Exclusive Interview with Signe Byrdal Terenziani about 3daysofdesign 2024

In this exclusive interview, I had the privilege of sitting down with Signe Byrdal Terenziani, the Managing Director of 3daysofdesign, the driving force behind Copenhagen’s largest design festival. With a keen eye for trends and a passion for pushing the boundaries of creativity, Signe has left a significant mark on the design landscape. Join us as we delve into her professional journey, her influential role in shaping the industry, and her visionary outlook on the future of design. This is a conversation you won’t want to miss.

Managing Director Signe Byrdal Terenziani (c) 3daysofdesign

How can you avoid falling in love with too many products from 400 exhibitors that won’t fit into your home due to space limitations?

I love design and am always utterly enthralled by the work from all our exhibitors. It’s a bit like having a sweet tooth, going to a candy store, and wanting absolutely everything.

If I had to choose, my advice would be to start dreaming and picture the pieces in your home. Allow yourself to be inspired and follow your instincts.

We’re living in an era of over-consumption, so it’s important to be mindful of this. Buy less, but buy things that are meaningful and long-lasting. Surround yourself with objects that someone, somewhere, took care in creating. That way, you will savor and appreciate each piece so much more, whether it’s candy or a delicious design.

Could you tell us about your professional journey and how you arrived at your current position? What inspired you to establish 3daysofdesign?

I lived in Milan for 20 years and worked for several Danish companies, such as Bang & Olufsen, where I was Head of Public Relations and Events. I was also in charge of curating exhibitions at Salone del Mobile for the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Milan. I went on to create the concept for the Danish LivingRoom exhibits, together with the Danish-Italian design duo behind GamFratesi. The concept really took off, and it was wonderful to gather Danish brands at such a high-profile design fair.

In my role as Marketing and Communications Manager, I gained experience building exhibition booths for brands at the fair and subsequently creating brand exhibitions in existing spaces outside the fairgrounds. At the same time, I was struck by the fact that trade show booths are temporary stages torn down just a few days later. To me, this always felt like a waste of money and resources.

I loved the idea of championing Danish brands internationally, and it occurred to me that we should promote brands on our own turf, attracting design lovers to Denmark, considered a design nation. Boasting a legacy of design luminaries, as well as forward-thinking talents making a name for themselves as we speak.

With that in mind, when I returned to Denmark, I saw an opportunity to start building up 3daysofdesign to become more than just an event held by four companies. I had the idea to expand the event, inviting other design companies to join the festival, and for brands to exhibit in their own showrooms rather than at an exhibition center. I felt that exhibiting in existing showrooms and workshops around Copenhagen would not only reduce waste but also generate greater connections between brands and visitors. Companies could welcome visitors into their own environments, creating a more personal, authentic connection, allowing brands to share their identity, vision, and values in their natural habitat.

The idea turned out to be a success, so I decided to devote myself to 3daysofdesign full time. I am proud to have created an exciting platform for global exposure in Copenhagen, where both emerging and established brands can showcase ideas. Where people can grow their professional network, share knowledge, and be inspired by a vast array of exhibits, events, and immersive experiences, surrounded by like-minded souls who love design as much as we do.

Could you have imagined in 2013 that you would create the largest design festival in Northern Europe?

We dared to dream! Although we never imagined the festival would be such a big success. It has been exciting and hugely rewarding to see the festival grow in popularity each year, with more than 400 brands exhibiting across Copenhagen this year. I think the success has come from providing an inclusive platform for the local and global design community. A design festival worth traveling to for international exhibitors and guests. We want this to be a shared space where architects, artisans, buyers, producers, the press, and the general public can physically meet, share ideas, network, discuss relevant topics, and hopefully work together towards a better future for people and the planet.

If 3daysofdesign were a song, what song would it be, or what genre of music would it represent?

Rather than a particular genre of music, I think 3daysofdesign sets the stage for a truly unique soundscape. An ever-evolving musical composition. Each year there is a central theme running through the festival, but exhibitors are given the freedom to showcase their brand with individuality. We orchestrate an inclusive environment with a diverse program of events and a range of brands exhibiting – and yet we all think in sync. Some are new, solo artists who might sing out of tune. Some prefer the silence in between the notes. Others are well-known virtuosos who keep the beat, but with a new rendition. While others will dance to a different drummer. Together we create an amazing harmony.

Like music, the festival is there to be explored and interpreted in your own way. Our ultimate aim is to create a creative crescendo, with experiences that will inspire ideas and each other beyond the three days.

Sustainability and circular design have always been of great interest to me, and it is exciting to see designers turning their attention to these issues and considering their environmental impact. Designers are finding innovative solutions to reduce waste and use eco-friendly materials, so we don’t take more from the earth than we give back. I’m thrilled to see the future of design moving in this direction.

It is particularly interesting to see how these new materials and developments will affect the future of design, especially considering the social aspect. How can designers reduce our impact on the planet while also considering human factors, such as generating connections between us, improving our way of living, and facing social challenges, such as loneliness and stress?

I’m looking forward to seeing these ideas explored through talks and discussions at this year’s symposium, held at our 3daysofdesign Hub in Refshaleøen. This June, we will also be introducing the first multi-brand exhibition, TRANSCENDENCE, which explores this theme. Through exhibitions, workshops, events, and podcasts, visitors are invited to rediscover materials and their significant role in shaping a more sustainable future.

What vision do you have for the future of the festival?

Managing Director Signe Byrdal Terenziani (c) 3daysofdesign

In the past, form, function, and aesthetics were often primary considerations. But in recent years, we have been heading in a direction that focuses on more human-centered and planet-friendly design. 3daysofdesign is a platform of opportunities where people can make decisions as to what is best for humans and the planet, and we must continue to be a meeting place for design enthusiasts to come together to share ideas.

We dream of seeing new designs that are not only aesthetically pleasing and functional but also sustainable and meaningful. It’s important to focus on what’s relevant to us as living beings. Design has the potential to influence how we connect with the environment, our surroundings, and each other. 3daysofdesign is not just about launching new products, but about debating how we can make a difference, inspiring others to think differently, and using design to work towards a better future.

I take immense pride in hosting a festival that’s a global platform of exposure for rising stars, designers, artists, artisans, and other creatives. Where dreamers, doers, and the design-curious converge. My deepest desire is that 3daysofdesign can, in some way, help their dreams become a reality.

How do you personally interpret this year’s theme of 3daysofdesign? What does it mean to you? Can you even sleep on the night before 3daysofdesign?

(c) 3daysofdesign
(c) 3daysofdesign

To me, this year’s theme, DARE TO DREAM, is an optimistic view towards a future that’s enriching for both people and the planet. Dreams offer a playground for the imagination, free from the restraints of reality. It’s where people can explore ideas previously impossible. Challenge the status quo, re-write the rules, and reach further.

Personally, I love to enter a dreamscape where I can tune out the world outside my window and tune into my intuition, the people, and things that matter most to me. It’s where I can envision ideas that have yet to see the light of day. And it’s a place where I often go. In the wise words of Einstein, “Imagination is a preview of life’s coming attractions.”

As a theme for the festival, by encouraging people to dare to dream, it’s because dreams allow people to see things from other perspectives, achieve creative breakthroughs, pursue pioneering solutions, and inspire others to do the same. I hope the theme will create connections between creators and consumers, empowering the industry to progress by working together towards a better future.

On the night before 3daysofdesign, it’s always hard for me to sleep because I can’t stop dreaming. I’ve been counting the days up until those famous three days, and I’m so much looking forward to it.

Will I sleep? No, but I can dream!

Thank you so much for the interview Signe.

Stefan Nørd
Stefan Nørdhttp://www.NordicWannabe.com
Skandi-Podcaster, Content Creator & Nordic Pioneer, der ein modernes nordisches Leben führt, sein Zuhause skandinavisch einrichtet und mit viel Leidenschaft über seine Reisen durch Nordeuropa berichtet. 2011 war ich das erste Mal in Norwegen und habe mein Herz an Nordeuropa verloren. Diese Liebe hält nun schon viele Jahre mit Hygge, Einrichtungstipps, Rezepten und vielen Zimtschnecken.

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