By Sille Ugelvig
In a beautiful pastel room I am to meet up with handsome British designer Paul Smith. He strides into the &Tradition room in a perfectly fitted suit, with a big smile, for good reason. Once again he’s opening a store in Denmark, this time in the center of Copenhagen.
“The initial idea was to have the city store and the airport store open at the same time. But the location in the city didn’t happen immediately.”
A delay entirely familiar to Copenhagen locals who have ever dealt with real-estate. And for Paul Smith one that has been entirely worth it. His new shop, inspired by the chromatic art of Poul Gernes, is located on Christians IX’s Gade 2, and will light up with a bright mix of both creators’ visions.
“Louisiana had an exhibition of his work in 2016, and I was asked to write the preface to the catalogue. Which was quite interesting for me, because I hadn’t noticed the similarities between me and Gernes in, for example, the colour choices and mixes.”
The two strike different aesthetic keys in their visions, yet seem to be in the same universe of colour. Smith, who opened his first store in Denmark at Copenhagen Airport, seems more enthused about Danish design traditions than contemporary flourishes.
“Denmark and Copenhagen have an enormous tradition of design, such as Arne Jakobsen, Poul Kjærholm and all the young creatives that are here now. So it seems like a natural place to be and I’ve always loved to visit the city.”
The atmosphere of the store will be relaxed, very different from the department stores with more than 50 brands on their hangers, or gigantic flagship stores for that matter:
“I call my shops neighbourhood shops. It’s a humbler shop and not like the huge, impressive designer stores. Which I think is correct for me and the brand”
Paul Smith is an individually owned company, an ownership structure noticeable when visiting the shops.
“A lot of what I do is just instinct from the heart and not from the wallet”.
Paul Smith isn’t a regular businessman, but someone with his heart in the right place and exhibiting rather modest expectations:
“We are expecting a nice relationship with our Danish friends and clients”
The store will be open from 10 am to 6 pm every day, but don’t hesitate to go window-shopping at nighttime, when you will be able to see a series of animated projections and a light installation.