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Denmark has a long and proud tradition of design, boasting several brands that are known and renowned worldwide. Yet although the country prides itself on being responsible for many distinguished classics, and despite many Danes having welcomed the likes of Bang & Olufsen, Louis Poulsen, and Børge Mogensen into their homes and places of work, there’s one area where Denmark has lagged behind somewhat – outdoor furniture.
Only a month ago, the clocks went forward and as a nation, Denmark rather symbolically rolled out the garden furniture for it to bask in the many hours of sunshine that the Danish spring graced us with. However, Ib Mogensen – CEO of out-sider, which develops furniture for urban spaces – says that it’s time for us to go beyond the garden and out into the public urban realm:
“One of the best things about going on holiday, especially in Southern Europe, is the atmosphere and buzz of life that comes about when we sit down somewhere and enjoy ourselves,” says Ib, who goes on to question: “In Denmark, we often want to create spaces where people can sit, and so we go and buy a few benches. If we want children and the population more generally to be active, we build a playground or a fitness area. But why not combine the two? Why not develop furniture that invites people to get healthy and spend time together, and that provides a space where we can interact and meet with each other in the real world?”
out-sider specialises in developing sustainable and maintenance-free outdoor furniture with a twist. The furniture typically has multiple functions and inbuilt technology.
out-sider on trend outside Denmark
Years ago, Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs named the company as “Born Global”. This, Ib believes, is rather apt for a Danish company with a global outlook:
“From the very outset, we had an international perspective in everything from our products to our marketing and branding. Although it’s more difficult to do business outside Denmark due to having to attend various trade shows, go through agents, dealers, and distributors, and jump through many hoops which can lead to misunderstandings, it just makes sense for us. Denmark accounts for just 30 per cent of our sales, while a total of 20 countries account for the remaining 70 per cent. Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the UK are key markets for us. The UK is the latest string to our bow, and our expectations are high. When the significance of the product for the consumer takes precedence over price, then Brexit doesn’t pose as big of an issue.”
out-sider was founded in 2007 and enjoyed sales of around DKK 0.5 million in its first year. Last year, that figure rose to almost DKK 20 million. The company has supplied activity zones and seating sculptures to Harvard University, benches to London Zoo, and illuminated activity benches to the Rio Olympics.
The company 'out-sider' was established in 2007 as a challenge to the traditional urban furniture market in Scandinavia. out-sider is headed by Ib Mogensen, majority shareholder, managing director and the creative brain behind the company.
The goal of out-sider was to invent new design icons for the outdoor space, and after only a few years of existence, we succeeded in delivering on promise with the LOOP family. 'Rethink Urban Space' is our mission statement, and we aim to excite and challenge with new and surprising urban equipment – we dare and we can.
Today out-sider has an international profile, based in Denmark with distributors worldwide.