Anders Byriel: Kvadrat Goes American
Danish textile brand Kvadrat entered the North American market, TLmag sat down with Anders Byriel (CEO Kvadrat) to talk about these developments.
Danish textile brand Kvadrat kicked-off 2021 by entering the North American market independently. The brand, established in Denmark in 1968, has deep roots in Scandinavia’s world-famous design tradition, Kvadrat has evolved into a global industry leader by pushing the aesthetic, technical, and functional boundaries in commercial and residential textile design. Kvadrat has opened its first US office and showroom in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is set to open showrooms in Los Angeles and New York later this year. TLmag sat down with Anders Byriel (CEO Kvadrat) to talk about these thrilling developments.
TLmag: Kvadrat, established in 1968, has firm roots in Danish design quality, what prompted the move to move its entirety to the US?
Anders Byriel (A.B.): Kvadrat collections have been available in the states for 18 years, previously through Maharam. But we are thrilled to now offer our complete portfolio of products and services directly to American clients. While we have many existing relationships within the US architecture and design community, we are excited to pursue new collaborative opportunities, to service our existing clients with our own sales force and distribution structure, and to reach new audiences through physical spaces in which the brand can be experienced.
TLmag: How are you making sure the brand will remain its Danish identity?
A.B.: Kvadrat is from Denmark and Scandinavia which primarily shows in our company culture and how we collaborate. We are trying to be egalitarian and transparent. In terms of creative content we are foremost an international company with collaboration at its core, we are excited to share this with the architecture and design community in the United States. The flagship showrooms will be a place where architects and commercial clients can meet, and a platform for workshops where private consumers can discover and experience Kvadrat. These spaces will be designed by some of our longstanding collaborators, Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec and Jonathan Olivares.
We have assembled a strong and trusted sales force for the contract, industry, and residential clients, including some longstanding Kvadrat team members, which will be based throughout the United States.
TLmag: Could you reflect on the design of one location? One of the flagships New York and Los Angeles or the office and showroom in Grand Rapids, Michigan?
A.B.: Grand Rapids is now home to our full-service hub, including warehousing, sample fulfillment, customer service, and finance, flagship showrooms in New York and Los Angeles will open later this year. Grand Rapids is of course also home to a number of major players in the contract furniture industry, including some of our fantastic clients, so it felt like a natural place to launch our North American operation, followed by showrooms on each coast.
The showroom in Los Angeles has been designed by Paris-based Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec Studio. Erwan Bouroullec has created a two-story house within the structure, made from Douglas fir wood, textile, and glass, reminiscent of pioneer homes. Shelves and hanging elements, specifically designed by Bouroullec Studio for Kvadrat have been reimagined and carefully crafted from aluminum. To celebrate this milestone, Erwan Bouroullec has developed a custom-made textile using knitting techniques and advanced computer software to dictate the pattern and depth of the design.
The New York flagship showroom, designed by California-based industrial designer Jonathan Olivares, will be a workshop and gallery to discover and experience Kvadrat textiles. Set across two floors, space is carefully designed to curate Kvadrat’s product portfolios, cultural engagements, and collaborators. Filled with light, it will feature a second-floor catwalk that wraps around its perimeter.
Cover image: Anders Byriel Sitting, photography by Jan Søndergaard