Carl Hansen & Søn


Q&A: Harmony & Tactility – Naja Utzon Popov for Carl Hansen & Søn

To mark the release of her second series of rug designs for Carl Hansen & Søn, Danish artist Naja Utzon Popov talks to us about her inspiration and influences.

Q&A: Harmony & Tactility – Naja Utzon Popov for Carl Hansen & Søn

Carl Hansen & Søn is delighted to introduce the second series of rugs by Danish artist Naja Utzon Popov for Carl Hansen & Søn. Inspired by nature and fine materials, the new Botanica and Oceania designs complement the textures and organic colours of our most iconic pieces of furniture.

Your first collection for Carl Hansen & Søn, Woodlines, was a reflection on the natural characteristics and textures of wood. What was your inspiration for the new Botanica and Oceania designs? 

I was hugely inspired by a trip to Japan - especially for Botanica. The incredible surroundings inspired a design loosely based on a leaf motif - not necessarily a particular plant but rather a nod to the natural surroundings of Japan as a whole. Oceania is a study of surfaces: when you fly over the Australian desert you look down and see these amazing cracked surfaces where lakes and streams have dried up - ground that was once below the sea. It inspired the abstract lines of the Oceania design.

You were brought up surrounded by family talent in both art and design. How do you combine both disciplines in your own work?

My approach, and the way I work, is very similar for both disciplines. I use clay as a large surface, onto which I can imprint various patterns and turn into large columns. The rugs are essentially just a different type of surface to decorate. The imprint of the design on the rug is carved in, in a similar way to a sculpture. It adds the illusion of a three-dimensional element that gives depth and detail to the pattern. 

The iconic Danish designers such as Hans J. Wegner championed natural materials and explored many ways of enhancing their beauty and character. How does nature come into your own work?

Nature is an endless source of inspiration. A source of wonder. Even the seemingly simple or unobtrusive elements can have so many layers of detail; for example a nudibranch (type of fish) or a rock formation, or the surface of a leaf. When you take time to look closely, more and more patterns, shapes and colours seem to present themselves. What's incredible is that this inspiration is so readily and easily available: I just have to open my eyes and look.

How does your own environment and the places you've travelled to affect your work and inspirations? Do you have a favourite place to work or think?

I travel a lot and have family all over the world, so it's less of a geographical location and more of a mental place where I feel balanced: any place where my family is. I do love visiting new countries or places where there is perhaps unusual locations or nature - something I haven't experienced before.

What is your favourite piece (or pieces) by Carl Hansen & Søn?

I think my two favourite pieces are Wegner's Shell Chair and the newly released Poul Kjærholm chair [the PK1]. The Shell Chair is like a standalone sculpture in its own right - its so beautiful to look at the angles. The Poul Kjærholm chair just speaks to me - I want to sit on it straightaway - I think it's something about the combination of materials without constraint: I think it is so simple and beautiful. 

Read more about Naja Utzon Popov.

User login

Enter username and password

The entered username or password is not correct.