Even though it's over 40 years old, Danish design brand Menu’s vision feels fresh and future-forward with its latest HQ move. The revamp takes it to the Århusgade district of Nordhavn, but this time, the public was invited to join. Understanding our blending worlds of work and life, Menu’s new HQ is a hybrid concept titled The Audo, consisting of boutique hotel, café, co-working space and concept store.
Teaming up with Norm Architects, the 1918 building – a boathouse and Neo-Baroque residence - has been given a minimalistic makeover. Here, the Danish firm developed concrete flooring and walls and used warming brass accents to lift the industrial architecture. Meanwhile creative director Nathan Williams - from publication Kinfolk - was bought on board to ensure the design effectively delivered The Audo’s message. ‘This was once a trading post for fishing,’ he mused at the opening. ‘The modernised concept for this space hasn’t deviated from that. We are not pulling up in boats, not crating fish, but we are trading ideas, designs and sparking conversation in this space.'
Discussion was aplenty during the soft opening- and not just about the Menu furniture peppering the raw interiors. A gallery of works fill the lounge, including wooden sculptures by designer Nicholas Shurey, that sit on coffee tables, and bespoke paintings by Portland-based artist Benjamin Ewing.
Tucked away on the top floor, the Audo Residence is a 10-room hotel that offers understated and intimate loft-style retreats. Each room is uniquely configured – room 6 is adorned with ceramics by Sofia Tufvasson and Bente Hansen, while all of the spaces feature beds by Dux, chalky-finished walls by St. Leo, and Dinesen flooring underfoot. Most of the collaborative energy is felt on the lower floors though – sip cocktails at the monolithic marble bar that doubles as its current concierge, pick up a gift from the concept store, or climb up a few stairs to uncover Menu’s materials library.
It is clear that the Audo is not a one-time experience. The room designs will be evolving, the concept store will be a gallery space with rotating shows, and they are still cooking up the gastronomical direction of the restaurant. All of these finishing touches anchor the brand’s DNA as a growing process, and a further ode to its namesake – an abbreviation for the Latin phrase Ab Uno Disce Omnes, meaning ‘From one, learn all.'
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Sujata Burman is a writer and editor based in London, specialising in design and culture. She was Digital Design Editor at Wallpaper* before moving to her current role of Head of Content at London Design Festival and London Design Biennale where she is expanding the content offering of the showcases. Over the past decade, Sujata has written for global design and culture publications, and has been a speaker, moderator and judge for institutions and brands including RIBA, D&AD, Design Museum and Design Miami/. In 2019, she co-authored her first book, An Opinionated Guide to London Architecture, published by Hoxton Mini Press, which was driven by her aim to make the fields of design and architecture accessible to wider audiences.
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