Inside Cecilie Bahnsen’s new headquarters in Copenhagen
Danish fashion designer Cecilie Bahnsen on moving her brand’s headquarters to a spacious new home in Østerbro, Copenhagen, and the renovation that provided a bright creative space for her entire team
Cecilie Bahnsen marks a new chapter for her independent brand as she moves her headquarters to a sprawling new home in Copenhagen. The newly renovated industrial site will function as her workshop, office and private meeting space, supporting the upward trajectory of her line of feminine silhouettes in technical fabrics.
Spread over two floors, the 1,200 m² space was designed by creative agency Moon, architectural firm Stamuli and Bahnsen herself. Bahnsen hired Moon from her very first show to find “the right places and the right spaces with the right atmosphere to tell the story of the brand and the collection.” It only made sense that they would do the same for our new home,” says Bahnsen. Stamuli – who has completed stores for Alexander Wang, Ganni, Rains and Acne, and is known for creating generally understated environments but coming up with color – was enlisted on Moon’s recommendation. “It was really a very easy process to work with them,” says Bahnsen.
A new home for Cecilie Bahnsen
A mirrored glass meeting room in the studio space
Exposed concrete and white walls allow the hyper-femininity and softness of Bahnsen’s clothes to remain the center of attention. One challenge was to make the large, light and airy space functional. “It had to function like an everyday studio, with storage and everything you need in a studio,” she says. A mirrored glass box was inserted in the middle of the space to provide a meeting room, while becoming almost invisible: the mirrored surface allows Bahnsen to see the samples from all angles during fittings. “It’s a nice feature that we use every day and shows a balance between aesthetics and functionality,” she says.
The open layout encourages collaboration between departments, which Bahnsen is keen to maintain as the business grows. Still, it’s not all work — she prioritized a space where her team could meet for lunch. “We are 27 people now; the team has grown a bit. It’s nice for people to have time to meet and talk about their daily lives. Everything is linked. To turn all the “wheels” of this company, we must know each other. During the summer months, the courtyard garden will act as an extension of this ‘break-out’ space. “It’s a good thing to make the team feel at home,” adds Bahnsen.
A glass vase by Nina Nørgaard
Bahnsen stumbled upon the “raw and untouched” space while filming her Spring/Summer 2020 collection campaign. “I remember dreaming that it could be an amazing office space,” she says. It was only later, 18 months ago, that she started looking seriously for new offices and discovered that the buildings in downtown Copenhagen were too small for her expanding team. “I really wanted everyone to be together, so the team could see what everyone was working on,” she says. She began looking for larger industrial spaces further afield. “A colleague sent me a photo of this space and I really felt like it was meant to be our home.”
Although Bahnsen has a dedicated office, she spends 90% of her time in the workshop on the top floor, browsing the patronage tables where design and development and seamstresses work. “That’s my favorite part,” she says. “It’s nice to have your own space and be able to have a conversation like we’re having right now, but really, it’s the space with the team and the collection that inspires me.
The creative district of Østerbro
“We are in a very creative field; we have studios next to us, architects’ offices, a few artists, etc. she says of her new address at Vermundsgade 38C – close enough to home that she can walk or cycle to work. “It’s an inspiring place to be a part of,” she says of the Østerbro neighborhood where the property is located. His new HQ is in the same neighborhood as his previous studio, though worlds separate them, as his old HQ in Kristianiagade was located in a basement, albeit with high ceilings and close to the sea.
A design collaboration
Magniberg Polished Stainless Steel Chair and Side Table
Bahnsen enlisted friends and collaborators to help find and make furniture, lighting and table pieces: “things I love by people I love working with, with Scandinavian design” , she says. The colored glasses and vases are made by glassblower Nina Nørgaard, who has already collaborated with Bahnsen on several store concepts: “Her color world complements our colors. Studio X designed the desk tables in soft yellow and steel that raise and lower, which “add a warm yet super modern touch.” Geometric chair and sleek stainless steel side tables by Magniberg, curvilinear sofas by Paustian and diverted Artek stools from previous runways provide seating.
Inspired by architecture
Natural light floods the upper level, furnished with Paustian’s curvilinear sofa
She has already noticed how architecture and interiors can inspire new ways of working and enable changes in creative output. The abundance of daylight not only boosts morale, but allows the team to focus closely on detailed sewing and drawing work. “Often we don’t turn on the lights and only work in natural light, it’s really beautiful. You can really see the textiles and textures that are so important to me. With the creative process and also the mood, it was really interesting to see how daylight inspires him. Interestingly, the studio’s playlist – curated by one of its design team members – also changed: “It really sets the tone for something new.”
The spirit of open doors
Unlike the secrecy that shrouds much of the fashion world before collections are released, during Copenhagen Fashion Week Bahnsen opened the doors to the press and buyers, inviting them to see what the team is working on for the next fashion show in Paris. “It’s in seven weeks,” she shares. ‘It’s a wonderful time: you’re working on something you haven’t quite cracked yet and it was very special to be able to talk about the sketches, how things evolve from 2D to 3D, beadwork, how different elements come to life. Now we have room to do it. §
Common space for the team was a priority