Illums Bolighus

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Illums Bolighus is the large furniture or design store on the Walking Street ... or officially at 10 Amagertorv, 1160 København K. 

This is probably the best place to start if you are visiting Copenhagen and want to get an idea of the furniture and household and interior design products that are available in Denmark: what is fashionable and what will almost-certainly soon be fashionable. The store has furniture, an amazing kitchenware department, bedding, tableware, glassware ... so almost-certainly anything and everything a Dane might want to set up home.

There are also classic pieces in the store from the mid 20th century that are still in production. At the moment, they have a limited edition, newly re-issued, chair designed by Finn Juhl - the FJ 4900 Chieftains Chair - from One Collection. The original chair was shown at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild Furniture Exhibition in 1949. Juhl was beginning to react against what he described as the “empire of aesthetics” and exhibited the chair along with tools and weapons from primitive peoples to show what inspired his designs - hence the nickname for the chair.

It was the only chair in Illums Bolighus that I could not sit in and try - possibly because it was covered in pale cream leather - or possibly because the price tag was just short of £12,000.

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To be serious, this is the best place to start if you want to get a broad view of modern Danish design and a sense of the history of modern design in Denmark ... many of the finest pieces from the 20th century remain in production because the design was so good and because there is still clearly a demand for design and craftsmanship of this quality.