"Quality is a funny concept. We tend to think of it as being associated with handcraft. But quality is also about your attitude toward design. Craftsmanship is just as much about how you run the machines that are now necessary for economic viability."
Born in Denmark, Niels Bendtsen and his family immigrated to Canada in 1951. In place of a formal design education, Bendtsen trained as an apprentice for his father, who designed and built Scandinavian furniture. Through working with his father, Bendtsen gained valuable skills and a respect for non-industrial, hand-built traditions, but he was also intrigued by new technologies and ways to satisfy increasing demand. Between 1963 and 1972, Bendtsen had his own retail store where he sold his father's furniture, as well as imported Scandinavian designs. He designed small items for the store, but it wasn't until he was in his early thirties that he truly began designing furniture. Dissatisfied with the quality and limited functionality of the furniture he received from his overseas manufacturers, Bendtsen sold his store, moved to Europe and became a full time designer.