Impressions of Chase & Sorensen

Courtesy of Chase & Sorensen

Danish design for the people, at Chase and Sorensen

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Danish design for the people, at Chase and Sorensen

You shouldn’t need a big fat wallet to put a classic piece of Danish furniture in your home, says Signe Sørensen, who runs the furniture and homeware shop Chase & Sorensen in Hackney with American partner Brent Chase. They aim to make good design affordable. 

In this video, Signe talks about the shop and their philosophy

Danish design is for the People, says Signe Sørensen from The Herrings Tale on Vimeo.

Say Danish design, and most people would probably think: hefty price tag.

Not so at Chase & Sorensen, a hyggelig haven of a shop just a few minutes’ wander from Hackney Central. While this is dangerously close to East London’s »Hipster Central«, the shop is on a mission to offer, in its own words:

»a sensible alternative to the prohibitively expensive vintage furniture stores dotted across London as well as the low-quality, flat-packed, identikit furniture retailers«

In other words: Hans Wegner meets IKEA.

Chase & Sorensen is short for Brent Chase and Signe Sørensen, the American-Danish business partners behind the shop, who offer vintage furniture made in the golden era of Scandinavian design, from the 1940s to the 1970s, as well as new items that share the same philosophy.

This is not furniture with a designer name attached to it, nor has it normally come through dealers who need a cut. Chase and Sørensen bring over their own stock from Denmark, and most of the furniture are pieces that would have been found in most Danish homes of that period. If you are old enough, you will remember it, and it is furniture that was built to last.

»It’s a little bit Socialist,« says Signe Sørensen, who came to London some 13 years ago to study fashion design, a profession that is now more of a part-time occupation. These days, the shop takes up most of her time, including time spent in the back restoring furniture.

»I worked with construction in design as well, and I’m a pattern cutter. Putting together a piece of clothing and the pieces of a chair or dining table is really not that different.«

She feels there is a lot to be learned from how things are put together, and from keeping things as simple as possible. That is where a lot of design ends up going in the wrong direction, she says, and it is a big part of why classic Scandinavian design is now so popular. It is not overcomplicated or overdesigned.

»It’s the same as in clothing, people want to make it »designed«, and that’s where you then often go wrong, because you add on things and embellish the furniture or the clothing instead of designing it. To keep things simple is a lot harder than to add more things, to stop yourself and say, it works, why change it?«

»That’s exactly the same with Danish furniture. It’s super simple. There’s no fuss.«

Like Chase & Sorensen.

Read more on their website here



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Northern Poetry: Nancy Campbell on long Greenlandic words


Hear artist and writer Nancy Campbell read from her work and talk about drawing inspiration from remote places and the importance of learning long Greenlandic words.

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Nancy Campbell’s art explores the North Atlantic

There is a strong sense of a North Atlantic connection running through the work of British writer and artist Nancy Campbell, who often explores how remote communities live with their environment, from the Scottish borders through Denmark to Iceland and the farthest reaches of Greenland. We are united by water and what it contains, she says. 

Nancy Campbell in Iceland 2015. Photo by Bjorn Valdimarsson

Nancy Campbell in Iceland 2015. Photo by Bjorn Valdimarsson


»I am a poet. I am writing about Aua, the 

night hunter

who is bound to the water, as I am 

bound to him by hunger.

I hear him pass my door, destined for the harbour.«


These lines are the last in »The Night Hunter«, a poem weaving like a song through repeated lines and words to tell its tale. Like many that appear in »Disko Bay«, a recent collection of the work of Nancy Campbell, it bears a Greenlandic title alongside its English one:

»Nakuarsuuvoq«, almost inviting us to taste the unfamiliar tones of a language that seems to be, in its very nature, embedded with tales of its own.

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Snaps + Rye: Danish food goes local at London eatery

Danish-English husband-and-wife team Kell and Jacqueline Skött are happy to fight off both the purists and the classicists at their Danish restaurant Snaps + Rye in Ladbroke Grove, West London. They inhabit a space that lies somewhere between Copenhagen and Cornwall.

Hemmed in by the roar of the Westway and the tall bare modernism of Trellick Tower, Golborne Road in Ladbroke Grove is a slice of London multiculturalism that has not yet been overtaken by the trendification of other parts of Notting Hill.

In a way it has its own kind of logic to find a Danish restaurant that is not too fussy about rigid traditions nestled in amongst an every-day type of world tour of different national cuisines that seems to fill the surrounding streets.

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Slideshow from video installation The Invisible Voice


Danish video art: Julie Born Schwartz explores the secret world of theatre

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Danish video art: Julie Born Schwartz explores the secret world of theatre

The Invisible Voice, an intriguing video installation by UK-trained Danish artist Julie Born Schwartz, was inspired by conversations with theatre prompters and a life-long fascination with the theatre form. The installation was shown recently at London’s Union Pacific Gallery.

A spotlight breaks the darkness and glides across an empty auditorium. A peak across a silent stage, a fragment of the front curtain. The rustle of a manuscript, a glimpse of costumes and props.

The eye of the camera moves through fleeting, fading, half obscured images of a seemingly secret world where people are hinted at but never seen. Only a solitary pair of hands glide across lines of dialogue on a sheet of script. A voice floats in from the left, another from the right, telling stories. A warm, excited laughter hangs in the air then dissolves while the screen goes briefly dark. We watch, we listen, we wait.

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Follow the money: Sigrun Davidsdottir talks about financial crime

In this audio clip, London-based Icelandic journalist and writer Sigrun Davidsdottir, who lived in Denmark for a number of years, talks about Danish TV thriller »Follow the money« and real-life financial crime.

Sigrun Davidsdottir has written and broadcast widely about Iceland’s financial meltdown which also spread its ripples to Denmark as it did to the UK and other countries.

You can read her blog, Icelog, at or follow her on

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Danish TV series »Follow the Money« gives financial crime the »Borgen« treatment

How do you turn the complicated details of financial crime into thrilling television? The scriptwriter who made Danish politics look sexy in »Borgen« has repeated the trick with »Follow the Money«, a 10-part series airing on BBC4 this spring.


It starts with a dead Ukrainian, fished out of the cold waters in the Port of Copenhagen. A good crime drama usually starts with a dead body.

Add in a rogue cop with an inclination to bend the rules and a few troubles on the home front, and you might think you were watching another season of »The Killing« or »The Bridge«.

Even the atmospheric cinematography points in that direction. But this is no ordinary crime series. It is not even a whodunnit or much less a howdunnit. For in the murky waters of financial crime, the far more important questions are: how many did it and do they get away with it?

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Follow the Money: a piktochart guide to Danish fraud

Some famous financial-crime cases that were part of the inspiration for new Danish thriller series “Follow the Money”, airing on BBC4 from 19 March.


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