In the workshop of… Cecilie Manz, beauty in essence

In the workshop of… Cecilie Manz, beauty in essence
In the workshop of… Cecilie Manz, beauty in essence

In the heart of Copenhagen, in a small post-war yellow brick building, adjoining the 17th century Rosenborg Castlee century, Danish designer Cecilie Manz has a discreet studio, just like her. It is made up of three small adjoining studios, each open to the street, one of which serves as a technical drawing and prototyping workshop, the second as a reception area and showroom, and the third as an office, where she receives us.

“To go from one to the other, you put your nose outside, even in the middle of winter, which is healthy, isn’t it? This is where I draw. Everything at home begins with drawing. So this long table is cut in two, with one half for the computer and the other for paper. [des mètres de papier sont à disposition sur un large dévidoir]because I don’t want the activities to interfere”explains this sketching enthusiast “freewheeling”.

With this method from another time, Cecilie Manz, 52, has forged her success. In addition to having already entered the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Danish Design Museum in Copenhagen, she has won a host of awards, including the Finn Juhl Architecture Prize in 2007 and a culture prize awarded by the Danish princely couple in 2014. She was even made a Knight of Arts and Letters in Paris in 2019.

Cecilie Manz, in her studio, in Copenhagen, June 18, 2024. SIMON KNUDSEN FOR “THE WORLD”

In February, at the second edition of the Scandinavian Design Awards, she was voted designer of the year – after having been so in France in 2018. “With a keen eye for materials, details, form and function, Cecilie Manz has proven time and again that she is a creator of modern classics. »argued the Scandinavian jury. Before continuing: “His creations often appear simple, but beneath their surface lie complex engineering and meticulous craftsmanship.”

Cecilie Manz started out on tiptoe. She spent her childhood in the Odsherred region – a land of inspiration for Danish painters since the 19th century.e century –, playing with his hands in the clay, in the workshop of his parents, ceramicists. Some of their works brighten up his office: here, against a wall, bas-reliefs by his father who has now passed away, and there, on a chair, a fine porcelain with geometric decorations by his mother, Bodil Manz, whose exhibition is scheduled in Paris, from October 9 to 23, at the Toluca gallery.

Towel ladder

Cecilie Manz was destined for a career as an artist. She applied to the prestigious Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. And, encouraged by a close friend, she also submitted – without conviction – an application to the Danish School of Design. “I became a designer by chance, because, to my great disappointment, I was not admitted to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. It was probably for the best.”she confides.

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