CasaShop offers a heart-warming universe of top-brand designs for your home and office. We speak to the founder about his Copenhagen design hive.
By Theresa Valbæk
We’re seated at a raw-cut long table amongst original stone-crafted bowls. Each armchair and lamp in CasaShop in downtown Copenhagen offers unique, classic appeal with a playful note. And, as CasaShop’s owner Torsten Dam says, this is an all-range store with something for everyone – from an exclusive sofa to an inexpensive yet unique pepper mill.
“We have many high-end items but we put an effort into cultivating a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. There’s room for everyone – those who are out to spend and those who are just looking for something manageable,” he says.
Taste for international design
Torsten Dam graduated in biology and medicine and has lived in the USA and Barcelona. He speaks fluent Spanish. When he opened CasaShop he was very much inspired by the mid-1980s design wave from Barcelona.
“I really like Spanish and Italian design, it’s often wilder than what we’re used to in Denmark. So we’re constantly trying to influence the Danes. You could say we’re trying to offer a tailored concentration of international trends that Danes appreciate.”
CasaShop, located at 2 Store Regnegade, celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2009 and the brands featured at the store include Fritz Hansen, Minotti, Gervasoni, Foscarini, Agape and Flexform.
“What we try and show our clients is that everything doesn’t need to come from the same designer,” Torsten Dam says with a smile.
“Many people think they’re supposed to have single-designer homes. But that’s far from the case. I would never dream of putting people down for buying IKEA furniture. It’s more about mixing and matching in the right way. It’s fun and gives your home a sense of personality.”
Core to the CasaShop portfolio is Flexform with high-end furniture collections by top Italian designer Antonio Citterio (born 1950). According to Torsten Dam, Citterio’s quality collections are resolved, timeless and original.
Antonio Citterio graduated from Politecnico di Milano in 1972 and has been awarded a number of prestigious accolades, including the coveted Italian industrial design prize, “Compasso d’oro” Compasso d’Oro* in 1987 and 1995. His products are featured at the MoMA in New York – and at CasaShop.
The in-demand deluxe kitchen design company bulthaup is another of Torsten Dam’s favourites. He’s even dedicated a store to the brand, called bulthaup CasaStudio, which is located at 14 Gammel Mønt – only 100 meters from CasaShop.
Both of the stores reflect Torsten Dam’s personal style. Each bookcase, stool and coat hook is carefully selected and can also be found in his Copenhagen apartment and home on the island of Funen.
“We tried buying a load of cobalt blue things in the 1980s when that was in vogue. But now we’re no longer jumping on the bandwagon. It doesn’t sell anyway. So now we stick to the things we like personally,” he says.
Many have attempted to copy the CasaShop concept and its original playful style, which although familiar to regulars nonetheless always provokes a smile. But Torsten Dam welcomes the competition.
“That’s fine. I view it as a compliment. We’re being copied because we’re a success. If we weren’t no one would bother. But we can’t rest on our laurels. We need to be upfront.”
Torsten Dam sees it as a great privilege to work with furniture design and feels his business has found its niche.
“We don’t want to grow any bigger. We’ve realised that we are a niche business. That’s why we can stand tall amidst the financial crisis.”
The CasaGroup, which comprises all Torsten Dam’s activities, employs a full-time staff of twelve. Apart from CasaShop and bulthaup CasaStudio, he also runs the e-shop CasaShopping.dk and the wholesale store CasaLab.