Blurring the lines between function and art, the Republic of Fritz Hansen boasts an innovative heritage. Since its breakthrough in steam-bending beech during the 1930s, the Danish furniture company has become known for its signature clean lines in laminate wood furniture. As any fan of Scandinavian design will enthuse, Fritz Hansen’s collaboration with prestigious architect Arne Jacobsen resulted in the iconic three-legged Ant chair and Series 7 chair—timeless pieces that continue to decorate living spaces today. With minimalism on the rise, the niche company turned its sights to the vast potential for expansion in the North American market. It just needed the right person for the job, and this year, it found him.
From the brand’s SoHo concept store in New York, Henning von Gerstenberg Rosted overlooks his new post as CEO of Fritz Hansen Americas. Appointed by president and global CEO Jacob Holm at the beginning of September 2017, Rosted ended his four-year stint as president and representative director of Carl Hansen & Søn in Japan to take the position. The Dane has built his career working with luxury brands, including Aston Martin and Bang & Olufsen. As for what drew him to Fritz Hansen, his answer is simple.
“The common denominator in all these brands is design,” says Rosted, speaking over the phone from Manhattan. “I enjoy working with products and brands that are exquisite in the area of interior design.”
As a fellow Scandinavian well-versed in the furniture and lifestyle industries, Rosted’s move to Fritz Hansen was a natural but calculated one. Since its partnership with Danish lighting company Lightyears in 2015, the Republic of Fritz Hansen offering has expanded to include lighting and accessories. From a range of Nordic-inspired lamps and natural accents for the home, Fritz Hansen’s dedication to function and aesthetic reflects the enduring quality of its pieces. It also speaks to the brand’s ambitious approach to growth in one key zone. “We recognize we come from a very strong presence in the contract market. This is where we have our strong base,” Rosted explains. “But for the private use, we are not yet as strong as we could be. This is one of our focal group areas: to focus on the private residential space.”
With additional concept stores expected to open in the United States in the coming years, Rosted’s leadership could not have come at a better time. A family man, he is passionate about his new role and is proud of the history it represents. “Arne Jacobsen’s Egg chair and Swan chair are celebrating their 60th year,” he says, excitement lining his voice. “It’s a celebration not only for Fritz Hansen, but for Danish design.”