Before David Thulstrup began this most personal of projects, gut renovating a 1920s apartment to make a serene new home for himself and his partner, he got rid of virtually everything he owned. Furniture, artworks, rugs, books and all sorts of other accumulated possessions were disposed of so that the architect could start afresh. “We got rid of almost everything to come in here with a new slate and start out with the possibility of living super minimally without a lot of things. It was a test of sorts and also chance for me to live 100 per cent with my products, things that I have designed from the kitchen to the chairs, the sofa and tables. By doing that you find out what works and what doesn’t, so that’s a big part of this project.”
Thulstrup, the founder and creative director of Studio David Thulstrup, bought the 140 square meter fifth floor apartment in Amager in 2018. Typical of the workers’ apartments of that era and location it had a long dark corridor with many small rooms opening off it. The previous owner had lived there for 40 years so it was in a poor state. He reconfigured it, knocking down walls to create a line of sight down one bank of windows from the main bedroom to the living room on the northern side and combining two rooms to make a large open kitchen on the sunny southern aspect.
“I really saw a possibility to do something in terms of the way Martin and I wanted to live, we came from a big apartment in Østerbro with many small rooms, so we wanted something that was open that made us feel calm. This was a big exercise in considering, how do we live our life? As well as a desire for serenity we wanted to be social, to be connected with someone sitting at the dining table when we are cooking or even host guests in the kitchen, so the exercise was trying to create our dream scenario. Looking at it now it’s hard to imagine what it was like, with stucco everywhere. I took so much out. The wall to the kitchen is gone and I removed all extraneous details such as doorframes and plaster cornices to create a streamlined uncluttered space with matt white walls.” The original pine floors were retained complete with gaps between the planks and inserts where walls were removed. “I really love them because they give character to the space. If it had been all new beautiful big planks it would have looked out of context.”
After creating the line of sight down the windows Thulstrup’s masterstroke was to adjust the enclosures to accommodate floor length aluminum blinds. The play of light through the day is a constant source of inspiration. He installed Jasper Morrison’s Glo-Ball lights behind each blind to create another mood for the evening.“I love the view when you are standing in the bedroom and looking down and you see all those blinds. It feels so serene and it’s so bright because it was so much about getting light in here and then creating this soft light at nighttime.”
The project coincided with a commission from Danish company Reform to create a signature kitchen design. Thinking about his own needs had a big influence on Thulstrup’s final design, Plate, which combines brushed aluminum cabinet fronts with a polished steel counter top. “Working on the kitchen for this apartment meant a lot of decision making and refining of the design and I am so happy with the outcome. I think it looks super smart here with a strong sense of materiality combined with warmth and a handcrafted feel.”
In keeping with the streamlined minimalism, the hallway is lined with Plate cabinet fronts; some are facades while others house cupboards as well as a doorway to the back stairs. Central to the kitchen is a large island with a casual seating area at one end around which Thulstrup has placed chamois leather covered versions of his Font bar stools for Møbel. Demonstrating the versatility of the Font collection, Thulstrup has a set of Font dining chairs upholstered in a tobaccotoned Vidar woolen textile by Kvadrat and two of the Font lounge chairs in a curly Mocha sheepskin by Scandilock. They sit opposite one of his Mooner sofas for Common Seating covered in sheepskin.
Thulstrup’s most prized possession, a large collection of Hertha Bengtsson’s Blå Eld porcelain from the 1950s, inspired the dining table, which he hand sketched to emulate the shape of an ovoid plate. The table made in blackened steel sits on three tubular legs. Having moved from an attic apartment where he had painted the walls and ceilings a deep green, Thulstrup is excited at the soothing effect of the matt white walls in his new home. “I don’t usually go for white walls but I wanted something completely calm. I needed this moment of trying to see what happens if we keep things really minimal without a lot of material possessions and just have this bright space.”
His partner Martin, an artist, was involved in every decision and is more than happy with the result. “It is a home for two people. Martin doesn’t really care about material things. He loves this space and thinks it’s so beautiful with no clutter.”