A Recent Trip Leaves Us Dwelling on Denmark

A Recent Trip Leaves Us Dwelling on Denmark

By Matthew Keeshin
Highlights from a visit to the Danish capital.

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 PK25 by Poul Kjærholm was first produced in 1951. Made from a single piece of steel, the back and seat are wrapped in flag rope. 

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.

Seats and bases by Arne Jacobsen on display at Fritz Hansen headquarters in Copenhagen.  

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.

The editors were invited to participate in one of the demonstrations and weave the PK22. 

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 Hawai fabric by Josef Frank for Svenskt Tenn covers an Egg chair by Arne Jacobsen.

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 exterior of the house exemplifies the vernacular style of the neighborhood. 

The first floor of the home features an open plan that combines the kitchen, dining room, and a small study. Drop chairs by Arne Jacobsen surround a PK58 table by Poul Kjærholm. The study includes the designer's three-legged PK11 chair alongside sculptures by artists and the couple's children. 

The wicker PK22 lounge chair and a foldable PK91 stool made from steel and canvas sit by the staircase on the first floor. 

The master bedroom and bathroom are also on the main floor. 

The recessed bath and shower makes the space feel like a private spa. 

The children's bedrooms and living room are on the second floor. Two PK31 stools sit around a PK61 coffee table. 

A PK80 bench is opposite of the coffee table and sofa. 

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. 

Alexander Calder sculptures are installed at the front of the entrance of Bo and Wolhert's gallery.

The museum director's office is located near the waterfront and is situated between several boathouses. 

Architect Jean Nouvel was commissioned by the museum to build a dock in 2005. Visitors sit at the edge of a hill to enjoy views of the water.  

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. 


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