New Norm Magazine
Brüün makes products for people who embrace a pared-back lifestyle.
Our designs are considered and minimalist, and balance aesthetics with functionality. Every product we make is hand-crafted from responsibly and locally-sourced materials.
I’m a cabinet-maker by training and I started Brüün in 2008 but focused on designing and making furniture and living spaces for several years. In 2018, I decided to move to making home accessories as well. We’d made gifts for friends and they were so popular it seemed silly not to. My current designs are inspired by my love of Scandinavian and Japanese design (I have part Norwegian heritage) and my passion for creating beautiful spaces, hosting and cooking.
Embracing slower living
Where are you from / call home?
Bristol (England) is home for us. To be exact, it’s a village outside Bristol so we get the best of both worlds. We are a long cycle ride from an exciting, diverse city but have the inspiration and peace of the South Gloucestershire countryside as well. Since Covid-19 I work from our family home, an old hatting cottage, (almost the whole village used to be dedicated to this industry in fact) so it’s nice we are continuing the making tradition in this house.
What are some simple pleasures that you’ve rediscovered during the coronavirus pandemic?
I love cooking and baking at the best of times but I’ve definitely been baking more since the pandemic. I’ve been trying to perfect my kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon buns). They are a family favourite and for us are the ultimate comfort food. To be honest though, I haven’t had much time as I’ve had to move my workshop to our family home as my old workshop was a shared space and thankfully demand for Bruun products goes from strength to strength. So there haven’t been many extra hours in the day but I have relished not having to drive to work!
What are some of the things that have changed in your country as a result of the pandemic? What is the new normal?
We have slowed down and we are noticing nature. We are seeing the value of people who have not been previously recognised for their work – care workers, hospital porters, supermarket workers.
The new normal is working at home with all that goes with that – a smaller carbon footprint and reclaimed time from not travelling to a workshop, the occasional distraction but also a new worker to clean the workshop, my eldest son.
Travel from home
What was your favourite destination and why?
Hmmmm. That’s a hard one. I’m a big fan of mountains. This started with trips to Switzerland as a child - walking in the summer and skiing in the winter. So, whether I’m in the Lake District or Nepal, if I’m up a mountain I’m happy. But I’m equally content wandering around the streets of Stockholm – doing the whole fika thing and soaking up the design scene there or surfing badly on the gorgeous coastlines of Devon and Cornwall in the UK. All are good.
What are some of your most memorable moments during the trip?
If we take my most recent trip to Stockholm I loved the Downtown Camper hotel we stayed in for a couple of nights. I really enjoyed how it was so well-considered and designed to make people have a good time. There were super stylish ping-pong tables by each lift (which our boys loved), wooden swings in the games room, a huge netted relaxation area suspended above the reception area so you could relax on their bean bags but still feel quite communal and a small cinema with free popcorn. Staff would be happy to take you for a half hour walk in the city which was great too! We’d love to go back in the summer when you can borrow a kayak and head off on the water. We loved seeing all the beautiful wooden cabins just outside the city – simple and stunning and right be the water’s edge. The museums were amazing too - ArkDes’s gingerbread house competition was a big hit with all of us as it has entries from local children and professional architects alike and was a really testament to local creativity.
What does travel give you that everyday life doesn’t?
Design inspiration, new experiences, new food, time for reflection and a renewed faith in humanity. On the last trip to Sweden we took a 16 hour train trip from Stockholm to Abisko in the Arctic circle so plenty of time to think about Brüün and its future.
You have an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours, where would you go?
Japan – I’m interested in the aesthetics of Japanese design and my partner is an intercultural trainer with a strong interest in East Asia so it would be the perfect destination.