Interview on September 12, 2012

Hello Simon! How are you?

Hello Finnish Design Shop! I am doing good, thanks for asking.


We have heard that you graduated this summer. Congratulations! 

Yes, that is correct, I did my master's degree project this summer at the The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts – The School of Design. The product I did is still in development, but hopefully it will be revealed in the near future. 


Sumo pouf for Normann Copenhagen, 2012

It's amazing that you have four designs in production and you have just graduated. How did this happen?

There is no secret, just a lot of hard work.

How did you start working with Normann Copenhagen? 

I started working with them about 2 years ago. I showed some projects I had done, which they liked. Sumo pouf was my very first design in production.

Sketches for Sumo pouf


How would you describe the process of working with Normann Copenhagen? 

It's a close collaboration where I don't have to sacrifice anything from my original design. When I begin to design a product I often have a few ideas about colours and names. And these are often the ones we end up choosing. Having a good dialog with the manufacturer is something that I value highly. It helps me to get close to different production technics which can optimize the process a lot.


Could you tell a bit more about every new product, Onkel, Block and Toj.

Onkel is a sofa that is classic and modern at the same time, with upholstery techniques from the past and shapes from the present. The idea was to bring some attention to the history and craftsmanship of upholstered furniture by using techniques that are a bit uncommon for the 21st century. Onkel presents them in a modern way. Both Block table and Toj clothes rack are simple in their expression and therefore it is the user that adds the final expression to the design by taking them into use. When you hang clothes on Toj or place items on Block you find that the expression will change depending on the objects you add.


Onkel sofa for Normann Copenhagen, 2012

Why do you think Denmark is boosting so many great design companies?

Denmark has a long history when it comes to furniture design, so I think it's only natural that you see a lot of new companies passing on the culture. That's also something you see for example in Italy and Great Britain.


When did you realize you wanted to be a designer?

I always thought that I was going to work in the advertising business, but when I was about 14 years old, I analyzed an advertisement for a design chair and that was my first meeting with the term "design". After high school I studied at Krabbesholm Højskole, where I took a semester in art, and afterwards product design. This was where I realized that objects are something that I want to spend my time creating.


A school project called Friends, 2010

How would you describe your style?

Honest with nordic simplicity.


What is your favourite material to work with?

Wood is probably my favourite. It has endless possibilities and it comes in so many shapes and textures. And it has that unique live-like feeling. 


Simon Legald graduated this summer.

What does your home look like?

It's medium-sized and organized, with various things from the past and present. Most of the furniture I made myself during my time at the design school.


What are your hobbies?

I'm a bit of a bike collector, they are such nice simple machines. I collect British bikes from the 30's to 50's, there is something fascinating about this period. The craftsmanship is unique in many ways and you will find many wonderful solutions and details in the bike industry, especially after the World War II. 


Toj clothes rack for Normann Copenhagen, 2012

Finally, please give a TOP 3 on best things to do in Copenhagen.

1: Normann Copenhagen Flagship Store (Østerbrogade 70). It is a wonderful store that used to be an old cinema in 1926, so the architecture inside is quite unusual for a store. Plus it is 1700 m2 filled with design.

2: Frederiksberg Palace. It was built as a new summer residence by King Frederik IV (1671-1730). It is now a romantic landscaped garden with lakes and canals. The best place to be on a sunny day. 

3: Finn Juhl's house. (Kratvænget 15 in Charlottenlund, north of Copenhagen) The architect's own house was built in 1942. It's a bit outside of the center of Copenhagen but worth a visit.

Text: Mikko Vaija