BoConcept's Latest Collection

by Kate Burt in News & Noteworthy

We sneak a look at BoConcept’s newly refurbed Tottenham Court Road store.

During the London Design Festival, Danish design emporium BoConcept threw a little party for designers and architects. As well as tapping into the general vibe of design love floating around the capital during the festival, the brand was also celebrating its sixtieth anniversary, the launch of the new-season products, and the refurbishment of its Tottenham Court Road branch.

I didn’t know much about the history behind the Danish brand, known for its sleek, minimal style. And the first surprise, reflected in the branch refurb, is that it’s far less minimal than you might expect if you’re not a regular customer. The new-look interior feels warm and elegantly cosy, and I can hardly tear myself away from the accessories display (more of which shortly). It’s more about simplicity – the core of all great design.

And finding out the back-story makes sense of that. As manager Hana Taylor recounts in her little speech on the night, BoConcept began as “a tiny company” in 1952 when two enterprising cabinet makers, Jens Ærthøj and Tage Mølholm, began making oak veneer and walnut cabinets. Their aim was to produce good, honest, useful – and affordable – furniture.

Fittingly, the new collection  has a distinctly 1950s theme running through it. I loved the side table cum magazine rack, £349 , a simple sheet of walnut veneer with organic moulded curves and a tulip-shaped base. The very mid-century petrol blue sofa, £2314, is also rather sexy. But the accessories are spectacular, Stand-outs, for me, are the wall hooks, £19, beautiful wood combined with a 50s palette, the retro-looking Flower tray, £59,  a kaleidescope of purples and blues, the colourful naïve wooden bird ornaments, £29 and the sweet wooden townhouses, from £12.

Last year, for the first time, Bo Concept also invited external designers to collaborate with them – and, this season, the Karim Rashid range has expanded to include a full range rather than just one-off pieces. His Ottowa collection, with its elegant, branch-like legs, reflects the collision of Rashid’s Canadian heritage and BoConcept’s organic Scandi roots.

I also didn’t realise quite how much BoConcept had grown: there are now 260 stores nationwide. Interestingly, they are all franchises, often run by design lovers who first discovered the brand as customers – which means bags of in-store expertise, as well as a culture that’s more boutique shop than big, faceless brand. It helps that staff are trained at ‘BoConcept University’ – where, among other things, snootiness is banished. Team members are also trained to provide the in-house interior design service, which includes a home visit, mood-board and 3-D room drawings, along with all the expertise and advice.

If you’re in London, do go and check out the Tottenham Court Road branch – especially if you can make it before October 7. You’ll get to see the striking giant mural on the wall at the entrance. The illustrated montage of classic BoConcept pieces from over the years was specially commissioned from the Danish artist, Wendy Plovmand to celebrate the brand’s heritage.

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