Danish trendspotter and design consultant Nina Bruun
Danish Nina Bruun is based in Copenhagen where she works as a freelance consultant, helping brands through trend forecasting to connect with consumers via visual storytelling and design. She has a remarkable understanding of colours and the design industry.
Nina holds a Master’s degree in Furniture and Spatial Design from The Royal Danish Academy of Design and is now an industry professional niching on the Nordic design scene and has been featured in many acclaimed magazines like Wallpaper, Le Figaro, Herald Tribune and Design Milk. She’s also received the Red Dot Design Award for her skilful work as a designer, and has work accepted in the permanent collection at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Copenhagen, but when I was about four my family moved a bit north of Copenhagen to the house where I grew up.
Can you give us some of your background story as a designer?
Well, I started at the Royal Danish Academy of Design in 2006 and finished five and a half years later with a Master’s degree in Product - and Interior designs.
Simultaneously I worked as a graphic artist at the oldest newspaper in Denmark, Berlingske Tidende and ran my own business on the side, where I primarily did graphic work. Looking back now, it was quite a lot I had going on, but I’ve always been like that!
During my studies I did this project, my Nest Chair, that won a Swedish competition. From there on the chair got its own life online. After a while I was contacted by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York who wanted to request the chair for both their permanent - and a rotating exhibition. That really kick-started things for me as a designer, and I still find it unbelievable that my chair is exhibited at that museum.
Then, I actually continued running my own business for about a year after finishing my education - right until Muuto called and offered me a job that I simply couldn’t turn down. I started out by doing a lot of graphical work and interior designing, but I ended up being responsible for colours, trends, textiles and design management etc.
Even though I loved my job Muuto, I started to feel the need for change. Something had to happen, you know? I had so many ideas and this urge to try new stuff, so I made the decision to start my own business again. And here we are!
How does your average Monday-Friday look like?
That’s actually a difficult question. In my business there is no average Monday-Friday - not two days are the same. These days I travel about once a week, which takes up a lot of time. Fortunately I have a great team, so going through projects with them is the only regular routine I have at the moment. When I’m not travelling, my days are spent at my studio and office. That’s where I can get creative and immerse myself in projects. To some extent most of my days consist of working with colours, styling, designs and having meetings - and maybe too many of them. I definitely need extra hours!
Can you tell us about your job as a trendspotter?
Traditionally you turn to the fashion industry to predict the next big trend, but my approach is to seek inspiration everywhere I go. No matter where I am and what I’m looking at, I get inspired for future trends. In the end I think it’s a question of observation, investigation and just following your instincts!
As a trendspotter it’s really important to be able to tune in on the clients. I work with a lot of different clients, which means a lot of opinions. It’s my job as a designer to match their needs with the right trend, as not every trend goes with every client or project.
Where do you find your inspiration?
From everywhere! Whether it’s fashion, art, photography, a car parked against coloured wall or a shade of green seen in the woods, I get inspired. Meeting new people is also a huge inspiration to me, but admitted, I would love to travel even more, as all new impressions and places always inspire me in my work!
What makes Danish design unique?
In Denmark we work in extension of this fantastic design - and architectural heritage. Great export goods have been characteristics for Denmark for many years. Something what makes it special is the fact, that we have a very minimalistic design approach - it's all about the right shape and the good materials. These factors combined equals very long lasting products and brand value!
What colours do you prefer to work with?
Actually, the fun part for me is to work with the entire scale. The interesting is how I prefer to work with colours. As a designer I always try to create a colour scheme where every single colour can be used crosswise. To me, the most prestigious part is creating a scheme that’s balanced and functioning.
Do you have any favourite Danish designers/brands?
There are so many great Danish designers, brands and stores. I don’t even know where to begin! But I really enjoy the work of artist Bodil Manz. She makes beautiful ceramics. Kvadrat, the textile manufacturer, is also a personal favourite of mine, and finally I’ll highlight Cinnober, a bookshop in the centre of Copenhagen. This shop has a great selection of international and visually inspiring books about design, fashion and architecture etc. Besides the books you’ll find a handpicked selection of paper products and design.
What has been the most favourite job you've been assigned to?
This job! Having my own business is the best thing I’ve assigned myself!
How do you enjoy spending your weekends?
I think it depends on the day. I work a lot, but I try to spend my weekends with my family and friends. We do different things like going to exhibitions or art museums, going for long walks or cook together. I love to cook! When I really need to relax and have some me-time, I spend time on my balcony. Being out there gives me this soothing calmness, which is much needed when having a job, where I’m always on the go.
Can you give us any local recommendations?
There are so many great places in Copenhagen!
For eating, people should definitely try Restaurant 20a on Ravnsborggade, Nørrebro. It’s kind of my second home. Both the food and atmosphere is amazing. Then I would highly recommend Restaurant MES as well. It’s located in Copenhagen, and here you’ll get honest, simple and affordable luxury. If people want to try a nice café, they should go to Sonny Cph as well. It’s a nice place with great food and coffees!
There are also quite a few design related places to recommend.
First, go to Etage Project. It’s a Copenhagen-based art and design gallery that specializes in a cross-aesthetic method. Then pay The Last Resort Gallery by Peter Amby a visit. This is an interesting and inspiring gallery, with an underlying idea that art means more than the genre the artists have chosen to express themselves through. Third, people should see Davids Samling. It’s an art museum in Copenhagen which houses art and crafts from Europe in the 17th century, Danish Golden Age and recent Danish art, and art from the Islamic world from the 19th century. Last but not least the Botanical Garden is always worth the visit! Especially the greenhouses are incredible.
Where is your favourite Nordic destination?
I’m going with Stockholm, Sweden for this one. It’s a beautiful and lovely city!