KADK graduation diploma show


This exhibition of student work covers architecture, conservation, furniture design, product design, graphic and computer design and is the diploma show of the graduates this year from Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademis Skoler for Arkitektur, Design og Konservering (the Royal Danish Academy or KADK for short).

It is worth spending time looking at the works to assess the current state of architecture and design in Denmark and to see the phenomenal talent of the students now coming through the education system here.

It is possible to identify a number of key themes - not so much in terms of the assigned project headings but more in the sense of the concerns that are now becoming a focus of attention for young architects and designers - so in architecture one strong theme that stands out was building on marginal land … particularly open or exposed or difficult rock landscape with little vegetation. Clearly, this is, in part, a response to changes in global climate where constructing settlements further and further north may become necessary as rising temperatures and lack of rain make living at latitudes closer to the Equator much more difficult but also of course young architects from Greenland and Iceland do come to Denmark for their training and the landscape that is familiar to them is very different from the green landscape and woodlands around the Baltic.

Other clear themes on the architecture side were the use of hefty timbers for framing, rather than steel, in the roofing tradition of the warehouses of Copenhagen, and an imaginative approach to using a diverse range of facing materials. 

The work of nearly 150 architecture students are on display through two large halls and the projects are grouped in sections including Spatial Design, Urbanism and Societal Change, Ecology and Tectonics and Political Architecture: Critical Sustainability.

Throughout all the work graphics are diverse in terms of style of presentation but of an incredible high standard, as I suppose you would expect at this level and with CAD and high-quality printing available to everyone, but it was also good to see the continued use of models, some of amazing detail and complexity, rather than students just relying on computer 3D graphic modelling and rendering.

To the other side of the entrance to the building is a third large hall with the design exhibition of the work of more than 80 design students and here the disciplines include furniture design, textile design, industrial and ceramic design, production design, fashion design, typography, a section defined as game art, design and development and the largest group of students whose projects came under the heading Visual Culture and Identity.

I had to smile at a number of projects around cycling … only in Copenhagen eh? … but there were some incredibly sophisticated furniture designs with some work on modular furniture but it was also interesting to see the number of pieces that build on and take forward Danish cabinet-making traditions.

The exhibition is in the old smithy building on Holmen at the heart of the design schools on the south side of the harbour in Copenhagen. For visitors who do not know this part of the city, it is well worth spending time walking around the area looking at the industrial and naval buildings that have been taken into new use as this area has been revitalised over the last decade or so with the transfer of the area from naval dockyards to academic and residential use.

For details of opening times and so on go to the current exhibition link in the right-hand column of this site or see the KADK site. The exhibition is closed until 26th July for the Danish holiday but then opens until the 16th August.

I will return to the show once the exhibition re opens and will review some of the individual projects in more detail here on this site next month.