Michael Dansk, who runs a Copenhagen-based creative studio, puts his faith in art when creating a home that feels personal. After winning the Most Visual Influencer prize in the FDS Influencer Awards, Dansk told Design Stories about his relationship with art, vintage design and colours that add the ideal finishing touch.
Greetings to Copenhagen and congratulations on your win, Michael! What was your initial reaction upon hearing the news?
“Greetings back to you, too! To be honest, it was quite a big surprise. Being nominated among many very cool and inspiring people, I figured there was no real chance of winning. Obviously, I feel very honored that the jury noticed my work amongst the many entries.”
What do you spend your time on when you’re not delighting the design community with visual storytelling on Instagram?
“I run a small creative studio in Copenhagen, guiding a number of Danish and international design companies within communication – in a way, my job is to tell stories in both words and visuals. Besides this, I tend to constantly have a bunch of personal projects going on. I recently designed my first own piece of furniture, a showcase shelf crafted from massive oak, and in just a short while, I am launching a new art gallery concept with a close friend of mine.”
Art and design intertwine beautifully in your home. What is your relationship to art, and how did it develop? Where do you find artwork?
“I am fascinated by art and have been ever since I was a kid, when my grandparents would take me to some of the best modern art museums across Europe. To me, art has the possibility to open doors to something entirely unique, as it activates thoughts and feelings that differ from person to person. I feel that my own collection of artwork truly defines my home and adds something that feels very personal to me.
I am very interested in contemporary art, which I find in many different places. There are several great galleries in Copenhagen, so you will most likely meet me in the weekends browsing new exhibitions. I try to follow the art school shows as well, as there are so many young artists who have an amazing point of view. Besides that, I am constantly browsing online auctions for interesting art, along with design. Instagram is another great way to discover new artists.”
“I feel that my own collection of artwork truly defines my home and adds something that feels very personal to me.”
Vintage designs seem to play an important role in your interiors. What meaning do you attribute to pre-owned items? Do you have a particular favourite?
“Design that has been pre-owned and still functions well after decades of use usually does so because its quality and craftsmanship is eminent. In my opinion, a lot of materials simply look better with age – signs of life and use on leather or wood create a calmness and ease that really resonates with me. With that said, I do like to mix newer designs with vintage pieces to form a balance in energy and expression.
My favourite vintage designs are inherited pieces. My grandfather, who used to be an architect, worked for Knoll International in the 60s. He had amazing taste in furniture and today, I am lucky to own vintage Bertoia chairs, a wooden sideboard and other pieces that I really treasure: in part because of the great design, and partly because of the family history they represent.”
Is there a specific design treasure or artwork you intend to spend the prize sum on?
“Actually, yes. I put the money towards a drawing made by Danish artist Tal R. During the pandemic, I have saved some money and now bought a work titled Man Before Disco, which seemed quite funny, as no one has been able to go to a party in over a year.”
Your recently renovated home includes a myriad of joyful, vibrant colours. What guides you in choosing and pairing tones?
“I have worked a lot with colours, simply because I feel they have the possibility to enhance the mood of any space immensely. My colour selection was very personal and took quite a lot of time, as colour is very dependent on other elements, such as light, furniture and art. In short, the basic concept was to work with neutral colours on all walls and add some bright colours to the ceilings instead. This draws the eye upwards and results in rather light and airy rooms.
Sticking to one brand is a massive advantage when working with colours, as that usually adds some cohesion to the finished look. Other than that, I use my intuition when choosing colours. The trick is to give it time and to be a little daring, without trying to follow a bunch of trends. To me, there are no colours that I would never include, as the choice of colour palette always depends on the space or room, but I tend to naturally go for tones that are a little dusty.”
If you could dine with any designer, architect or artist, who would it be?
“I am a massive fan of the Bauhaus movement of the 1920s, so I would probably choose Parisian designer Charlotte Perriand, who worked at the studio of the famous architect Le Corbusier. An evening of design chats and stories about Paris in the 20s would be truly amazing.”
What are your plans for the future, in terms of your Instagram account?
“I don’t have a very specific strategy to be honest. My aim is to stay true to my aesthetic and only engage in projects and collaborations that feel natural and interesting to me. Obviously, I am very excited for each and every person who follows along, and hope the profile will continue to grow steadily over time.”
Text: Eero Nurmi Images: Michael Dansk