Claus Ditlev has been collection director at Boconcept since 2000. His collections are inspired by Scandinavian style, designed in the Danish tradition, where functionality comes first. On the occasion of the brand’s 70th anniversary, he deciphers the anniversary collection.
In the furniture sector, Boconcept is today one of the most popular and widespread brands internationally. With a presence in 66 countries, the company accurately reflects the excellence of Danish and more broadly Scandinavian know-how, with a strong emphasis on the functionality of each of their products. Last September, Boconcept celebrated its 70th anniversary and presented a new collection, inspired by the new lifestyles after the health crisis, as Claus Ditlev could testify.
What is special about Danish design and especially about Boconcept?
To answer this question, I think you have to go back 70 years and look at the history of the brand. Boconcept is the story of two cabinetmaker friends who wanted to make furniture, but who had some difficulties at the beginning, because despite all their good will, it was very difficult to match the competitors of the time. So to stand out and attract customers, they decided to launch a range of furniture made in the Danish tradition with a dominant minimalist, Scandinavian and craftsmanship focus. They focused on what you see and the functionality of the furniture and less on what you don’t see and is therefore irrelevant. Today, Boconcept’s collections are inspired by both Scandinavian design and culture, but that doesn’t stop us from looking at what others are doing and being inspired in some way.
Claus Ditlev, Collection Manager at Boconcept since 2000
Chaise Princeton et table Madrid, collection Live Ekstraordinær, design Morten Georgsen © Boconcept
Precisely, because of this global presence, what difficulties can be encountered? What could be the specificities of the French market for example?
The French are a very particular population. We have to take into consideration the metropolitan aspect, since we have to adapt to interiors that are located in the heart of Paris, and in other large cities as well. Each person does not have the same space, so we must respond to the problem of adapting the furniture to all these spaces without losing their functionality. This raises a number of questions, such as how to ensure that a family can live together in the same space, even if it is small, while still maintaining its privacy. France has been our biggest market for years, and the capabilities we have in terms of interior design are very much appreciated by French customers. As a matter of fact, it was in Paris that we opened the first Boconcept store in 1993, which is no small feat!
Hauge dining table and chair, Live Ekstraordinær collection, design Henrik Petersen © Boconcept
And finally, more globally, the feedback we get from our customers and partners is that they appreciate that our products work in their interiors. Many take the time to give us feedback, which allows us to build a relationship of trust with our customers, who come back whenever they need something new.
How does collection development work?
We have a group of industrial designers who work both for us and for other brands and in different areas such as kitchen, architecture, accessories, lighting… Choosing them is quite difficult, because I find it complicated for a designer to assimilate all the things we want him to understand so that he can reproduce them in his creations. In terms of pure creation, we always start with the consumer to find out what the trends are, what their needs are, what new functionalities they are looking for to create our new designs and new furniture. From there, we establish a brief that we send to the designers and that contains all the data we deem necessary: the targets, the prices, the materials, the inspirational photos, where we want them to be designed, what styles we want to adopt. From there, we choose those who can meet these specific demands.
This anniversary collection was inspired by the new lifestyles since the health crisis, can you say a few words about it?
We focus on the creation of furniture pieces that allow us to create interiors in which people feel good. With the health crisis, we can all agree that lifestyles have changed, especially with the development of telecommuting, so it was necessary to readapt work spaces. For this collection in particular, in addition to the armchairs, sofas, coffee tables and other pieces we have proposed, we have imagined Asti, a work desk available in two versions and two colors. A model that is practical and whose design has been thought so that it can adapt to any room (bedroom, office room, living room…).
Also, for this collection, and for all the previous ones, we try to think the furniture so that it can match and adapt to all the other models of the collections previously released. A way to make the furniture last and to create a coherence and an always more qualitative rendering.
Kingdom desk, Live Ekstraordinær collection, design Morten Georgsen © Boconcept
Asti desk, Live Ekstraordinær collection, design Morten Georgsen © Boconcept