There’s a reason modern classics from Scandinavia continue to be popular today. Copenhagen is a city that embraces its design history on almost every corner. It’s hard not go to anywhere and find a Series 7 chair by Arne Jacobsen in a cafe or visit one of his buildings. The natural materials and soft forms remain inviting and versatile after all these years.
We were in the city to celebrate the 60th anniversary of designer Poul Kjærholm’s PK22 lounge chair and the PK61 coffee table for the furniture company Fritz Hansen, but we saw much more. From a seaside home tour to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, here are the highlights of this exploration into Danish design.
Fritz Hansen Headquarters
The fast-paced trip began with a visit to Fritz Hansen headquarters. After a brief presentation on Kjærholm, we met with several craftspeople who work on the various collections. The lead upholsterer showed us how he wraps the PK25, a lounge chair made from a single piece of steel and finished in flag rope. Once he completed that, he presented covering the PK9 dining chair’s plastic mold in leather.
The PK22 is available in both leather and wicker seating. The expert weaver guided us through her process making the seat. A few members of our group were nominated to give weaving the wicker cord a try. Overall, the results were good.
It was hard not to get a little distracted by Arne Jacobsen. The upholsterer invited us to take some Egg chairs for a test drive. These particular models were experiments with a variety of fabrics. Aside from various leathers and wools, he shared with us the iconic design in a Josef Frank fabric.
The Home Tour
While experiencing the process and trying out a chair in a workshop is fun, there’s nothing quite like seeing all the furniture in an actual home. Located in the village of Snekkersten outside of the city, we visited the house of a creative family, the mother is a graphic designer and the father is a film producer. The dwelling was worthy of any die-hard Fritz Hansen fan. Sculptures and paintings complemented the furniture from the Kjærholm collection and Arne Jacobsen.
The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Located 25 miles north of Copenhagen, our last stop occurred at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. The Louisiana is known for its mix of established and contemporary voices in art. The museum's name comes from the founder's three wives. All the women happened to be named Louise. The sculpture garden features around 60 pieces that include artists Alexander Calder, Jean Arp, Henry Moore, and Isamu Noguchi.
The original house has since been converted into galleries, but the founder commissioned Jørgen Bo and Vilhelm Wohlert to build more gallery space when it opened in 1958. The two architects designed modern extensions with floor-to-ceiling windows. It was said that their buildings for the Louisiana were inspired by Richard Neutra and California modernism.
The visit to the Louisiana was an accumulation of the entire trip. Art, architecture, and even views of Sweden from across the water made a lasting impression. So never doubt that when you visit another country, you can learn a lot in just a few days.