Lighting design

Mastering bespoke lighting design in Copenhagen – Meet Mernøe

Mernøe is a family-based lighting company founded in 2020. They design lamps using classic materials and produce them locally by order in Copenhagen.

In the heart of Østerbro, Copenhagen, the family-run studio Mernøe merges tradition and innovation to craft bespoke lighting solutions. Founded by designer and engineer Morten Mernøe, alongside his sons Ulrik and Jakob, Mernøe specializes in creating atmospheric lighting through the harmonious interplay of wood and LEDs.

Their journey began from a personal need, leading to the creation of their first design, No. 1, which has since gained international recognition. This interview with Jakob August Mernøe delves into the inspirations behind their designs, the importance of bespoke craftsmanship, and how their work embodies Danish heritage. As Mernøe continues to expand its design portfolio and foster new partnerships, their commitment to quality and custom solutions sets them apart in the competitive lighting market.


Who is Mernøe? How did your design journey begin?

Jakob August Mernøe:

“We founded Mernøe in 2021 as a family project – me, my brother Ulrik and our father Morten. The idea came from a personal need in 2018 when our father designed a new pendant for his dining table. A couple of years after, we decided to display our first design called No. 1.

Our designs are based on an interplay between wood and LEDs aiming to create an atmospheric and inviting light around a table. The wood serves as shade and reflector and transforms the LED temperature depending upon species. Therefore, we typically customize the selection of materials with the buyer for the specific project/room. All parts are processed by local artisans close to our studio, and we surface treat all parts by hand in our studio before assembling. We only produce by order and customize materials for each piece.

N.1 by Mernøe _ bespoke lighting 2

As a mechanical engineer, Morten takes special interest in the detailed practicalities of his designs, and craft all individual joints, connections and parts himself. Creating a Mernøe lamp is a technical process that require specific knowledge about how all parts affect each other.

Mernøe works with private clients, showrooms, interior designers, and contract developers. Besides their standard designs, they offer custom design solutions for various projects.” 

Why have you chosen to focus on bespoke lighting?

Jakob August Mernøe:

“Morten has been working on custom projects most of his career, developing and inventing design and engineering for different types of projects. To him it was only natural to keep doing so. Making bespoke lighting make our role as a company brand very important in the process between the client and production. Each lamp is made in close dialog with the client who has specific wishes and demands that affects our work and collaboration with suppliers.

N.2 by Mernøe _ bespoke lighting

We love this process because it makes each individual lamp a standout project on its own. Also, our interest in contract projects often require a certain amount of flexibility when it comes to customization, and we see it as an interesting challenge each time we have to adapt to a new situation/location. Besides, it’s with great humbleness and respect that we only produce what is asked from us and nothing more.”

In the diverse lighting market, what do you believe are the essential factors for differentiating and providing a distinct product?

Jakob August Mernøe:

“Our design process is very intuitive and not focused on a certain market demand. To us this makes the process more fun and free and typically makes us most satisfied with the results.”


How do your products embody Danish heritage? Which aspects characterize it?

Jakob August Mernøe:

“First of all, wood and brass are not uncommon in Danish design tradition. Denmark has a long list of incredible designers who has experimented with these materials, and challenges their capabilities, strength and form. We see a great responsibility to keep interpretating the materials and add our own perspective. Besides Danish design also has a great history of making great quality furniture and luminaires which is past on for generations. Many Danes attach themselves to furniture they grew up with are often inherited from their parents or grandparents. That’s a really beautiful and sustainable way to build homes and we would love to see that for our designs.”


Your company is relatively new to the market. What factors have so far validated your initial ideas and business foresight?

Jakob August Mernøe:

“From an early stage we experienced interest from architects, interior designers, galleries and retailers. Most of these requests are very project specific and often require close dialogue and custom solutions. With a variety of projects such as Four Seasons Hotel New York, The Royal Danish Library, Corporate offices as well as custom design for a private yacht, has given us insight about the versatility of our products and how they are perceived.”

N.3 by Mernøe _ bespoke lighting

What are Mernøe’s future directions? Are you considering expanding into other product areas, or will you continue to concentrate on lighting?

Jakob August Mernøe:

“Our focus is lighting, and we are working to expand our design portfolio over the coming years. As for now we are launching our new pendant No. 4 which we will exhibit at EDIT Napoli this October. Our future will also entail new partnerships with international galleries and brands in different collaboration and exhibitions. 2024 is very interesting for us and we look very much forward to see you out there.”


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