I recently had the opportunity to visit some old friends in Copenhagen on my way to Milan for the leather show, which I attend to gather new materials for new collections.
As someone who grew up in a household surrounded by “modern Danish” design names like Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner, and Finn Juhl, a visit to the Design Museum Denmark was like an episode of “This is Your Life”. The chair exhibit alone included three of four of our household staples from my childhood home in New Jersey, as well as the Arne Jacobsen flatware pattern that looked unique and was also difficult to hold due to its nontraditional layout. Looking beyond the furniture, there is an overwhelming thread of design and which runs through just about everything in this city. Streets are kept clean and buildings, although many are very old, are well maintained. Contemporary architecture sits in subtle contrast to the traditional buildings which date back hundreds of years without the “sore thumb” effect. It is at once a traditional and very modern city. The “Louisiana” modern art museum is a great example of making use of a beautiful setting to present modern art at its best. The elevated outcropping is the perfect backdrop for the imposing Alexander Calder sculptures which look out across the water to Sweden. Inside, large scale pieces including a set of Giacometti bronzes sit alongside visual “experience art” in a way that allows the visitor to walk away with an increased appreciation for all that is modern design. Simple lines, deliberate execution, function presented in an exquisite package are all elements of what makes Danish design so appealing and long lasting.