Online | Interiors

Connecting Threads

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen rug brand Linie Design's two-level flagship showroom by Norm Architects unfolds like a story, with a recurring material palette as the link that holds it together

Rug showrooms tend to follow a standard design: a handful hung on the walls in all their glory, and then a few stacks of product that can be peeled back to reveal rug after rug – the easiest way to pack the most into the given space. For Danish brand Linie Design’s Copenhagen showroom, Norm Architects has rethought this tired archetype, presenting them “in a way that does them justice as the art pieces they are,” according to architect and partner Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. “The challenge was partly to create a space where we could show the vast numbers of products in a way that was still elegant and high-end.”

The two-storey space (once home to the first showroom of Danish silversmith Georg Jensen) has a quite different character on each of its floors, so the interior architecture acts like an unfolding story. At ground level, the protected heritage building’s classical features have been enhanced, with stucco ceilings and gilding that lend a contrasting opulence with Norm’s warm minimalism.

The practice commissioned bespoke seating in limestone and brushed aluminium, and rugs are displayed either side of large wedge-shaped stands, which can be moved around to create a flexible open plan or more cellular-feeling space. The whole thing feels more gallery-like rather than a traditional showroom, which was exactly the plan, so that each rug is elevated to the status of a work of art.

The stands were partly a practical measure: “We could not touch the historic walls of the space due to the protections,” explains Bjerre-Poulsen. He retained the existing colour scheme of whites and greys with gold accents, “to keep the space neutral as the perfect backdrop for the rugs,” but the walls have been painted with St Leo’s marble paint, whose finish is more like that of a highly matte plaster. The floors are in oak, their herringbone pattern supersized in wide planks to create a feeling of generosity.

The store needed to work as a sort of material library, where architects, interior designers and customers could come and work with the rugs, samples and other things for their projects

Downstairs, the windowless basement area was more of a challenge and, devoid of period features, it has a more contemporary look. The lack of daylight is tackled via a long back-lit translucent wall held on timber battens (for which traditional Japanese screens were no doubt the inspiration), gently filtering light and creating a calm, inviting atmosphere.

While upstairs is intended as a gallery space to admire the rugs, downstairs is more aimed at work, with a communal table spanning the length of the room, and sample racks: “the store needed to work as a sort of material library where architects, interior designers and customers could come and work with the rugs, samples and other things for their projects,” says Bjerre-Poulsen.

The material palette of limestone and aluminium seen upstairs is repeated on the lower floor, with an aluminium kitchen backed by a heavily textured limestone wall, raked with light from above to emphasise its rocky peaks. Single rugs are raised up on similarly rough limestone plinths, like an offering.

Linie Design was born in 1980, and its founders were inspired by the idea that they could harness the talents of Indian artisans to create rugs with a more Danish design aesthetic rather than traditional patterns. Displayed around the showroom are the objects that help to create Linie’s rugs: “They are mostly hand-knotted, using shuttles, spinners, dyers, trimmers, and carvers, which makes them into unique artworks,” says Bjerre-Poulsen. “The rugs are handmade, using centuries-old techniques, and we thought it could be nice to tell this story in a new way, displaying all the tools as objects in the store.” Norm Architects own explorations into materials in the showroom are the perfect complement to the rugs’ materials – wool, linen, silk and cotton – and in a way, invite architects and designers to make their own explorations into the beautiful products on offer.