Galleristen Maria Foerlev: ”Jag vill att mitt hem ska vara som en varm handske”

Left: ”A vase and a lamp combined designed by Soft Baroque and from the gallery. The lamp comes with a remote that can change the colour of the light, from disco night light to calm coloured shadows of flowers on the wall.” Right: ”Me under a Street Lamp by Danish artist FOS, whose designs we have in the gallery. The brass screens give the most beautiful warm light.” Above: ”Our living room in which we really live - my kids lie on the carpet more than they sit in the sofa. For movie nights we turn on the projector and move the sofa modules together to form a big sofa bed.”

Maria Foerlev grew up in a house built and decorated by Arne Jacobsen. She likes to surround herself with the contemporary design that she works with–and is convinced the things we have around us affect our lives.


”My home is my foundation. It reflects where my family and I have been and where we are now. Sometimes 10 schoolboys will be in the kitchen on a food raid, at other times the whole family will lie on the carpet in the living room reading. Sometimes a teen will cry madly, others we will all be laughing together. It’s a frame around life and I want it to be like a warm glove”, gallery owner Maria Foerlev says about her Copenhagen home.

Maria grew up outside Copenhagen in a house that Arne Jacobsen built for her grandfather. Arne Jacobsen and Maria’s great grandfather bought all interiors at auctions. Almost all styles was represented, Maria says. ”A cabinet which used to belong to the filmmaker Ole Olsen was especially magical. Inside was a small ivory ship made by inmates during the Napoleonic wars, rope made by their hair… I would say it was a home with a lot of stories.”

In her own home, the frame for the stories made are white–the walls, floors and curtails–giving a calm base for the colourful designs that Maria typically likes. She doesn’t like cluttered surroundings, so sometimes when new things arrive, things have to go. As Maria works with contemporary design, it’s her priority at home too. Being surrounded by the designs of the people she works with adds personal meaning for her.

But Maria loves the history of design as well. ”Looking at auction catalogues is one of my favourite hobbies.” Mainly, Maria looks for designs created from the 60’s and up to present day. She focuses on designers that have been mostly overlooked. ”Creating great design and branding your own work takes very different skills and sometimes you can find great work by someone who kept their work to themselves. For me it’s like a treasure hunt.”

Maria opened Etage Gallery in 2013 and works mainly with artists and architects who creates functional objects and work conceptually. Most of the pieces in the gallery calls for human interaction in order to understand their real value.

”I try to create scenarios where ideas are translated into aesthetics–in order to push the notion that aesthetics influences our ideas,” Maria explains. She describes Etage Projects as the sum of the experience she had before opening the gallery, studying design and art history at an auction house in London and architecture at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, running an art gallery with drawings and a store selling Rudolph Steiner toys for children. ”The red thread is the belief that what and who we are surrounded by, creates us.” To the themeauction >

Left: ”A corner of our kitchen with a totem sculpture/planter and a chair by Gerrit Rietveld, a designer who I greatly admire. When he made this chair - a radical idea in the time of Biedermeier furniture , he changed the design history.” Middle: ”In my library corner, sitting under a Hue Mirror by Sabine Marcelis and Brit van Nerven and a book shelf/sculpture by Guillermo Santoma from the gallery. Right: ”Our kitchen table. The stools have patches of glow in the dark spots, which light up when the light goes down.”

Left: ”You might cut yourself if you sit on this chair by Spanish architect Guillermo Santoma. It’s more a sculpture of a chair. This was a part of an exhibition we made with him called ‘Mirage’ - 10 glass chairs placed in 3 tons of sand and neon lamps.” Middle: ”A corner from my bedroom. My bed is surrounded by an artwork, a silk curtain in all colours of the rainbow for lovely dreams. The lamp is found at an auction and is or is perhaps not made by Franz West.” Right: Favorite workstation and a bit of trompe l’oeil - A cabinet made by Soft Baroque in bubinga and bubinga digitally transferred onto silk."