Danish design work by Arne Jacobsen. Photo courtesy of seier+seier.
One thing Copenhagen, Denmark, is well-known for its functionalist design and Neo-Modernist architecture. While buildings incorporate steel, glass, wood, natural stone, brick and gravity-defying layouts into their designs, local artists continuously make advancements with inventions like the Egg Chair and the Swan Chair. For those who want to explore Danish design in Copenhagen for themselves, here are some top experiences.
Danish Museum of Art & Design
Copenhagen is home to the Danish Museum of Art & Design, an institution focused on design and crafts. It’s home to the largest design library in Scandinavia as well as collections featuring Danish furniture; exhibits on how Chinese ceramics, English and French furniture, and 18th-century French and German porcelain influenced Danish design; original design sketches from Danish artists; 16th century ornamental prints from Europe; historical Danish posters; collections on Danish embroidery and weaving; and much more. There are also a number of rotating exhibitions, events and lectures, so check their website for more information.
Sogreni Bike Shop. Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa.
Sogreni Bike Shop
Copenhagen is home to a vibrant cycling culture, which often gets infused into other facets of local life. At Sogreni Bike Shop they specialize in creating customized, hand-built bikes that are also works of contemporary art. In fact, In the mid-1990s shop owner Soren Sogreni was asked by the Danish Museum of Modern Art Louisiana to design a bike for the museum. Order a bike for yourself based on your particular needs and wants, or browse the beautiful cycles which feature elegant brass bells, rust-proof lamps in futuristic designs and functional rubber luggage racks. The idea is to make things that are simple and are of high quality that work well and look great.
The Crystal. Photo courtesy of Rob Deutscher
A multi-faceted building with a reflective glass façade, The Crystal is a free-standing building that appears to be floating off the ground by resting on only one point and one line. The building was designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects and sits in harmony with the city, referencing nearby buildings while interacting with its people — especially cyclists who enjoy riding in and out of its many tunnel-like passages. The Crystal is extremely eco-friendly, featuring low-energy consumption (70 kWh per square meter), solar screens to reflect daylight, a roof with photovoltaic panels to generate energy, rainwater collected to flush toilets, a geothermal heating and cooling system that uses local seawater, a rooftop solar system that generates electricity and an interior Z-shape around two atria for an abundance of natural lighting.
Danish design gas station. Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa.
Charlottenlund is a Danish town and suburb of Copenhagen and the hometown of renowned Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, designer of the famous Egg Chair among other creations. Here you’ll find many architectural marvels designed by Jacobsen. Start by checking out the world’s most innovative gas station — located at Kystvejen 24 near the Ordrup and Klampenborg S-train stations — a listed Texaco Service Station that can’t be torn down due to its architectural importance. It’s nicknamed The Mushroom, a box-shaped building with an extended elliptical roof cover, molded in reinforced concrete and covered with white Meissner tiles. Look closely and you’ll notice similarities in the shape of this building to Jacobsen’s famous Ant Chair.
When in Charlottenlund, also spend time exploring Bella Vista, a housing complex known for its modern apartments, plastered white brick facade, and beautiful ocean views which can be enjoyed from individual balconies and extra bay windows. The Bellevue Theatre is another must-see for Danish Design nerds, created in Jacobsen’s signature functionalist style and said to represent “the dream of the modern lifestyle.”
Photo courtesy of Sacre Coeur
Sacre Coeur Furniture Shop
At Sacre Coeur Furniture Shop you’ll be immersed in furniture — from designer lamps to art deco mirrors to boldly printed wallpaper — in vintage and modern designs. While it’s technically a store, it’s almost like a museum of Danish design furniture and housewares and is nothing like you’ve ever seen before. Just make sure to be mindful of your wallet, as the shop will have you wanting to completely redecorate every room of your house.
Photo courtesy of Kunstakademiets
Roam Copenhagen’s Design Area
Located in Østerbro in the harbor area of Frihavn, Pakhus 48 is Copenhagen’s designated design area. Here you’ll find several designated showrooms for various Danish designers including Erik Jørgennsen, Montana, Fritz Hansen, VOLA, Kvadrat, GRID and Luceplan. From 9am to 4pm Monday through Friday visitors can see what these designers are currently working on, attend design-focused events and enjoy prime views of the city and harbor.
What’s your favorite Danish design experience in Copenhagen? Please share in the comments below.