Softline was established as the furniture division of K. Balling-Engelsen a/s in 1979. The company was producing polyurethane foam for the Nordic furniture industry, and Softline was created to make functional furniture for the modern lifestyle, using the foam in new and innovative ways.
In 1980 Softline started working with designer Kurt Brandt. He created the PAX sofa that became a great sales success. The sofa could be transformed into a double bed in one movement – a groundbreaking combination of design and functionality that is now our trademark. With a curious and creative mind, Kurt Brandt had a unique ability to see new ways of using foam and explored the possibilities and potential of the material extensively. He created a whole series of trendsetting furniture in the 80s and 90s. Attractive, sculptural and timeless designs that placed Softline on the map of modern design furniture.
As a natural next step, after the great success in Denmark, Softline entered the export markets – particularly Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and the Benelux countries. Other markets in Europe, the Middle East and Asia quickly followed, and today Softline furniture is sold in 61 countries worldwide. The main channels are leading high-end design stores and our network of contract dealers for public environments.
Following the death of Kurt Brandt in 1997, Softline started working with a number of new designers. One of them was the young designer Flemming Busk, who was to become one half of busk+hertzog. The design duo has created a number of unique designs for Softline and has set the tone for the future along with designers like Karim Rashid, Hiromichi Konno, Thomas Müller, Nanna Ditzel and Stine Engelbrechtsen. Every year the newest designs are showcased at the leading international furniture fairs in Milan, Paris and Cologne.
K. Balling-Engelsen a/s was taken over by the oil company Shell in 1981, which sold the company to a Finnish investment company in 2000. In August 2003 Softline was sold off via a successful management buyout, and Softline A/S was launched as an independent, privately owned enterprise under the direction of Finn H. Sørensen. With a strong vision to become the leading provider of innovative, functional and high-quality design furniture, the change in ownership revitalised sales to private homes and public environments.
In addition to furnishing thousands of homes and public spaces around the world, Softline has been involved in many fun and prominent projects. busk+hertzog designed the HELLO chair for the Danish Broadcasting Corporation as a present to Kylie Minogue. Today you can see the HELLO chair at the Danish Museum of Art and Design in Copenhagen and at the National Gallery in Oslo. The LOTUS sofa is a part of the fashionable interior in the popular movie “Sex and the City”. GRAND PRIX and DONUT were presented as gifts to the Danish Crown Prince and Princess.
Today Softline has about 70 employees, we collaborate with more than 15 top designers and provide work for 100-120 people employed at our main suppliers producing components for Softline furniture. Our strong concept of unique, modern and functional design furniture is evolving every day. We continuously launch new creative design products, and the desire for innovation, which was our starting point at the foundation in 1979, is still our driving force. We are looking forward to continuing the positive development and expansion that we have experienced for the past 10 years – with SOFTLINE and with our partners.
Claus C. Simonsen
Michiel van der Kley
Müller & Wulff
Simon & Jahn
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