Henrik Pedersen, designer of the Imola chair, on the advice he’d give his younger self

Almost 30 years since Henrik Pedersen graduated with a degree in fashion design, the fruit of that education has reached homes all around the world – albeit through beautiful armchairs and side tables rather than pantsuits and scarves.

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Henrik Pedersen

It’s how one uses their education and experience that makes a difference, Pedersen likes to say. “Good common sense and passion for your craft” are what will take a designer far in their career – and his is a living example.

At the helm of Aarhus-based design studio 365° north, Pedersen is designing furniture and lighting for homes both in Denmark and worldwide, while also working with renowned Danish brand BoConcept.

See more: The 6 most iconic pieces by Denmark’s leading furniture line

This year, in fact, Pedersen has had the honour of celebrating 10 years of the iconic Imola chair, one of his first designs as well as his first for the brand, which today remains one of their top sellers.

 

“It was a good starting point, since BoConcept adopted the product as an icon for them,” says Pedersen. “So they have it some extra attention, both in the development process and also the subsequent marketing and publicity.”

Looking back to his days as a designer getting his start – fresh from an undergraduate programme in fashion design – what are some words of advice he’d give his younger self?

The Imola chair

“It’s down to a few simple things, and then you just have to find the right balance among these factors,” he prefaces.

“Be original and innovative,” he says.

“Be true to yourself – but also have a commercial angle in mind without compromising yourself,” he continues. “In the end, someone has to buy the products.”

And finally: “Work hard, and be dedicated and enthusiastic about what you do.”

The Aarhus chair designed by Henrik Pedersen

Doubtless hard work and dedication factor in when you’re working with furniture – where the challenges are great, but so are the rewards. “That’s generally the case when working on designs where big moulds are involved,” he explains. “Like the Adelaide (chair) for BoConcept, where we have three moulds for the seat combinations. There’s a certain finality to it, since the moulds are very expensive, to the point where once you set the process in motion there’s no turning back.”

See more: 5 creatives share the design influences that changed their careers

“So you try to have full focus on every detail in advance. But as 3D printing becomes more and more available, it’s helpful now that you can try, feel and sit in the product before starting the real production.”

The Adelaide chair

A decade since the Imola chair – its success serving as one of the major breakthroughs in Pedersen’s career – the Danish designer continues to bring functional elegance to homes around the world with his furniture.

“It’s both my profession and my hobby,” says Pedersen. “I work way too much, but I just really like working with design in any form and category.”

Take cues from Henrik Pedersen and produce an original design to mark a milestone in your career. Enter the BoConcept Awards by submitting your creative vision for the interiors of a 600sqft apartment (living, dining and bedrooms only) outfitted exclusively with BoConcept furniture. Visit this post for more details and submission guidelines. 

Photos courtesy of BoConcept