Danish designer Johannes Torpe calls Copenhagen home and this multidisciplinary creative proves that formal training isn’t necessarily a prerequisite in the design world. Raised by bohemian parents on a hippie commune in Denmark, Torpe was taught to think outside the box to define his own experiences which had him leave home at age 12 to play the drums. Age 17 saw him setting up his own business and becoming one of the most sought-after lighting designers in Denmark. Since then, Torpe has been immersing himself into everything from architecture, lighting, furniture, and interiors to branding, concept design, music, and fashion. He even had a number one hit, “Calabria’, with his brother Rune RK in 2007 which sold over 10 million copies. In 1997, he set up Johannes Torpe Studios, working with the likes of Moroso, SP Haus, Hay, and Hayworth, and was chosen as Creative Director of Bang & Olufsen in 2012. Let’s see what this passionate—and super busy—designer finds inspirational in this week’s Friday Five.

1. Film- 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick
A movie that was so ahead of its time. Made in 1968, it deals with issues of complexity such as human evolution and the destiny of the universe. Every element of this movie has been an inspiration to me: the set design, interiors, costumes, and the soundtrack. I can’t count how many times I’ve watched it but it’s one of those movies that never gets old and I seem to discover something new and prophetic every time I watch it.


2. The Ferry Cup
This is actually a coffee mug that I “borrowed” from the Danish Gedser/Rostock ferry that takes you from Denmark across to Germany. There was something about its timeless design that compelled me to slip it into my bag and walk away with it. Still to this day it is my favourite cup to drink coffee out of. I know that some of my employees have a bit of a thing for it as well, as I’ve seen it lingering on their desks when they think I’m not around – they know I’ll be after them if I find out they’ve been using my favourite cup!

Photo courtesy of Kvadrat

Photo courtesy of Kvadrat

3. The Revolving Room, by Patricia Urquiola
This exhibition displayed a compelling combination of textile and lighting design. It took place at Salone del Mobile in Milan in 2013 where I was also exhibiting in a collaboration with Bang & Olufsen and Hosoo. I have always been a fan of Patricia’s work and this exhibition was certainly not a disappointment. Using fabrics from Kvadrat and furniture from Moroso (2 brands I am also very fond of), the use of color, light and pattern in connection with the movement of the walls created a mesmerising moving artwork that brought the space to life.


4. B&O Play H6 Headphones
I was a musician before becoming a designer, and I still am at heart. So what could be more titillating than an exceptionally designed set of headphones that exude smooth, penetrating waves of sound? I honestly don’t want to take these things off, they look great and sound even better, with an impressive balance in audio levels that provide a rich and transporting musical experience.

5. Sichuan Kitchen
Sichuan is a cuisine from China that I am simply obsessed with. It is incredibly spicy. So spicy that you think your stomach might implode, but so tasty that even if you spent the entire night on the toilet, you will be back again the next day ordering the same thing. Whenever I am in China meeting clients and colleagues it is usually over a meal, and I will always be the first to suggest Sichuan Kitchen!