Lars Noah Balderskilde has plenty to celebrate this month. It's the six month anniversary of opening Lanoba, his successful shop specializing in Danish Mid-Century Modern furniture.
The recent New York transplant had been living abroad but moved to the city to start a new adventure. Lars followed his passion for design by bringing authentic Danish goods—particularly Mid-Century style to America. After all, Denmark is one of the spots where the movement really hit its peak.
Lars travels back and forth to Denmark, shipping crates full of chairs, desks and dressers home to New York, where he restores them by hand. He takes pleasure in preserving the history and giving a new life to the furniture.
"As a Dane, it's a responsibility for me to save these pieces of history. They may have wrinkles and scars even after restoring them but we all do after 60 years. It's part of the story."
How did your business begin?
I have grown up with this all my life, it is a passion, and I felt that the story was missing. Most of our pieces have the history of the designer but also where we get the product from. We don't go through dealers in Denmark, we knock on doors and find product. We know the families that have had the furniture for generations – the first wedding gifts they got in the 1950´s and 1960´s to start their life or when they bought their first homes. But also the home refurbishment projects that went wrong or the dreams people are trying to realize when they sell it, like saving for a last plane ticket to travel the world or start their own new business.
With such a strong focus on Danish Modern and Mid-Century Modern furniture, how do you source your inventory?
My entire inventory is imported directly from Denmark. I travel back to my homeland a few times a year to curate a collection of products. I attend village markets, auctions and talk to friends and family across the country to select the best crafted product. We try to make our product accessible to everyone so while we have iconic designers such as Hans Wegner and Kai Kristiansen, we also have traditional, quality mid-range Danish design.
It sounds like you carry a range of names. What are your favorite designers?
I have grown up around a holy design trinity: Borge Morgensen, Hans Wegner and Arne Jacobsen. Their influence is amazing on global design but I also have a special affinity for Grethe Jalk, Finn Juhl, Borge Mogensen and most things coming from the house of Fredericia Furniture which is down the street from where I grew up.
What do people come to Lanoba to buy? What's the shop's bread and butter?
In reality, people come to Lanoba for authenticity, history and quality. When people want to have a true Danish or Mid-Century Modern piece, we can talk to them about the history of it, the design, the maintenance and the journey.
In terms of product, we have a wide selection of tables, desks, dressers, credenzas and chairs. Many people are looking for quality and how to use their space efficiency in urban apartments. These products have lasted for 60 years and definitely will last another 60 years and even if your space or style changes, they retain their value. We find our customers are as original as our products themselves, so we there is no one product we have focused on.