Since its opening, noma has been at the forefront of gastronomy and creativity. The award winning restaurant concept has been relocated and reenvisioned to a new site imagined as an intimate garden village, comprised of a series of separate yet connected buildings, each tailored to their specific needs and built of materials best suited for their functions. An official partner in the project was Dinesen, famed for sustainable wood and large custom installations. Thomas Dinesen is the head of a family business that is over 120 years old and shares the values and commitment to innovation that chef and owner of noma Rene Redzepi embodies, and from this the collaboration was born. Dinesen worked with architects Bjarke Ingels Group and interior architects Studio David Thulstrup to deliver a space that reflects noma’s values, philosophy, and vision for the future. The vision was to transform the natural tranquillity and balance of the forest into a harmonious feeling of well-being and ease. Dinesen floors are Nordic, minimalistic and understated. Dinesen products are used throughout the noma site and feature heavily in realizing the owner’s vision.
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Since its opening, noma has been at the forefront of gastronomy and creativity. The restaurant, four-times recognised as best in the world by the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants, last year closed its doors at the sixteenth-century harbour-side warehouse that had been its home for thirteen years. Now, and after more than three years of planning, noma has re-opened in a new space with wood from Dinesen as a consistent key element.
The trusted partnership between noma and Dinesen dates back to 2012, when Dinesen delivered the wooden floors for the renovation of noma’s original space at Strandgade. The relationship has since evolved and Dinesen has been made partner of noma 2.0, working with architects Bjarke Ingels Group and interior architects Studio David Thulstrup to deliver a space that reflects noma’s values, philosophy, and vision for the future. Consistent with noma’s own values, Dinesen takes pride in working with the best of what nature has to offer, with each tree carefully selected based on high-quality criteria.
Imagined as an intimate garden village, the new restaurant comprises a collection of separate yet connected buildings – a total of eight huts, each tailored to their specific needs and built of the finest materials best suited for their functions. To create a diversity through the different buildings, noma chose a combination of Dinesen HeartOak, Dinesen Oak and Dinesen Douglas.
“We are incredibly proud of our relationship with Dinesen, one that began many years ago at the old noma and continues here in our new home. Their approach to the nature’s materials is amazing, and it really makes me happy to have their wood around us and our guests.”
Q&A noma 2.0 - Thomas Dinesen
1. Please tell me the story of how your partnership with Noma originated?
Our HeartOak planks can be found in the old restaurant in Strandgade, so we have known the people behind noma for several years. That our cooperation with noma has now expanded to an official partnership is primarily because Dinesen like noma makes an effort to do better. That we are as passionate about the new noma as Rene and his team are. That we share the same values, pay attention to details and keep going until we reach our goal. And thenthe quality of Dinesen is a match to that of noma.
2. What was the idea behind your work at the restaurant?
Our task was first and foremost to transform the natural tranquillity and balance of the forest into a harmonious feeling of well-being and ease and bring that into the new noma. When that feeling is present,noma’s guests have the best preconditions to enjoy Rene Redzepi’s many surprises. In addition to that, we wanted to use both Dinesen Douglas and Dinesen Oak as these two amazing species each do something different.
3. What was the biggest challenge to overcome?
The biggest challenge was also our greatest joy: To work closely with creative and passionate people who understand the importance that lies in the details. Both Bjarke Ingels and Rene Redzepi are stars within their fields, and they have both set entirely new standards for creativity. When they work together, they create unique solutions, but the road to the finished result is not necessarily completely straight or quite easy. It takes a very particular level of cooperation and flexibility, and I think that we at Dinesen master that.
4. Please describe materials used including their point of origin. Any details about production, installation, craft and process would be much appreciate.
Dinesen sources 90% of our raw wood from Germany and France. In Germany, the term sustainability is rooted in their forestry and has been applied for more than 300 years. You cannot find any wood that is more sustainable than the wood Dinesen uses. We employ our own foresters who visit the forests every day. They find large, tall and chunky trees, and that gives us some fantastic possibilities. Dinesen is the place where the customers’ whishes meet what nature makes possible. It enables us to deliver planks that are up to 50 feet long and 20 inches wide. In noma, most of the floors are 18 inches wide.
Dinesen is a family business that is 120 years old. We know so much about selecting the wood and about the drying and manufacturing process. When we also know how to work with designers and architects, we are capable of creating completely unique solutions.For over 100 years, the trees have been tended by foresters with the greatest care and with the purpose of creating the best raw material as possible. Our relation to the owners of the forests in Germany and France is essential. In Germany, we work with a supplier whose family has owned the forest since 1600.
Our planks do something special when it comes to creating a sense of calmness and well-being in a room. That is one of the reasons why we have so many clients in metropolitan cities around the world. The more stress, the larger the need will be to retire to a home which fills you with new energy. In fact, we now have so many projects in New York that one of our most experienced employees will move there in the spring.
At Dinesen, we strive to succeed with our customers’ projects, and that is why we control the entire process from the forest to the finished project. Either alone or with partners. It is so important that everyone understands the great responsibility of making a real effort.We often compare the way in which Dinesen makes floors with the making of good food. We need to know where we find the best raw material which we need to store and handle correctly. We must have the right appliances and the good recipes. And especially, we need the skills and a passion to create the finest result. Every single time.
Every single part of the process is decisive, and nothing must be ruined by a lack of insight. At noma for example, it is our own floor fitters who have installed and finished the floors. We have delivered a large amount of wood in many dimensions in both Oak and Douglas. First and foremost, for flooring but also for walls, ceilings, columns, furniture and shelving units.
5. How long did the work take from start to finish?
At Dinesen, we have used nearly a year from when we started to find the trees to the finished solutions. It has really been a project with many details that are beyond standard.
6. Please tell me why it's important for you to be a part of this project?
First of all, it is an honour that Rene Redzepi recognizes the quality of our planks and that Dinesen has been a part of creating the atmosphere in the new restaurants. noma is fantastic in every possible way. I have been to noma a couple of times, and what surprises me, apart from the food of course, is the extraordinary kindness which everyone at noma shows. You feel very welcome. Our planks will do very well at noma.
Not many people realise what an enormous effort that is made every single day in a restaurant like noma. As a company owner it is incredibly inspiring. Everyone works really hard to make sure that the customers get the best possible experience. Always and without exception.
7. What kind of direction did you get from Rene Redzepi?
In cooperation with Bjarke Ingels and David Thulstrup, Rene Redzepi has come up with a design where they wanted to use both Dinesen Douglas and Dinesen Oak for to two different restaurants. We listened to their ideas and requests until we understood exactly what they wanted.
8. How do you feel seeing the final results?
Through the years, we have been spoiled with amazing projects all around the world, and we have worked with extremely talented architects and designers who have been demanding but who have striven for the best.
The new noma is no exception. To be honest, the process itself has not been easy, but in return, the result is fantastic. I am proud that Dinesen is an important part of the new noma and that we have succeeded in making the exact solutions which were the objective of Redzepi and the team.
9. Tell me about the history of your business and your own role in it.
Our family business is founded in 1898 and is now run by the fourth generation. We employ approx. 100 people at Dinesen, and though we primarily make floors, we also make various other details in wood which help create the best result when furnishing a room.
We commit ourselves to being the best possible business partner for architects, designers and private customers. Our floors are Nordic, minimalistic and a bit understated in their expression. They display a state of calmness and purity and they create a sense of well-being.
That is why the planks are used in private homes, galleries, museums, churches and restaurants. Places which offer quiet contemplation and the possibility to relax and relieve stress. Due to these qualities, we get around in a large part of the world.
Previously, we worked mostly with historic buildings like castles, manors and churches, and we have several royal palaces on our reference list.
I own the company with my family. I am educated in forest management, and therefore,it is of special interest to me that we always find the best suited raw material. But first and foremost, it is my job to ensure that we always make an extra effort at Dinesen. Out of respect for the raw wood and out of respect for our customers.