Elegant abode full of surprising elements

Yang Di
Nikolaj Schnoor likes design that surprises him, which is overwhelmingly obvious in his 250-square-meter apartment where elements of surprise blend with the elegance of neutrals.
Yang Di

Nikolaj Schnoor likes design that surprises him, which is overwhelmingly obvious in his 250-square-meter apartment where elements of surprise blend with the elegance of neutrals.

The 49-year-old Dane, a global chief commercial officer for eyewear brand giant Lindberg, has called Shanghai home for 17 years. The vibrant city not only provides the right base to accelerate Lindberg’s business expansion in the Orient, but its energy and multicultural scene has constantly inspired him.

His top-floor rented apartment overlooks a quiet neighborhood tucked inside the even quieter Xingguo Road.

Ironically, Schnoor rented the apartment a decade ago.

He left the apartment to buy a house on Huqingping Road. But the Dane got tired of the constant traveling from Huqingping Road to the downtown area. To his surprise the apartment was up for lease again so he jumped at the opportunity to move back to his favorite neighborhood, close to many of his good friends living nearby.

Elegant abode full of surprising elements
Dong Jun / SHINE

Nikolaj Schnoor loves the limited edition pair of aluminum armchairs created by Swedish artist Mats Theselius for Kallemo. He purchased them at an online auction five years ago.

Schnoor has created a light, airy, modern home. It’s very joyful and energy flows throughout the space. Scandinavian simplicity is evident but Schnoor boasts an artistic free spirit that gives his personal dwelling a joyful, wow factor.

“It has a big living room, that’s a must for me. I like the idea it can seat 20 guests for dining,” he said.

“Though this building doesn’t boast a skyline view outside the window, this location feels more residential and homey, exactly what I had looked for — an authentic Shanghai living experience.”

The layout was designed specifically for the way Schnoor lives. The center of the home is definitely the spacious living room, composed of a comfortable lounge area for chilling-out and a long dining table for entertaining.

The color palette is based on whites, with sparing use of colors and fun details that make the spacious interior cozy and give it a stimulating impact.

Elegant abode full of surprising elements
Dong Jun / SHINE

The center of the home is definitely the spacious living room, composed of a comfortable lounge area for chilling-out and a long dining table for entertaining.

Schnoor’s Shanghai home mirrors his personality and his interests.

He decorated and added elements to every possible corner over the years whenever he found a piece he loved. Each object has a story, remembers a journey or speaks about people and ideas.

Design is such an important aspect of his life that it felt natural to furnish the place with pieces from his favorite brands: furniture and decorative items from Armani Casa, &Tradition, MDF Italia, Fritz Hansen and Hastens.

“I grew up with Danish furniture but I don’t want to live with the same furniture like most Danish people. In my parent’s home they always mixed in Italian designs that influenced me along the way,” he said.

Schnoor may show no interest in living in a typical Danish home but he does embrace his country’s top design icons, such as the pp225 (Flag Halyard Chair).

Elegant abode full of surprising elements
Dong Jun / SHINE

Scandinavian simplicity is evident in this modern home. 

His iconic lounge chair designed by Hans J. Wegner for PP Mobler in 1950, with a frame made of solid stainless steel, gives it a rather futuristic touch and constitutes ultimate relaxation.

Schnoor believes the key point in choosing furniture is to give him a sense of feeling. They can be great pieces of design, whether they are created by a renowned designer or a creative, smart craftsman.

Evidence of his discerning eye for color, texture and shape can be found in his intelligent collection of iconic pieces.

He pointed to the limited edition pair of aluminum armchairs created by Swedish artist Mats Theselius for Kallemo.

Elegant abode full of surprising elements
Dong Jun / SHINE

Though most of his stylish furniture is from European designers, the interior is filled with a mixed collection of impressive artworks, all created by Chinese contemporary artists. 

Schnoor purchased them at an online auction five years ago. The Dane is proud he’s probably the only person in Shanghai owning this unique Swedish classic.

He loves to feel surrounded by objects that are meaningful to him and somehow speak to him.

Though most of his stylish furniture is from European designers, the interior is filled with a mixed collection of impressive artworks all come from Chinese contemporary artists.

“I don’t purchase artworks for simple decorative purposes,” Schnoor said.

“I buy them because I appreciate their uniqueness.

“Each piece produces a visual impact and an emotional message, sometimes a bit provocative and shocking."

Elegant abode full of surprising elements
Dong Jun / SHINE

Nikolaj Schnoor has lived in Shanghai for 17 years. 

Ask The Owner

Q: What’s the best thing about living in Shanghai?

A: Over the years, I have been amazed by the bustling, the drive, the dynamics and opportunities given in this city. It’s also a true metropolis in China with its level of cultural diversity and inhabitants that are moving forward with positive attitude.

Q: Describe your home in three words?

A: Danish, clean, warm.

Q: What’s the first thing you do when you get home?

A: Pat my dog Albert, pick a newspaper and take a glass of water.

Q: How do you unwind?

A: Cooking a comforting breakfast for myself and a good cup of coffee to start a day.

Q: Where do you spend most of your time at home?

A: Sitting in my favorite aluminum armchair.

Q: What’s your favorite object in your home?

A: The pair of aluminum armchairs created by Swedish artist Mats Theselius for Kallemo.

Q: Where do you source furniture?

A: Some are purchased in local shops and some are brought from Denmark.

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