Founded in 2017 by Bo Raahauge and Nicholai Wiig-Hansen, the Danish design firm Raawii has quickly established itself as a leading exponent of dynamic life design, creating well-proportioned products, producing with respect for people and society, and providing optimal conditions for the designers, artists and collaborators. And throughout its various expressions, Raawii continues to give voice to a timeless design with refined, interesting proportions and colours.
“We enjoy working with like-minded spirits — people who are passionate about their work,” Bo Raahauge and Nicholai Wiig-Hansen explain on the Raawii website. “Our goal is to facilitate quality. That’s why our door is always open, also because it’s important for us to keep curiosity alive; the curiosity to meet new people, engage in an interaction and create something new together.”
As Raawii continues to expand across the United States, all the while excelling in its expressions of simplicity through color and form, its creations are increasingly winning praise among design experts and collectors. Denmark In New York caught up with Bo Raahauge and Nicholai Wiig-Hansen to dive into the brand’s ethos and explore how Raawii transforms design products into art.
Denmark In New York: Tell us a little bit about Raawi: how it was founded, the philosophy behind your work, and the secret behind it’s unusual name.
Bo Raahauge and Nicholai Wiig-Hansen: At Raawii, we tackle each project with the hope of being able to transmit good taste from a Raawii perspective.
That means making products that have longevity and that would not just be the ‘it’ item right now. It means making great design for reasonable prices. It also means having respect for the people we work with and for our production processes. And it means valuing the impact of our efforts in striving to be the best, not the biggest, company.
The name Raawii is a combination of the two last names of the company’s founders. And the company itself works to uphold the founders’ values, their aspiration for a certain design cool, and a dedication to the brand’s origin story, steeped in simplicity and respect for beauty.
What influences your design style and what are your aesthetic goals?
BR and NW-H: We are a design firm that aims to bring beautiful artifacts into the world and we aspire to BIG design. It is extremely important for us to be able to express ourselves in through our creations and create things that last an expression of our values.
At the same time, we aim to create significant design in collaboration with great creatives worldwide. Being able to work with new talent was clearly part of our vision from day one and we’re thrilled that we can continue to produce wonderful design with some of the most creative and fascinating artists from around the world, including Michael Kvium and Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye.
How does your Danishness influence the way you work and the way you create?
BR and NW-H: For us, there is nothing more Danish then our seasons and the way nature shows itself through a very Nordic coloring and lighting.
In addition, the way we live through the different seasons, moving from an indoor, hyggelig lifestyle in the winter to an outdoor existence in warmer months really permits us to embrace Denmark’s socio-cultural versatility. And, of course, this all impacts our aesthetic and work ethic.
How has Raawii been confronting the COVID-19 crisis?
BR and NW-H: We have been blessed by having an overall great year despite the tragedy of this global pandemic and its consequent economic aftereffects. In fact, we have been able to grow our overall turnover, develop partnerships with great online stores and brick-and-mortar establishments alike. Although the COVID crisis slowed our growth in the US a bit, we have been able to turn our attention to Europe and develop our presence there instead. In other words, we have been forced to rethink how we operate our business and prioritize what is important.
Raawii has begun a series of fascinating collaborations with internationally acclaimed artists. Tell us a little bit about what has driven these collaborations.
BR and NW-H: By having the right foundational ethics as a company and as a people we have, through our design concepts, been able to attract and develop interesting collaborations with some of the world’s leading artists. But that’s also because we work from a set of criteria that prioritizes transparency and positivity. This, in turn, has helped us spread our message of openness and our willingness for collaboration even further afield, attracting artists from all over the world.
Andrew Zaganelli Giacalone is the Head of Strategic Communications and Press at Denmark In New York.