June 15th 2017


At the foot of the tall fir trees of Hareskoven, HOLDBAR Design Group is this week building their architectural installation GRAN

The structure is being built in a sustainable manner and with local resources. The wood, Douglas fir, needed for the project, was cut down, monday in Hareskoven in collaboration with The Danish Nature Agency. A mobile sawmill processed the wood on site, and thereafter the members of HOLDBAR started building. 


During the past year, HOLDBAR has been working with gran (fir) as a theme for a series of workshops and experiments. The purpose of the project is to re-define fir as a common Nordic element, while focusing on the material and sensory experiences.

In our previous projects, we focused mainly on our individual approaches to sustainable design. With GRAN we are creating a joint work, with the purpose of giving the users of the forest a different experience of the forest space, by leading them away from the paths, and in between the trees. 

Here, in between the tall fir trees, a ring constructed of wood from douglas fir, will "float" horizontally on the slope, supported by massive poles secured in the ground. 


The opening of GRAN will take place in Hareskoven on Saturday 17th June from 2pm. 

Find more information about the opening event - including the full programme of the day - on our facebook event


We look forward to seeing you in the forest! 

HOLDBAR Design Group



When GRANevents are not taking place, the platform is open for all users of the forest.

Outdoor wood workshop between the pine trees.

Outdoor wood workshop between the pine trees.

Freshly cut and processed Douglas planks.

Freshly cut and processed Douglas planks.

Securing the base of the structure into the ground of the slope.

Securing the base of the structure into the ground of the slope.

Holdbar_Dome of Visions.jpg

April 11th, 2016


HOLDBAR Design Group is thrilled to present Don't Run Out for the first time in Denmark after the well received exhibition debuted at Paris Design Week in 2015. 

This time Don't Run Out will be exhibited at Dome of Visions in Copenhagen from 19 - 27 th April 2016. 

Through the exhibition Holdbar aims to discuss if it is possible to design and construct products and concepts that serve sustainable development without being 100% sustainable in itself? When is a product sustainable enough? How can design facilitate a sustainable lifestyle? Is imperfect sustainability sustainable? HOLDBAR focuses on experimenting with processes that lead to a more sustainable lifestyle. The work of Holdbar Design Group will be presented alongside the work of Photographer Amanda Hestehave in collaboration with Holdbar. 

Opening event
Join us for the opening of the exhibition takes place on April 19th from 7-10pm with a specially tailored concert starring the Danish electropop trio Télé Rouge.


Photos by Amanda Hestehave

January 19th, 2016


Holdbar Design Group presented Don’t Run Out during Paris Design week 2015, at Galerie Joseph Turenne, a design gallery based in MaraisIt was a grand opening night on the 5th of September and a wonderful culmination of Holdbar Design Group's dedicated work. The opening of the exhibition was accompanied by a live music performance from the Danish band Télé Rouge. Audience, visitors and designers were mingling and discussions about sustainability and design arose among the exhibited pieces that were explored and admired.

Nikolai Kotlarczyk, a member of Holdbar Design Group  has written for Yellowtrace and reflected on Don't Run Out: "With environmental issues becoming an even more important dialogue within societies and cultures around the world, more than ever it is crucial for the design industry at large to look at ways to improve the way we do things in respect to environmental concerns. Apart from the environmental considerations of the pieces within Don't Run Out, the group was also aware that the exhibition as a whole needed to express these values. This included the Don't Run Out catalogue being only the second ever fully biodegradable and cradle-to-cradle publication in Denmark's history, thanks to the help of KLS printers in Copenhagen. With the mass production of design, especially in Denmark, growing every year, Holdbar Design Group will continue to question the role of design within society at large. What we can do as industry thinkers and makers to benefit the environment are key to the future of the industry and the group." 

Don't Run Out has a double meaning; Don't run out of resources! and Don't run out from the responsibility as designers and architects to design durable, sustainable and innovative products and concepts! These are the underpinning principles and also premises for the future work of Holdbar Design Group. 

Holdbar Design Group is planning on exhibiting Don't Run Out in Copenhagen in 2016.

The exhibition was on display until the 12th of September 2015, where several media and bloggers passed by. To read more articles about Holdbar Design Group and its members, please visit: 








Photos by Amanda Hestehave

September 1st, 2015

Reduce energy consumption by 38%, halve the heat consumption, buy a share in a nearby wind mill, keep your old carpet as long as it serves it’s purpose even if it has a few flaws, change all vehicles into their electric counterparts, start applying greenhouse gas accounting and life cycle assessments – and ultimately get into certifying your products with the Cradle-to-Cradle certificate.
This sounds like the right recipe for sustainable transition – and it is what KLS, the printing house of HOLDBAR's choice has been doing. As Fie Bjørch-Haderup, project manager of HOLDBAR says: What I think is really cool is that we as a group of young “sustainability-designers” that go as far as we possibly can to work with sustainability, not only in our products but also regarding our printed material. I'm really proud to hand out catalogues certified by one of the world's best environmental certifications.

Doing good was always part of the KLS’ success
KLS, a family driven graphic- and print house since 1946, was always interested in doing good while doing business. Their first step towards sustainability was the Certificate Svanemærket in 1971 and the sustainability certificate ISO 14001 in 1999, and thereafter a number of environmental awards and certificates. In 2008 though, they took a ‘giant leap’ forming a professional board and defining the future identity of the company: KLS was going to be Scandinavia’s frontrunner in sustainability.

It was half idealism and half business strategy, says Jan Nielsen, Sales Director of KLS. Primarily we were facing the task of drawing the future strategy and brand of KLS. But it didn’t take long for us to know. We all went on this concept development weekend and everything was up for discussion, but the second ‘sustainability’ was written it was clear for all that that was our goal: we were going to the leading print house in sustainability! And the new board’s first task was to adopt a climate and environmental strategy.

One print at a time
Ever since KLS has made all of the above mentioned steps towards sustainability, the most recent being their PUREPRINT®, 100% biodegradable printed materials, and thus the Cradle2Cradle certificate.
According to Jan Nielsen, success is reached with a mix of taking small steps one at a time on one hand, and setting some quite ambitious goals on the other. At this moment KLS has all the four basic print colours together with the two most common paper types, Silk and Offset, and more products e.g. banner material are in the making. By 2018, says Jan Nielsen, we want all products to be biodegradable.
Moreover, KLS is able to report on the greenhouse gas emission on every single printed material that leaves the printshop and takes measures to neutralise those numbers buying and deleting UN certified emission credits.
All this, together with the windmill, the electric cars, the heat consumption etc., has earned KLS widespread support among clients as colleges as well as national politicians as Connie Hedegaard and Jeppe Kofoed. Not only small sustainability idealists such as HOLDBAR are choosing the PURE solution, but also Carlsberg, Mandag Morgen, Red Cross and the municipality of Hvidovre. And it makes it very clear, that idealistic measures can both pay off and create momentum for larger transitions.

Educator and sustainability activist, Marie Holt Richter


Photos by HOLDBAR design group

August 5th, 2015

The process of the HOLDBAR design group is soon coming to an end. For now. We have been working in depth with the question on what sustainability can be in a design context, and we have seen a large variety of approaches come to light. In my previous note about this multiple answer, focus was on material, utility and production methods. A completely different take on sustainability in design are the dialogue with nature, profound messages and narrative, and the questioning of consumption itself!

Taking Nature Seriously
Sustainability can relate to anything and everything. But at the base of it will always be Nature and our relationship to it. We tend to forget that everything we have and have ever had comes from nature, and we have in many ways distanced ourselves from nature and its principles.
Just think of the growth paradigm. As many concepts ‘growth’ is borrowed from the terminology of Nature. Here, growth is always accompanied by decay and cannot exist without it, but within the regime of Capitalist Economy this second element has been excluded from the models resulting in the illusion of everlasting expanding growth. Well, it takes not a lot to see the very real consequences of this illusion, most of all in the elimination of living species.
I hadn’t expected it, but it turns out that several of the designers have chosen decay as their focus, presented both in aesthetics, visual message and construction principles.
The aesthetic and visual message celebrates Nature and its workings, showing the beauty of decay and imperfection and reminding us of our frequent destructive use of it.  Meanwhile, a project on construction through oxidation uses and shows the remarkable creative force of decay and celebrates Time, together with slowness and patience, as ruling principles, questioning our obsession with speed, quantity and profit.

Questioning Consumption
It is very tricky for a designer to question the consumption culture, as designers live and exist thanks to consumption. For the same reason I find the most courageous projects to be the ones that aim to help us consider our relationship to stuff and, in the end, maybe even to live with less.
One of these projects is closely connected to the designer’s personal experiment, which is to question the relevance and functionality of her belongings. Another project is a system to register and evaluate the utility, sustainability and durability of all the designer’s belongings. While giving transparency and providing an overview helpful in the efforts to abandon over consumption, this project also points to the worth of things rediscovering the unique value of each object and acknowledging the relationship between humans and their objects.
As cosmologist Thomas Berry has noted “Some say we shouldn’t treat people as things. But I think we shouldn’t even treat a thing as a thing”.

I still don’t have any idea of how this last project will manifest itself as a product at the exhibition in Paris. As with all the other products I look very much forward to see the end result.

Educator and sustainability activist, Marie Holt Richter


Photos by HOLDBAR design group

June 24th, 2015

The final meeting before an intensive one and a half month of further developing – redefining – refining of the objects. The big transition from ideas to finished products ready for Paris. Focus at this meeting is to make this transition be as sustainable as possible for the individual designers – and to see whether they are living up to their commitment...

HOLDBAR – as multiple aesthetics and multiple purpose
I see that the group is keeping it’s vision to deliver on the group’s name: HOLDBAR. ‘Holdbar’ is durability – not only as quality in material and construction, but also in aesthetics and especially in utility.
A central question in design for sustainability – and thus durability – is how to make a material or a product last as long as possible.
One answer is to give new life to old chairs. Maybe they are uncomfortable; maybe they are just out of fashion. So why not give them a new cover – one which completely changes the chair, from a stiff dining chair to a bulky comfy floater – or a Japanese style reception sitter? And what if this same cover could serve as a carpet afterwards? And what if all this were made out of materials that would otherwise have been burnt?
This is an answer that takes seriously man’s hunger for renewal whilst counteracting the hunger for resources: through recycling and multipurpose.

Upcycling and the power of limitation
Most products combine several sustainability factors but all projects show an automatic concern for the material; it has to be produced sustainably; or it is selected with regard to a C2C cycle, or it is found in the innumerable amount of waste material – or simply waste. Again an example of durability; now in the the material. I was pleased to see so many of the projects go for not only recycling, but actual up cycling.
And here the choice of waste or waste material is vehicle for one of the strongest messages within the sustainability agenda: Why should we always have an unlimited choice of material at our disposal? Limitation is a driving force for creativity! - The designers that have chosen to work with waste material are very clear that this will strongly define both function and aesthetic of the object; and have taken the consequence. Others again see the beauty of a piece of waste and make it the impetus of the design process.

Power to the people
But sustainability is not all about material and use; it’s also about decentralisation, another idea often held in the making of sustainable societies. It is taking back from big industry the power to create and produce, and giving it to local craftsmen, using local material, producing for local consumers. In addition to a huge reduction in transport related costs this holds a true potential for the development of new life in local communities, through new workplaces and new relationships between producer and receiver.
So although having many points in common, it is clear that HOLDBAR design group is delivering a highly multiple answer to the challenge of designing for sustainability. The above mentioned is only part of these answers, next time I’ll look into storytelling, aesthetics and the principles of nature and a system to facilitate transparency!

Educator and sustainability activist, Marie Holt Richter


Photos by HOLDBAR design group

May 20th, 2015

After a month the whole HOLDBAR group had gathered again, this time to share ideas and choices on the individual projects for the exhibition - as well as on a special personal challenge which everybody had agreed to take upon themselves. This was an idea fostered at the last meeting. We'd talked long about the complexity and imperfect knowledge always present in the quest for sustainability, and the group had taken the consequence of this condition and had chosen 'Imperfection' as a central theme for the project. To work with it in a serious manner, all members of the group thus took upon them a personal challenge of living with sustainability in different ways. And now it was time to reveal the tasks chosen.
As the external advisor on sustainability issues I was very happy and impressed to witness such commitment and creativity amongst the group. A creativity that not only applies to the aesthetic and functional dimensions of design but also to thoughts about living differently and finding new solutions.
While some had chosen not to eat any meat, a challenge that maybe looks simple but which is actually among those which evoke the strongest resistance within public opinion, others had gone creative to seek a way to make their own cleaning products or cereals, products that we normally think that only big industry can provide, thus working within the self-sufficiency paradigm. 
A third group could be called 'the collectors', taking upon themselves to collect and really see how much waste an individual produces in ordinary daily life - and how much spaces it takes up! 
In addition to this several of the participants had given a lot of thought to the base of all this, namely our culture of consumption. Questions as 'How much stuff do I actually have in one single room and what is the ecological footprint of it?', or 'How many things do I come in contact with in one day, and how much of it is or could be shared?', or 'If I store away everything in my kitchen, living room etc., how much of it will I really miss?' were  articulated and are to be investigated through these personal experiments.
Finally some participants had found an important challenge in themes related to 'inner sustainability' and the relationship with the natural environment, as in eg. abstaining from checking the smart phone all the time, slowing down transportation from A to B, or simply to sit down in a natural spot and observe...
Seeing this great scope of ideas and engagement within the HOLDBAR group I am absolutely positive that these personal experiments will enhance each and every designer's notion of sustainability in general and his or her sense of what it really means to move and live in this direction.


Educator and sustainability activist, Marie Holt Richter


Photos by HOLDBAR design group