Copenhagen’s Design Philosophies: A sneak peek inside Design Museum Denmark

Copenhagen’s Design Philosophies: A sneak peek inside Design Museum Denmark

One of the best design destinations in the world: Copenhagen, Denmark. But what makes a Danish design? Here’s what you can expect at Design Museum Denmark. Come with me on a sneak peek inside…

As a designer, Copenhagen was on my dream ‘visit list’ for quite some time. An undeniably iconic destination for design-lovers and architectural magpies, I was very keen to visit (pre-Covid, of course).

We have Denmark to thank for so many design greats; from the iconic brands Hay and Georg Jensen to toymaker legends, Lego and the fashion powerhouse, Stine Goya. I’m sure you’re familiar with so many more! It’s clear to see they’re doing something incredibly right with regards to design. The country’s output is phenomenal with Copenhagen, in particular, heralding the arrival of so many brilliant designers & brands.

Situated in Denmark, Copenhagen is hailed ‘the happiest city in the world’. I believe the Scandinavian design philosophies play an incredibly important part in that. I’ll give you a bit of a photographic tour of my highlights from the Design Museum Denmark. You can also expect a few snippets on the design philosophy and my personal insights into Danish design as we go along…

‘Scandi style’ is a phrase bounded around oh-so frequently. It has been considered quite the ‘trend’ for a while now. But what are the foundations, what does it actually represent?

I guess you could say Scandinavian and Danish design can be seen with 3 characteristics: functionality, simplicity, and form – think clean lines!

Scandi designs always seem to be harmonic within the surrounding environment, and that’s certainly an apt reflection of the harmony felt when you’re in the city. Think of London or New York… Bustling, busy, perhaps even a bit panic-inducing?! For the most part, my experience of Copenhagen was quite the opposite.

Another philosophy of Scandinavian and Danish design is that things should be made to last rather than be replaced. I personally like to champion this too where possible. In a world where issues of sustainability, preservation of and appreciation for our resources are increasingly pressing, surely the Scandi way of thinking is imperative.

Amongst all the exhibitions and rooms, Design Museum Denmark explores the history of furniture. In particular, there’s a section on chairs. You might think this is a trivial thing to focus on but Danish chairs have a hefty history behind them with plenty of design variations to be explored too. Through examples and a timeline of sorts, this section also highlights the success of worldwide brands/designers such as Vitra, Eames, Arne Jacobsen, Philippe Starck and Tom Dixon.

The striking tunnel of illuminated shelves is strangely overwhelming. Inside each nook is a chair. A real-life piece, showcasing the development and distinctions of each design. As the tunnel detects motion, the lights come alive and pulse with documentary footage on display at the very end of the tunnel.

Needless to say, it’s difficult for a design-lover to choose their ‘favourite’ chair in this exhibition… But this twisted stool caught my eye with how it appears to defy gravity. For the way it combines form and functionality alongside a simplistic but stunningly unique design, this was definitely one of my favourite finds!

Continuing the chair exhibition, there’s a strong focus on furniture. Walking through this space, you can spot so many pivotal design pieces from the world of Scandi interiors. There are also some really striking installation pieces including a section on fashion, sculpture and appliances too.

Within Design Museum Denmark there is, of course, a whole host of artwork and graphic design. Given a lot of designers start out producing graphics, this makes for a really strong collection within the museum’s offerings. It’s great to see a mix of abstract, punchy work and more interpretative, fluid pieces.

Not neglecting any creative area, ceramics and pottery are also featured. So many lovely colours, finishes and glazes!

Be sure to stop at the on-site cafe and the cracking gift shop – It’s full to the brim with work from both established and independent Danish designers.

Design Museum Denmark is currently temporarily closed and under renovation, with hopes to reopen in 2022. That gives me a perfect reason to revisit Copenhagen and explore everything all over again in the future! When we visited, entry was actually free for students. If you fancy visiting, check out their website and plan your future trip.

To check out which other destinations feature high on my dream ‘visit list’, check out my about page! I’ve also got some other posts about travel that you may enjoy or be sure to check out the design category if you want more of this.

Is Copenhagen now up there on your dream visit list? Have you been on any great city breaks in the past? I absolutely loved Denmark so do let me know any recommendations you have so I have something to daydream about…

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