35-Into the Rose-Garden

Rosewood Bookends by Kai Kristiansen



一些經典的丹麥家具,像是Louis Poulsen設計的PH系列吊燈,於今天依然神奇地在很多平常居所的飯廳半空中柔和地亮著,使我意識到自二十世紀中期起丹麥房子的面貌原來沒甚麼大變化,也許是電器設備先進了,其餘的幾乎原封不動,燈具可以一直用,椅子可以一直坐。這些不依靠科技生產的物件,反而不需要擔心技術規格過時而遭淘汰,總覺是比科技更有智慧。


The subtle creaking of solid wood floor, carpeted floor and chairs, the combination of coffee table and armchair, a living space dotted by ad hoc candles – these are but some of the comfort objects that characterise the cozy interior of Danish houses. One dreams of spending each evening on the couch, sipping spirits, and reading in content.

It’s extraordinary how classic Danish furniture like Louis Poulsen’s PH pendent light is still seen in today’s ordinary dining rooms. One wonders how little Danish interiors have changed since mid-20th century, save for electrical appliances’ advancement. Everything else – lights and chairs – seems suspended in time, its intelligence unswayed by the flux of technology.

Pioneering modernism, Bauhaus has, since the second world war, expanded modern design from the Americas to Europe and from architecture to furniture. It signifies man’s effort to forge new paths toward clarity, logic and beauty amid chaos and destruction. The zeitgeist eventually reached Denmark, where the passion for function was met with the warmth of elegance representative of the Scandinavian style.


在芸芸丹麥的設計師中,Kai Kristiansen是少數從50年代開始不間斷投入創作到廿一世紀的一位。他師從丹麥現代家具設計第一人Kaare Klint,喜歡以柚木和紅木這些溫潤素材來創作椅子、書桌和櫃子,其聲名也許不如其他耳熟能詳的大師般響亮,但不張揚的作品造型反而呈現出更貼近平民使用的樸素狀態,是在家居長久使用的理想選擇。

Kai Kristiansen is one of the few Danish designers whose practice persisted from the 50’s through the 21st century. He apprenticed under the highly influential designer Kaare Klint. In true Danish modern fashion, Kristiansen favoured well-joined teak and rosewood, evident equally in his chairs, desks, and sideboards. Modest among Denmark’s design greats, Kristiansen’s designs reflect the minimalism and focus of the Scandinavian home – as beautiful and timeless as they are comfortable.


在1957年,比Dieter Rams於1960年設計經典的「606置物架系統」(606 Universal Shelving System)更早三年,Kai Kristiansen於1957年設計了一套異曲同工的置物架系統(俗稱FM-Reolsystem),兩者分別是Dieter Rams的設計一貫冷峻乾淨得很近乎蒼白,Kai Kristiansen的則運用木材調和了現代洗練和古典雅致,架與櫃的組合更多元化,整體散發著濃濃的適舒暖意。

In 1957, three years before Dieter Rams’ iconic 606 Universal Shelving System, Kristiansen debuted a similar FM-Reolsystem. In stark contrast to Rams’ pristine and reductionist modular wall unit, the FM-Reolsystem finished in highly grained teak and rosewood – and came in a variety of add-on shapes and sizes.


不過,沉迷丹麥家具可是非常危險的事情,一不小心便一發不可收拾,因此我還是勸告自己,與其擁有一套FM-Reolsystem置物架,有一個由Kai Kristiansen設計的書擋也於願足矣,它分明是放在FM-Reolsystem架子上的不二之選。一塊金屬板,連接一塊紅木板,便聰明地組成一個書擋,看似普通不過,但當我把心愛的書一本一本置於兩個書擋中間,我看到的是一層書架,一個慵懶寫意的午後,一個一去不復返的美好年代。

Obsessing about Danish furniture can be a dangerous affair. I cautioned myself: rather than the FM-Reolsystem, I’d be content just with Kristiansen’s bookends. They clearly belong to the FM-Reolsystem: a metal plate attached to a rosewood plank, cleverly fashioning a bookend. Seemingly minimal, what I see is a lazy afternoon lost in a row of books: all time is eternally present; all time is unredeemable.