Copenhagen - the epicentre of Design has long been on our hit list. To be honest given where our passions lie at TC* it seemed downright rude to have not visited before, but we now know why. Could it really be 'the one'?!? Would loyalty to our dear old London as 'best City in the world' be challenged forever by this trip?!
It is without doubt, a City *nearing* perfection:
The bicycle highway EVERYWHERE;
Exquisitely designed EVERYTHING;
Family life and children considered EXCELLENTLY; Delicious restaurants & cafes are all over including the best restaurant IN THE WORLD Noma
Sea, boats & rivers are only moments away WHEREVER you are;
Rush hour (mostly by bike) starts at 4.30 and ends at 5.30pm so families eat & play TOGETHER;
Christiania flourishes as an endless, permanent, GLASTONBURY;
Shops are OUTSTANDING;
Theme Park (yes even the theme park) Tivoli Gardens is BEAUTIFUL;
CPH Airport is AMAZING;
Denmark was voted HAPPIEST Country in the world; EQUALITY is taken seriously (paternity is straight down the line for women & men & everyone has the right to free education to degree level);
Architecture is DIVINE
+ DANISH PASTRIES
Could this be the City that has it all?
Yes, it's expensive - everyone pays 50% tax to support the welfare system but then it's the Country with the smallest gap between rich & poor as everyone is paid fairly (& that's high) and treated with respect - whether you are a Doctor or Refuse Collector, Waiter or Chef.
Yes, it's not always sunny; Winters are very dark and cold but then they have even solved that with HYGGE (no literal translation but simply put means lighting candles, changing all your home furnishings to soft cosy ones and getting snuggly with friends, family & wine.)
With Design at its very core, CPH is without doubt a gorgeous looking City.
DESIGN is taken seriously.
The great Masters of the 50s & 60s Juhl, Wegner, Mogensen and Jacobsen etc. created a golden age for Danish design which seems to have been now forever woven into the Country's narrative decades on; Normann Copenhagen, Hay, Muuto and &tradition ensuring Danish design remains at the forefront of all Designer's minds, and for us to experience these showrooms first hand was an honour and a treat.
Hay HQ is situated in the very Centre of the shopping district a gorgeous 2 story space with parquet floors, high ceilings displaying their full collection of Furnishings and a superfun supermarket of accessories filling one entire room.
Gubi is a high end gorgeous furniture brand & store full of high end gorgeous things. It's Art Deco LA meets 1970s Danish/Italian chic. Glamorous, decadent and sexy. The Showroom's current palette boasts a dirty pink concrete floor which highlights the bold patterns, brass & gold finishes to perfection. Sounds like it shouldn't work but it does.
&tradition recently opened their enormous Waterside warehouse showroom with vaulted ceilings and concrete floor. Designed like an art gallery the space consists of a series of cut out white 'boxes' that house sets of furniture beautifully designed and fitted with carpet & lighting changing with the season. Sadly not yet open to the public we were delighted & privileged to get to hang out here (i.e didn't want to leave /out stayed welcome)
Even more impressive than the beautiful furniture & buildings it's how things are smartly & considerately designed to have a huge impact on every day life that really impressed - clever signage by brilliant graphic design teams; cleverly designed baby chairs at restaurants that themselves look like works of art; smart playgrounds added onto the side of buildings so kids get to experience an 'epic' slide.
Little touches that quietly saturate the City with Design that makes you ponder 'why doesn't every Country do this' ?
The visit has left us fascinated about Danish design and why it's so intrinsic to their culture & way of life. Whilst it's well documented what incredible craftsmen the Vikings were we are pondering just how things came to remain & look so damn good; Journalist and blogger Marie-Louise Munter gives her view;
"I believe that our democracy, our humanistic approach and desire to produce products, designs and systems that work and last, lies deep within the Danish people. We know what functionality, form, light, simplicity, etc. does for eye, the body and our soul. Our way of designing a welfare system became our design DNA."
Indeed something deeply ingrained in the Danish psyche means you will not encounter a crappy, fake unauthentic ANYTHING.
And that's why we've already booked return flights. There's much to be learnt from those Vikings.
Just go see,Love TC x