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[DesignApplause ] We are in the Menu booth at Ambiente talking to CEO Peter Midgaard.
[Peter Midtgaard] I’ve been involved with menu for almost seven years. I’ve been in this business typolgy before and I’ve always liked design, and seven-plus years ago I was looking for a new business opportunity and found Menu to be interesting and bought a part of the shares and ever since have been working as CEO for the company. Menu is basically a family business created and established by Bjarne Hansen’s father Simon Hansen and was called Danish Steel House and produced most of its products in stainless steel. His son Bjarne changed it into a design company with it’s own designers and other designers and has become Menu’s brand image. Menu’s success has soared with this strategy.
[DA] How old is Menu? When did it become design-driven?
[PM] About 33 years old and about 1988 or so. It was quite a coincidence. I don’t know if you remember PETER MENTIONS A VERY FAMOUS MENU PRODUCT AND SAID THAT WAS THE START OF THE MENU DESIGN ERA.
[DA] Are you in the commercial sector in this typology?
[PM] We are moving into it. Not so deep as of yet but we will go deep in contract.
[DA] Why do you wish to go there?
[PM] We are seeing things develop in different ways. If you look at the design business and you look at the mainstream business it’s about price competition and we don’t want to participate in that business model. If we can get into the contract business we can actually go into projects that are expanding us further. We wish to move away from the mainstream part of the business. One of the things that’s helped us is contract.
[DA] Where are your big customers?
[PM] The US is our fourth biggest country and it’s growing very fast. Of the big countries the US is growing the fastest. The biggest country is Denmark but it’s only 30% of our market. We have Germany and Norway and the US.
[DA] Your not a designer but you appreciate and understand design. Do you study trends and are your products timeless?
[PM] Oh, we’re a design company for sure but what we really try to achieve is the common trends. Sometimes we are part of the trend but when we try and do something we don’t look at the trends. We actually try and anticipate what things are going to be like one-and-a-half to two years from now. We would really like to start a trend.
[DA] How many products do you have and what categories do they fall in?
[PM] We have around 400 products which include new products and classic products that have been very successful the past 10-15 years. We have our own categories. One of which we call ‘cozy’ AND AN EXAMPLE WOULD BE… Another category is called ‘ideas’ and that could a candelabra, a stand-alone kind of product that’s difficult to put into families. The ‘ideas’ category is our edgiest you might say. Let me show you an example. Here are candlestick holders that are concrete. It’s seven kilos (15.5 lbs) for the big one. Bjarke Ingels designed the pieces. It’s a very good example of ‘ideas’. Let’s go down here. Here is a series called ‘Pots’ by Benjamin Hubert. The series is for the kitchen and it’s new for Ambiente. And it’s not for the mainstream market.