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In 2014, Knut Bendik Humlevik co-founded New Works and took on the role of creative director in addition to designing his own pieces that would contribute to the lifestyle collection they were building. We caught up with Knut to get a better picture of how New Works has changed in the past five years, their new showroom, and what it was like using Squarespace to get New Works’ site off the ground and running in a short amount of time while taking advantage of the gallery pages feature.
New Works is a Copenhagen-based lifestyle company that runs on the core values of respecting the natural materials they work with, experimenting with other artists and designers in their work, retaining the tactility of each piece, and hanging onto the craftsmanship of everything they create through the end of the process. Working together with a close group of international collaborators, New Works strives to create sculptural objects that have their own voice while also complementing one another.
We dug right into Knut’s mind, asking how New Works came into existence and how previous roles in his career led to opening his own agency.
“I studied at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen, but after receiving my bachelors I started to work for Hay – a small company then. At the same time, I also began to design furniture on the side with a colleague from Hay. After earning my masters in architecture, I also realized that I wanted to act on the feeling of success we had experienced from designing our own product designs.,” Knut shared.
He went on to say, “After a couple of years in the industry I met Nikolaj Meier, who I run the business with today, and we established New Works. I still design products, but I care much more for the identity and the journey of the brand, that is my design. I’m also privileged to work and brief designers I admire and help them to design at their very best for New Works.”
We’re always curious how different brands employ Squarespace to grow their brands, and whether the choose to use a pre-made template or work with a designer on customizing something specific.
“We decided to use Squarespace just weeks before our launch of New Works in 2015. For a long time we had a lot of conversations about how we should build our site, what it should be able to provide, etc. We quickly realized that this would take too much of our time and money at that stage. So when a graphical intern of ours presented me with Squarespace it was settled. We quickly arranged a front page – dark blue, almost black, with our newly taken images. Then we setup the collection overview within the shop setup because it was so convenient. That was a great bonus!,” Knut said.
Knut continued, “We used a pre-defined blog page as our journal for a while, but after some time we’ve changed to gallery pages for our front page, project page, etc. These allow for more freedom, and I’ve always liked the “empty” spaces they provide. The design is in the composition, like a blank page. We have always started with a template, and then customized it into our own – it has always been designed in-house by our Product Manager, Monique Consentino.”
New Works collaborates with so many phenomenal creatives from around the world, which made us curious as to how Knut and his team choose who to work with on each project.
“The story behind our projects are based on our four core values – natural, experimental, tactility, and craftsmanship. We seek the rawness in the material and try to match this with our fascination with sculptural forms. Our goal is, and has been from day one, to be a design and lifestyle company that presents a collection at the intersection between old and new, light and dark. Design and art!,” Knut explained.
That said he shared, “I’m not a person of fixed rhythm or routines. I believe in the romantic notion that’s driven by my admiration of design and creation – this is also how New Works has chosen their collaborations. We work with a wide range of designers, but also artists and craftsmen. Their work is again driven by different values, some think commercially while others act only on emotions. This is what makes our collection unique.”
Another Squarespace feature that many small business customers have come to rely on is the e-commerce setup that’s great for assisting in the growth of both their audience and their brand.
“The e-commerce feature from Squarespace simply helps us reach the world. It makes our collection available. The fact is that it also helps us look professional, and allows us to be able to focus on the product and appearance – because the customer will be sure to be off in the right direction with few clicks. This is an important part of our industry, because sometimes a collection can be featured on a level that’s out of reach and actually feel difficult to be a part of. This is not how we want our collection to be,” Knut shared.
Over the five years that New Works has been a company many things have changed, both in business as well as aesthetics. How did they adapt?
Knut’s insight says so much, “A lot has changed, but we’ve kept the same characteristics and values – inviting and intimate. We started out with a small collection of lighting and smaller objects that was presented in a gallery as sculptures. Always in a dark blue, almost black universe. The last years we have been seeking the warmer, but still deep, tones and have taken a more mature step in our desire of owning our own vision of what Nordic design can be today. Though we still have the sculptural forms and natural materials in focus. Today you find New Works presented as a residence, a complete collection from lounge furniture to artistic sculpture, that’s an invitation into our home.”
Knut says that he finds much of his inspiration in Nordic design, and we agree that it’s ripe with design options. But what else influences his vision and his aesthetic for the company?
“I would like to say that I find inspiration in everything other than Nordic design, but that’s not true. I’m drawn to the fine, the romantic, and the simple. I’m not a man to search out trends, but to highlight an inspiration. One influence that I’m fascinated by are Belgian interiors by Axel Vervoordt and Vincent Van Duyson,” he admitted.
New Works recently opened the doors to a new showroom – Our Copenhagen Home. Located in the center of Copenhagen at Frederiksstaden, between Store Kongensgade and the historic Marble Church, the space was designed in collaboration with Swedish Lotta Agaton Interiors. The historic location is perfect for providing the feel of a spacious and inviting home away from home, which has always been the end goal.
It’s fantastic to see such a solid company with such pure design intentions continue to grow and succeed. With the addition of the showroom, New Works now has a great handle on having a physical presence as well as an online presence through Squarespace.
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Photos by Brian Buchard.
Styling by Lotta Agaton Interiors.