Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Denmark's designer chair culture

I didn't really discover the finer nuances of Scandinavian culture till my late thirties. I had my preconceived notions of course but it wasn't till I had family there and therefore entered their houses that I started to observe all the things that stand out as different.

One of the main things that strikes a foreigner in Denmark is seating. Scotland, on the whole, for all of my childhood was mainly a three piece suite kind of country. Later people got daring and bought two couches occasionally or even a corner couch but that was about as exotic as it got. Denmark is full of very minimalist seating. Armchairs are tall, short, oddly shaped and elegant but often, in my humble, foreign opinion, rather uncomfortable! :-) Houses I've been in have an odd assortment of these (extremely) expensive curvy seats.

I've been watching Borgen a lot recently. I started to notice something else that struck me as very foreign. Although I often work for Danish companies, I work remotely, so am not actually in their offices. I started to notice that every time Torben calls a meeting with his staff, which isn't terribly different from a publishing office in the UK, they all start to discuss everything on the agenda, standing around a tall table, with no seats a bit like they were in a German sausage bar! Furthermore, when we see scenes from Katrine's TV news programme in the first series or those from Juul og Friis in the second, the panel are always standing rather than sitting.

Now, it struck me, that that would be quite daunting for me, were I to be living in Denmark. You see, from my experience of travelling around Copenhagen, I would potentially be dwarfed by all my workmates. I would certainly find it intimidating to try commanding a team from a foot below it!

So is everyone in Denmark the same height? And why aren't they using all their fancy seats? Are they perhaps merely ornamental? ;-)

If I do ever get invited over for a meeting, I might just take my IKEA BEKVÄM with me, in case I need it to stand on!

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