The Evolution of Audo Copenhagen, a Standard-Bearer of Danish Design

Joachim Kornbek Engell-Hansen stewards the family business in a new era and under a new name, ready for fresh collaborations with contemporary talent.

Pictured: Ingeborg sofa, Duca Candle Holder, Plinth Low, Plinth Bridge, Rond Bowl, Brasilia Lounge Chair, Kubus Bowl and Collector Chandelier. Credit (all images): Courtesy of Audo.

Audo Copenhagen was, until recently, known as Menu. The company’s recent acquisition of by Lassen, and subsequent acquisition Design Holding, inspired design and brand director Joachim Kornbek Engell-Hansen to move Audo forward under its new moniker. 

A family business through and through, Menu was founded by Engell-Hansen’s grandfather. Thanks to the stewardship of Engell-Hansen and his father, along with the insatiable appetite for Danish-designed furniture and décor, Audo has cultivated a stable of covetable products from celebrated designers. Notables include the late Ib Kofod Larsen, Norm Architects, and Colin King. Plus, having acquired by Lassen and later becoming a Design Holding brand, puts Audo in the fair company of Flos, B&B Italia, and FendiCasa.

We’d be remiss not to mention that there’s even more to Audo than its tranquil showrooms and standout collaborators. In Copenhagen, its showroom is located within Audo House: a sprawling modern residence, restaurant, concept shop, and collaborative workspace conceived of by Engell-Hansen’s father, Bjarne. Realized by frequent collaborators Norm Architects, it gives the impression that the company isn’t just building a community, but is in the process of establishing its own light-filled, minimalist brand universe. 

In the following interview, Engell-Hansen discusses the experience of advancing a multi-generational creative vision, the significance of community building across Copenhagen and New York, and a few personal favorites from Audo’s portfolio. 

Looking back at your stewardship of Menu leading up to the transition, what are you most proud of?

My father, who was an integral part of shaping Menu’s vision and creating the concept of The Audo, always dreamed of the day where we’d rebrand as Audo Copenhagen, and I’m very proud that I was able to achieve that. 

How will the transition to Audo better serve your customers and preserve Menu’s legacy as a family business?

Merging our brands simplifies the shopping experience for customers, making our products easily accessible in one place. Audo Copenhagen will continue to offer the same modern, minimalist designs that originated when my family started the business, along with newer collaborations that fans and followers of Menu, The Audo, and by Lassen have come to expect. The product portfolio will also be larger, including furniture, accessories, and lighting from both Menu and by Lassen. 

A bookable room at Audo House in Copenhagen.

You’ve said in a previous interview that in the years since your grandfather founded Menu, it had gone on to become a full lifestyle brand. With that in mind, what’s the importance of a community hub like Audo House?

Audo House really serves as our home base, and we use it as an interactive way to showcase furniture, lighting, and accessories from the brand. Aside from that, it’s a creative destination for people from all over the world to come together within our community, whether they’re there specifically to view our products or to utilize our event facilities, dine at our café or restaurant, visit our concept shop, or to stay at our exclusive residence.

For those who aren’t able to make it to Audo House, we invite them to join us at our showroom in New York City, which extends our community overseas and showcases our vast collection of products. We’ve also brought Audo Copenhagen to other parts of the world, whether a pop-up apartment in Chicago for NeoCon, participation in an exhibit during Modernism Week in Palm Springs, or a partnership in Milan during Salone del Mobile. There will be a lot more to come over the next year!

Pictured: Stance Vase, Converge Book Ends, Surround Vase, and Taper Bowl.

Design Holding Group has a number of incredible brands in its portfolio. Can you share one or two favorites? 

It’s no secret that we’re in great company. We’ve incorporated Flos into our New York City showroom as their ceiling lights complement our space in such an aesthetically pleasing way. We also have an incredible partnership with Lumens, which carries a wide range of our portfolio! 

You’re likely aware of the cult following around certain late Scandinavian designers; who are some contemporary talents you’re excited to work with?

We’re proud to partner with Norm Architects, who designed some of our first pieces and regularly collaborates with us on projects including our Plinth and Eave Collections. Our latest accessories collection comes from interior stylist Colin King, who has worked for some of the world’s best-known brands and publications, and is behind Audo Copenhagen’s ever-popular Interconnect Candle Holder, among many other pieces. Another exciting collaboration is with Norwegian architect Danielle Siggerud, who is behind our Androgyne Collection and whose work embodies a sharp vision of space and materials that can be recognized by her sensitive and contextual approach. 

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