With two artist parents, Cecilie Manz encountered the world of design in early childhood in their workshop. Her own career began in 1992 with an academic education from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Following a semester abroad at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, Manz started her own company, which has been the focus of her work ever since.
The old-fashioned work approach
The Danish designer’s universe revolves around her love of art, and the names of her products are often tributes to her favourite creative minds. In some ways, Manz’s work approach can be described as old-fashioned: she always works alone in her Copenhagen studio, produces her drawings on paper, and carries out the shape-making at her workshop in the studio’s basement.
“I view all my works as fragments of one big, ongoing story, where the projects are often linked or related in terms of their ideas, materials, and aesthetics, across time and function,” Manz has said.
Over the course of her career, Manz has shown an impeccable ability to create lamps, ceramics, accessories for the home, and furniture design – always with an emphasis on uniting the Scandinavian tradition of simplicity with a modern, international expression. While her work tends to abide by a ‘form follows function’ philosophy, each design is also imbued with a serene beauty. The pieces are understated, yet present themselves to the world with an artistic twist.
A profound sense of details
Manz strives to combine conceptualism with the Danish penchant for durable materials and sublime craftsmanship. In her lighting designs, she has continuously worked to develop lamps that do not steal attention from the light itself, rather ensuring that function always prevails.To this day, Manz’s lamp, which lends a modern expression to a recognisable shape, is a hugely popular item found in private homes, boutique stores and office spaces in Denmark and abroad. This signature aesthetic is clearly visible in the designs Manz has created for Fritz Hansen’s Objects collection. From ceramics to lighting, seating to storage, Manz has designed various pure, practical and narrative objects to play a role in our everyday lives. She has applied her clean, modern sensibility to earthenware vases and bowls handmade in a traditional pottery studio in Seto, Japan, as well as to poufs – all similar in shape to stepping stones. Manz’s designs for Fritz Hansen have also included the Essay™ dining table and, more recently, the minuscule™ lounge chair. Following a typically Danish furniture tradition, both designs combine curiosity and innovation with sculpted elegance and soft forms.
The never ending talent
The award-winning Danish designer Cecilie Manz is a master of modern minimalism. Manz is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Thorvald Bindesbøll Medal in 2011, the Bruno Mathsson Prize in 2009, the Kunstpreis Berlin in 2008, and the Finn Juhl Architectural Prize and the Furniture Prize, both in 2007. Her designs can be found in the permanent collections of such landmark institutions as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Design Museum Danmark. In 2014, Manz also received the Crown Prince Couple’s Culture Prize in Denmark, earning praise as a talent who never seems to stop creating outstanding design and who continues to surprise us with designs in new shapes and materials.