Reform CPH is a design company born out of Copenhagen that has taken IKEA hacking to a level of sheer greatness. Working with internationally acclaimed architects including Bjarke Ingels Group (Two World Trade Center), Henning Larsen Architects (Copenhagen Opera House), and Norm Architects (Reydon Grove Farm), Reform uses IKEA elements as the basis for all their collections, and works with their partners to redesign the doors, tops, features etc. Customers are offered beautiful, customisable elements for their home, at an amazing price, designed by the best in the world.
With offices in Copenhagen, Berlin, and New York, and showrooms in London, Copenhagen, and soon-to-be in San Francisco and New York, the company’s founders Michael Andersen and Jeppe Christensen, are perfectly set up for worldwide home design domination. Their New York office will be opening its doors in a few months, where they will explore the new territory of the US, and collaborate with recognized Scandinavian brands and designers, bringing a larger range of exclusive products and beautiful products to home across the world.
Being a big fan of simple and beautiful design, especially that which is teamed with the principles of architecture, I spoke to Michael and Jeppe about their beginnings, their future hopes, their favourite IKEA hacks, and whether they enjoy spending time in their own kitchen – you might be surprised at the answers…
What made you want to work together and redesign kitchens?
Michael: Jeppe approached me because we knew each other through my youngest brother. At first I thought the idea was crazy, but after an IKEA visit and some thinking, I called him back and we met up for a drink. The idea of using the best guys on the planet to design with us was born, and from then on it has just been full throttle – and still is 🙂
Jeppe: The funny thing about life is, that a lot of things happens by a coincidence, and I guess that Reform happened by coincidence! Michael is big brother to one of my oldest friends, and it just happened that we both quit our jobs at the same time. Since we both are entrepreneurs at heart and want to create stuff and have fun while we are doing it, it was a match made in heaven!
Michael: IKEA’s quality in kitchens is, by far, the best value for money in comparison with any other kitchen brand. They actually get their hinges and rails produced by the same producer as almost any other kitchen brand – but they are a lot cheaper, and in stock all over the world. IKEA is also the biggest producer of furniture in the world and has stores all over, so this gives us the advantage of being able to be worldwide from day one.
Jeppe: IKEA offers the best kitchen element quality for the price – you can’t find it better or cheaper anywhere else – that’s a fact, and we wanted to create a kitchen company that we could scale to the whole world. By hacking IKEA, this is possible – IKEA is almost all over the world.
Whatʼs your favourite IKEA hack youʼve seen?
M: I have seen many good hacks, but ours is the best 🙂 We get the coolest designers in the world to upgrade IKEA’s designs, but still make it affordable for normal people like you and me – I really think that is so cool.
J: Is it ok to answer the Norm kitchen design for Reform, or the new Sigurd Larsen collection [coming soon]?
How important is it for you to keep the manufacturing local, and how is working with the woodworkers in Fyn [Denmark]?
M: We have a great co-operation with our local woodworker in Denmark, but in the US we get our products produced in Brooklyn, and when we go to Asia we will have to find a handfull of “local” producers to support us there. So what matters for us, is to get our products produced were the costumers are.
J: The most important thing for us is to deliver the best product and service to our clients. At the moment we think that we can do this by partnering with Danish cabinetmakers, if this will change in the future, we will do it. The clients are first line!
Would you like to branch out into other parts of the home, and design full pieces of furniture?
M: Reform is a great brand and we would love to work with our designers on other stuff. We have a lot of things coming up within the next 6 months, including stuff that is not kitchens 🙂
J: Next year we will launch some new designs, which are more focused on wardrobes (the PAX system from IKEA), and living rooms (sideboards). We are also launching some kitchen accessories, but for now the main business of Reform will be to hack IKEA’s good and cheap cabinets.
How did your upcoming collaboration with Sigurd Larsen come about?
J: When we opened up our office in Berlin, we knew that we wanted to work with a Berlin-based designer/architect. We did a lot of research on who were the best in the city, and surprisingly it was a Dane with an office in Berlin!
Congratulations on your new showroom in New York! How has it been finding new ground in the US?
M: F*****g difficult! New York is one of the greatest cities in the world, but when you do a setup in a new city, you need to find the coolest location and team up with the coolest guys, and that’s not easy. We have been fortunate in finding both, but it has not been without several frustrating trips visiting expensive, stupid and just totally uncool places. We had many trips were we were almost crying flying back home on monkey class wanting to give up.
J: We have spent a lot of time finding the right setup in New York. The US, have been a challenging market for us, because we have been forced to find production in the US, so for the first year, we have been working on finding the right partners and manufacturers. When this was settled, we were quite lucky to meet some good guys from a wooden floor company that were looking for some partners in a showroom. It was actually a coincidence that we met the guys and everything just fitted so well together.
How much time do you spend in your own kitchens?
M: I have the most lovely and beautiful wife on the planet, but somehow she got through life not learning how to cook. Her food is basically uneatable! I do all the cooking including the dishwashing – so 2 hours every day.
J: Not much time to be honest. My girlfriend and I would rather spend the time on being together (the truth of being in love) which means a lot of take away!
Cooking or washing up?
M and J: Cooking!
J: Washing up is like cleaning – a waste of time. Cooking can be fun and you can actually make people happy by serving them a good meal – that makes sense to me!
Itʼs a Friday night, cook-in or eat-out?
M: I have a small handfull of children, so cook-in is the most common, except for when I am traveling.
J: Definitely eat out, I love to go out. Cooking can be really fun/relaxing, but you need time and you need someone to cook for – when you cook, it’s much more fun to cook for someone other than yourself.
As a creative and business owner myself, I know how hectic and time-consuming things can become; what do you do when youʼre not working to ensure your work life doesnʼt take over?
M: I have a sacred time interval between 5-9PM every day where I am with my kids cooking, eating, doing homework together or playing FIFA, this is where I am 100% with my family. Besides that, I try to do sports every day with friends. I play soccer and squash every week and do Krav Maga [martial arts], and lift some weights 2-3 time a week. If you add work, there is not much time left 🙂
J: My “work” takes up the most of my life and I actually haven’t felt a need to think of something else – I mean, I’ve learned myself not to be that concerned over small challenges, so it’s not like that I can’t be with good friends or at a dinner without thinking work. But my work is my life, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. At some point I will hopefully have a lot of kids with my girlfriend one day, and then I could imagine that my priorities will change, but I would be a bit surprise if “work” would be something that I didn’t care about at all.
Whatʼs the plan for Reform – as much as I hate the phrase haha, where do you see Reform in 5 years?
M: In 5 years I am sure that Reform will be a market leader for designer kitchens worldwide. My goal is that anyone on the planet dreaming of a cool kitchen will consider Reform, and we will be able to supply them the custom-made kitchens of their dreams within two weeks at an affordable price and giving them the best costumer experience at the same time 🙂
Michael and Jeppe have taken their strong ideas and personalities, and their drive to design and create, and partnered it with the best architects in the world, to provide their customers with personalised, beautiful elements in their home. Reform is set to open shop in the US, and release their hotly anticipated collection with the amazing Sigurd Larsen over the next few months, and you definitely do not want to miss out on either of those, so stay tuned…
Tags: ikea, Reform CPH, sigurd larsen
Sophia Groves is a photographer, graphic designer, and writer based in London, and co-founder of the production company View From The Van Productions.
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