Owners of the multidisciplinary architectural practice, Mentze Ottenstein, Mathias Mentze & Alexander Vedel Ottenstein span different scales of architecture. Their work includes everything from small objects to larger buildings, but always with a main focus on interior and exhibition design. With a background in architecture, Mentze and Ottenstein are especially inspired by Kaare Klint’s approach to teaching where inspiration was sought in the past to create designs for the future. Inside their private home, located in the heart of Copenhagen, a curated combination of the past, present and future exposes their shared passion for art and design in all forms.
"Kaare Klint's approach to architecture and design is something we are quite inspired by. Particulary his teaching of young architects where he would ask the students to research historic pieces of furniture, to let them inform new designs for a new time. This is an approach we like ourselves as a way to anchor a project and to build on existing narratives instead of always starting from anew. We have worked directly with the legacy of Klint at Marienborg, the country estate of Klints patron I. C. David, and at The Design Museum in Copenhagen."
"Our favorite is the furniture he designed for the Faaborg Museum on Funen in Denmark by the architect Carl Petersen. Of course, the famous Faaborg Chair, but also the elegant stool with its slight art deco inspiration. Also, the couch, bookshelf and cabinet in the archive of the Museum are great, and the way they relate to murals by the artist Johannes Larsen is really sophisticated and quite bold at the same time."
WHAT INSPIRES YOUR ARCHITECTURAL PRACTICE?
In particular the legacy of Kaare Klint, both his approach and way of teaching, but also that generation's notion of architecture as something that transcends all scales, and also something that builds on the existing world. This is also a sustainable way of working with architecture. We need to work with what's already here and use those resources in the best way. We believe that by reusing the existing narratives, besides the materials, you gain something with a longer life than when you always have to go against history. So, in a way these early modernists go against the general notion of modernism as something that always has to seek the new.
Klint’s rather stiff furniture could easily be seen as something of the past. But that's too easy, there are so many themes in his designs that are still relevant today. There is something almost Donald Judd-like to find in his furniture, something about scale and proportions.
All of our projects are different in the sense that they are influenced by what is there to begin with. Our approach, on the other hand, is always the same. We like to do research and dig out potential narratives. And we have a love affair with craft and craftspeople.