten until 1978, when Jesper Sølling, a blacksmith based in Copenhagen’s hippy enclave Christiania, set up a workshop to start making the bikes again. You’ll notice that the bike has bike skinny wheels for moving fast, but an extremely upright sitting position, perfect for city riding. Oh, and also: It’s beautiful.

Jesper Sølling

The appeal of the Stack It! cups, according to young designer Jacob Skov, is that they take on a life of their own when stacked, thanks to myriad ways they can fit together:

Jacob Skov

Helgo, comprised of designers Anne Heinsvig and Christian Uldall, intend for the Astack candleholders to have basically the same appeal of toy blocks, which can be stacked and broken down at your whim:

Anne Heinsvig and Christian Uldall


Details win everytime in design. Søren Ulrik Petersen and Claus Mølgaard designed their Swingtime seat to be held in place by a rope that curls like a pig’s tail, thanks to a hidden steel insert:

Søren Ulrik Petersen and Claus Mølgaard

Jonas Klein’s Flux light is a sculpture and a chandelier, made of 136 laser-cut metal pieces that are then hand assembled. The ingenious part is that the fins are oriented to maximize the light that’s cast, while never giving a direct (and blinding) view of the bare bulbs:

Jonas Klein

[Hat Top to @designunseen]

About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.