danish design review

It’s now more than five years since Danish Design Review started - so quite a long time for a design blog. 

From the start, the plan was to create a site more like an on-line magazine than a blog so part of the problem has been the amount posted and, unlike with a book or a magazine, it is difficult to set out related posts in any sort of rational order.

Even planning ahead, to write a number of posts and then to post them in reverse order - so they can be read in a rational sequence - is not always possible.

An alternative is to back-date posts to move them back with earlier pieces or pull older posts forward when new and relevant material is found but that causes problems with links and it’s difficult enough anyway to check and update  external links because major sites often move around their pages with each redesign. Having been on line for so long it’s interesting to see just how much sites for major museums and design companies and studios have changed and most architects now have extensive online sites to showcase current and completed projects and that was certainly not common five years ago.

Five years on, posts here are certainly longer; the subjects covered are wider and the number of photographs is building up so it is more and more difficult to find everything although the Squarespace software does have good ways to tag and link the material but these can get overloaded when a site like this covers such a wide range of subjects. A recent post here is about how these tags and categories are being rationalised and the cloud below is dynamic so it will change as and when categories are edited

To try and sort some of this out, over the coming months, there will be some major changes.

Posts will now be under clearer primary categories - design, kunsthåndværk, architecture, townscape and reviews - so it should be easier to find related posts and there will be more links to earlier material.

At the bottom of each post, links justified to the right have always been to external sites and should open in a new window but there will be more links on the left side at the bottom of a post to link back to earlier material within Danish Design Review. 

The five primary categories cover most of the material to date. Four of these - design, architecture, townscape and reviews are obvious. All that has to be added is that posts on design and architecture will focus as much on the context of why and how as the specifics of what and who and Townscape seems like a broader and more appropriate concept than planning to cover the setting of buildings and topography along with points and comments about social context so posts about how public space is used or how streets and areas develop and change and posts to assess if new buildings reflect ongoing change or initiate change.

Reviews are primarily for book and exhibition reviews although some of the posts about new products or new furniture could be seen as a review.

Art and good architecture and good design and good food all go together so there will continue to be café reviews … if you go to a museum or show room you need at least a coffee and a cake. I once read an old Baedeker guide book where it was clear that one entry for a major cathedral in France was all written from a table outside a good café opposite.

Kunsthåndværk is probably the only master category that needs some explanation and particularly for readers who are not Danish.

Craftsmanship plays a crucial role in Danish design … not just in the design of furniture and ceramics and glass or in the other applied arts but also in architecture. Look at buildings by Arne Jacobsen and you can see, in everything from staircases to door handles, that Jacobsen understood absolutely what could and could not be done in the process of constructing or making or manufacturing the parts of a new building and expected and demanded the best and often pushed skills to new levels. The best Danish designers understood and appreciated the craft techniques that are the foundation of production and many of the great classic designs were made in close collaboration with highly-skilled craftsmen and cabinetmakers. Obviously that is not unique to Denmark and Danish design but in few other countries is the tradition of craftsmanship so strong in manufacturing.

A tradition of pairing designer and maker survives in the Autumn Exhibition of the Cabinetmakers or in the annual exhibition Skud på Stammen where young student cabinetmakers are paired with established designers to produce exemplary work.

It is about good teaching and training to establish a firm understanding of craft and manufacturing skills but it is also about how those skills and knowledge and experience can be applied right from the start in the design process and onwards into manufacturing.

In this - the anniversary year of the founding of the Bauhaus in Germany - it is important to remember that although the Bauhaus is now associated generally with what is seen as truly modern architecture and with early modern industrial design and production, all students at the school had to learn traditional handcraft techniques and each of the disciplines was lead by a designer and a master of form. After completing courses the certificates stated that students were qualified as journeymen so - even at the Bauhaus - the values, the terminology and the organisation of medieval craft guilds were understood and respected.

In Denmark the teaching and the application of craft skills is also about taking that knowledge forward to challenge, develop and move those skills forward. Look at the work of Statens Værksteder for Kunst in Copenhagen and you see immediately in the workshops how craft skills are not just relevant but crucial and dynamic.

However, the problem is that there is little agreement about which words to use about craftsmen and their skills. I have written about this before but seem no closer to a solution. England has a Crafts Council but although this covers ceramics and glass and furniture and so on, it does not include building crafts that in Denmark seem equally valid, The word craftsman is generally avoided as sexist and to talk about crafts, not only in England but also in Germany and Denmark, still conjures up the wrong images of craft fairs and things like jam.

Artisan and artisanal have been badly used and over used by advertising people so are somehow tainted and to call someone an artisan in England still sounds like a thinly-disguised insult about someone's class or position in society.

I like the word maker and that relates to the Swedish use of form and formgiver with the idea that it is the person who realises the design. The magazine Form was founded in 1905 and Svensk Form is the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design.

But the terms maker or form or formgiver, in the sense of making or giving form to a design, are not used generally in Denmark.

So, as the comparable Danish organisation to Svensk Form is Danske Kunshåndværkere & Designere - the Danish Association of Craftsmen and Designers, it seems sensible, for a site about Danish design, to use the Danish word Kunsthåndværk.

a new year .......


The start of a new year so as good a time as any to plan new things.

The site has now been up and running for more than five years so now it can be difficult to find things and some links may be broken - particularly links to external web pages. A priority over the next month or so will be to check that tags and categories are doing what they should do and to think about ways to index or at least group more posts together. For a start, book reviews and exhibition reviews will be moved into new separate folders so indexing and scrolling through should be easier and faster.

A series of posts, started a year or so ago, on Danish Chairs that were designed in the 20th century will continue with more added to the time line and new photographs will be added to some of the earlier posts where that’s possible.

The cloud of words above is actually links to categories so do try exploring a few. It also shows where maybe I need to cover a bit more … so photography seems to get short shrift as do product design and design stores so maybe that should suggest a few more topics for the coming months. Making a similar cloud for he Copenhagen News side showed that there were some odd inconsistencies so on one side it was glass + ceramics and on the other glass & ceramics so that has been sorted out. The Squarespace software means the cloud above is dynamic so will automatically update if I make any changes. Clever.

What is planned is a new and parallel series of posts on chairs designed and made since the start of this century to look at some of the most interesting … to look at new forms and new styles and, where possible, it might be an opportunity to talk to designers, craftsmen and workshops about some of the background to how these new designs evolved.

There is a longer post about changes on the Copenhagen news side of the blog.


Danish chairs of the 20th century


Over the last couple of months, posts have been added here for just over 60 Danish chairs from the last century with a brief assessment for each that focuses on details of form and construction and, where possible, puts the design into a wider context.

A third of these chairs were designed by Hans Wegner but that reflects the number of chairs he designed and, of course, his importance as a master of innovation who, as a designer, continually pushed the boundaries for what could be done and how and why.

The series was inspired by the chairs in the permanent collection of Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen where a new display was opened just over a year ago. A selection of the chairs is now shown in a well-lit arrangement in a dedicated gallery where the chairs are set, each in its own display case, so it is possible look at the design without distraction and, with the chairs raised up off the floor, it is possible to look closely at how the chairs are constructed and to appreciate the techniques of the carpentry - the way that the separate parts are cut, shaped and fitted together - the finish of the wood, the use of metal for parts of the chair or, with some, the whole frame, the appearance of new materials such as plywood or plastic and, in many of the chairs, the superb quality of the workmanship.

This gallery at the design museum presents to the visitor a key body of research material on open access with extensive labels and information panels but in addition the museum catalogue is available on line so it is also possible to look up furniture in the collection by date, period, maker, dimensions or materials and type and the index also means that it is possible to search for information or images on other furniture by the same designer or the same maker that is not currently on display but is in the collection.

It was also crucial for these recent posts here, on this web site, that last year saw the republication of the four volumes on the cabinetmakers' annual exhibitions - Dansk Mobelkunst Gennem 40 År - published by Lindhardt og Ringhof. Edited by the designer Grete Jalk, these were published first in 1987 and record the exhibitions that were held in Copenhagen each year, from 1927 through to 1966, to show to the public the latest and the very best of Danish furniture.

For the first decade, the exhibitions were held at a number of different venues in Copenhagen but from 1937 through to the last exhibition in 1966 all but one year, when the exhibition was at Charlottenborg, and a year at the Forum - a total of 28 exhibitions were held at the design museum - then called Kunstindustrimuseet. This was remarkable and spot lights the ongoing role of the museum in showing current design - not simply to curate the design of the past - and one reason why the present exhibition Dansk Design Nu - looking at Danish design this century - is so important.

With posts here on 60 chairs, and the intention to add more, then some sort of index was necessary and arranging that by date it also works as a time line for chairs from the 20th century. At the very least, this proves that there was not a clear or straightforward linear progress through those decades so it raises interesting questions about the age of designers or at which point in their career they produced a specific chair and whether, whatever their age, they were pushing boundaries or exploring for themselves a new trend or a new material.


The display of chairs in Designmuseum Danmark provides an amazing opportunity to not only look closely at the chairs but the lighting also meant that it is possible to take photographs of details. This recording of details of the joinery and the materials is more and more important as fewer and fewer people learn about timber or working with wood when they are at school and it is not an aspect of design covered in many blogs.

For obvious reasons the measurements of the chairs have been given where possible. It is important to have some way of judging the scale of a design and that is rarely obvious from a photograph and particularly difficult outside the context of a room.

But also, as I looked at more and more of the chairs and looked at the photographs from the cabinetmakers' annual exhibitions it was obvious that it is now difficult to understand these pieces of furniture in anything like an original setting and that becomes more difficult with time as these pieces of furniture move from being everyday objects that people have in their homes and sit on to be what are now valuable collector or museum pieces.

Some of the designers and architects themselves were clearly concerned about the setting of their furniture … from the earliest exhibitions in the late 1920s the cabinetmakers used room settings and much of the furniture was aimed at a specific customer and therefore, to some extent, a known type of room … from a young couple moving into a small, new two-room apartment through to a wealthy middle-class family buying bookshelves and a desk by Klint or chairs for a large terrace or garden … so all designed with at least some idea of the space or the setting where the furniture would be used. Some designers went further. Poul Kjærholm designed with meticulous care the settings of his furniture in exhibitions and shop displays and Finn Juhl chose the colours against which his furniture was shown … producing drawings with colour wash of the room settings for the Cabinetmakers' Exhibition.

This first selection has focused on key chairs of the classic period of modern Danish furniture, so with just 60 not even, at this point, all the most famous chairs but a reasonable selection of different types of chair and different materials and a range of designers. One problem is that it panders to the idea that Danish designers focus on chairs and it reinforces a general misconception that somehow the only period of great design in Denmark was that so called Classic period of the 1950s and 1960s. So the next stage for this web site will be to look at recent chairs, since the turn of the century, and present them in a similar way … looking at form and construction and context … and possibly then to look at other types of Danish furniture in the same way … so sofas and tables might be next.

This should form a growing body of material with a chance to experiment with indexing and cross referencing and posts will be updated to add to entries if more information or better photographs become available or to add more links to archive drawings and historic images.

changes to the blog


Some changes have been made to this site over the last moth or so. Probably the most obvious is the change of name from Nordic Design Review to Danish Design Review.

There were two reasons for the change. When I moved to Copenhagen, just over two years ago, the site was already set up and running so, in effect, moved with me and somehow, coming from England to live here, I had a slightly optimistic plan that I would be zooming off to Oslo or Stockholm and even Helsinki … after all it only takes twenty minutes to get out to Kastrup and from there SAS and Norwegian Air can take me anywhere or everywhere. In reality, of course, I got sidetracked, exploring more and more here, trying to understand the architecture and trying to keep up with all the exhibitions and galleries and museums on this side of the Øresund. So, even Malmö has been getting short shrift let alone anywhere further away. Now I’m trying to be more realistic. 

Another and more interesting conclusion was that although some design companies are taking on the idea of being Nordic, as part of their broader approach to marketing, it is still not a term that readers seem to use in searches when they go to the internet. Neither readers here in this region nor readers from other countries. If you ask people if they feel that they are Scandinavian they think for a moment, say perhaps so, but they are Norwegian or Swedish first and foremost but if I ask if they think of themselves as Nordic, the normal reaction is to look slightly perplexed, as if they have never been asked that before, and then say no, not Nordic, but Danish or no Finnish or whatever. So I’m not sure how often ‘Nordic’ is used as a search term that brings readers to the site.

When I moved here, web site analytics showed me that just over 1% of my readers were from Denmark. Reader figures have tripled over the two years but now up to 40% of readers each month are from Denmark so I guess, in part, the change of name also reflects that.

Site analytics are curious and often not what I expect. For instance, when the site started, by far the largest number of visitors came via an Apple computer and Safari. I post to the site from a Mac Pro, using a large screen, and tend to design around what I see on my screen so I was already aware that that means I push the limits for anyone coming to the site on an iPad or phone but the number of readers using Chrome has increased steadily and although Squarespace, the company I use to host the site and whose templates I use, is good at scaling automatically, I need maybe to do more to take into account a wider range of users on different platforms.

Note that review and Copenhagen notes are actually set out as self-contained blogs … clicking on the ‘logo’ or on REVIEW or COPENHAGEN NOTES on the top bar will take you to the most recent post in each chain of posts and the calendar below each ‘logo’ is one way to look at and select posts by title or, of course, date.

The major change here is the introduction of Copenhagen Notes for quick posts but also with site housekeeping like this, and notes will become a place for the type of posts normally found on a design blog - so more general thoughts and ideas and reminders about exhibitions or new design shops or new designers or design companies. The journal section has been renamed as review, simply to move closer to the original idea for the site - to write and publish reviews and longer pieces, that try to discuss in detail the how and the why and the context for architecture and design now.

colours for this blog and its logos


With recent changes to this site there was a reason to look again at the typography and the layout of its pages and a chance to use some different colours. That meant thinking about which colours for me stand out in Copenhagen with a clearer appreciation of the city now I live here year round through all seasons.

Water around the city - the seascapes of the sound - and water in and through the city - the water of the harbour, the lakes and the fountains of Copenhagen - along with the strong clear light, means that clean, deep blues are a strong influence on design and architecture here along with the softer distinct slate green colours found in the work of Arne Jacobsen and in many of the more recent buildings in the city with opaque panels of blue or green or with acres of glass picking up the tones reflected up off the water. Cream and sand colours, of many of the historic buildings, are important and, of course, greys tending to purple of the cobbles and setts contribute a lot to the colour and tone of the townscape but in the end, to my surprise, I realised that it is the dark yellow and deeper colours, from ochre through to the deep oranges and darker reds of iron oxides, used for so many of the painted buildings, that has made a real impact.

Of course, these strong earth colours are not unique to Copenhagen but are found throughout Denmark and in Oslo and Bergen and from Malmö to Stockholm and beyond, so they are truly Scandinavian colours and part of a strong colour palette that designers and architects see around them every day.


a new view


I’ve moved. I’ve crossed the water from one side of the harbour in Copenhagen to the other.

And, much to the amusement of the boatmen, quite a bit of the move was done using the harbour ferry to carry paint and lights and bags of tools backwards and forwards because both the old apartment and the new place are within a block of landing stages of the ‘harbour bus’.

Although it’s not easy to balance an aluminium stepladder in one hand and a bucket of mops and brushes in the other while trying to hold a travel card against the card reader to check in and check out, it was certainly easier than trying to carry the same things on the busy metro.

This is the view from my desk … or to be more accurate it’s the view I have if I lean back in my desk chair. In the old place, if I looked up from cooking, I looked straight at the dome of the Marble Church and from my desk there I looked across the Kastellet so, if you know Copenhagen, pretty hard to beat but the new apartment has wide, full-height windows that look straight into the trees of the churchyard and the square is quiet with no through traffic so the hope is that there will be every inducement to sit and think, get through a stack of books that are waiting to be read and, hopefully, to write.

This is all trying to explain why there have been no posts recently but the pause has also been a chance to think about how to move forward with this blog and with the companion site Copenhagen By Design. There will be some changes over the next few months and hopefully more posts … as long as I don’t spend too much time staring out of the window and day dreaming.

exhibitions on design and architecture

The list of exhibitions on design and architecture has just been updated. 

A jpg file to print out at A4 can be downloaded from the link to exhibitions on now

Learning from Japan continues at Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen and The Century of the Child is at the Design Museum in Helsinki until the middle of March.

There is a major exhibition at MAK, the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna, on the work of the Austrian architect Josef Frank. He was a founding member of the Vienna Werkbund but emigrated to Sweden in 1933 where he became a leading designer of furniture and textiles for Svenskt Tenn in Stockholm.

not being Mr Nobody

Back in the summer I had an email from Sweden from a reader of the blog who wanted to know more about who I am … it simply said

 ‘I just wonder who "you" and "I" and "me" are?’

I wrote back to say that I was not being deliberately mysterious. It is partly because I’m not keen on all the blogs that go on about ‘I saw this’ or ‘I drank that’ as the opening line although I have been writing a bit more like that recently because that seems to be what readers want. It’s not that there is anything wrong with sharing recommendations for good places to grab a coffee but I am still thinking about trying to build the site so it is more like a magazine or journal and it seemed better that I wrote posts like an anonymous editor. That’s not to mean that writing has to be opinion free - just the opposite as the best editorials express but justify a distinct viewpoint.

As I thought more about the email I realised that actually it is a reasonable question because readers need some background information to help them judge the validity of a comment or to work out why one view was adopted and not another. And also, of course, I have to confess that I’ve seen an article or a post about interior design on other blogs and been slightly curious about where the author lived and what their real taste is like when it comes to decorating their own home. 

Music critics don’t have to be able to play an instrument or write a score to be able to make sound judgements and write well … but it helps to give their pieces credibility. That thing about being able to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. 

And of course when it comes to writing about design or architecture it can be too easy to avoid writing about something you don’t really like but the reader then has to piece together why something they think interesting or important has been omitted or, worse, why something they like or admire has been slammed. Often that comes down simply to personal taste so the reader has some interest in understanding more about the personal taste of the author.

The previous post here was about the way I use or struggle to use social media and this is partly because I’m not from that generation that wants to share everything. The idea of a selfie still seems odd: if I go to a fantastic place I know that I’ve been there and I don’t need a photo of me standing in front but I will take a photo of the place itself to remind me of what it was like. Good attitude - bad memory.

But here goes. Just a bit about the “me” - the person behind the blog ……..

My name is John Heward. I’m an architectural historian by training but a social historian for much of my career and I moved to Copenhagen over a year ago to do research for a book about royal architecture in Denmark in the early 17th century but I’m not completely stuck in the past - I’m keen to write about craftsmanship, modern design and modern architecture for a general but curious reader rather than for professional designers or architects. There are plenty of magazines and books that give a broad overview of a period or a trend or a style that have plenty of photographs and there are extensive and expensive studies and monographs of architects or designers but not so much in that middle ground that talks about why something is well designed or why a building does or does not work. 

In terms of my own taste and preferences, which obviously does influence what I write about and what I say, then I would confess that I really struggle when it comes to ‘post-modern’ design because I’m drawn to architecture that is rational and well proportioned. For me architecture and design should be functional as a prerequisite … in most cases buildings have to work to earn their places in our lives. The bottom line is really that bad design annoys and frustrates me. Being entertaining or being fun is great but that’s what comes after the rest is sorted out. Tivoli is a fantastic place for an evening and is the right place for fantasy and imagination but tiring and distracting for everyday life. Modern life is bright enough and loud enough without architecture and interiors demanding attention.


Sometimes I think buying the Wegner chairs was a bit safe but then I never get tired of the way they look amazing from every angle. Finding the right table was interesting. For several years the chairs were around an old table from Habitat that was the right size for where I was living then but I kept going into Skandium in London convinced that somewhere there was a table that was right for the chairs. On one trip, one of the staff in the shop found a picture of this table which they did not stock but had to be ordered in ... it was only as we filled out the details for the paperwork that we realised that actually the table, designed more than 50 years after the chairs, was by Wegner's daughter.

Nor am I a great one for pattern unless it comes directly from the materials used or from the techniques of manufacture … so patterns of weaving, pattern incised on a thrown pot and so on are fantastic. Flowers or wavy lines to fill a gap … not so much so. And the same with architecture so I really admire the work of David Chipperfield, John Pawson and Vincent Van Duysen. Great architecture is about understanding and mastering space, light, materials and complex functions … not about which suspended ceiling tile to use. So for architecture and design not just being rational is important but add to that honesty and integrity. Plastic is a fantastic material so why make it look like marble?


it was only when I took this photograph that I realised that, apart from the odd mug, this rug and the cushion here are the only patterns in my apartment


stoneware pottery is amazing for that strong link between hand and eye in the design process - the coffee pot is from the Winchcombe workshops in Gloucestershire and the salt-glazed jug is by the Swedish potter Svend Bayer

But my tastes and interests are not all Shaker severity and Bauhaus steel. The national bank in Copenhagen by Arne Jacobsen is an absolutely amazing building but I’m fascinated and intrigued that the same mind could produce delicate floral designs for textiles. The mind, the imagination and the decisions made through a designs development are fascinating. 

Colour, tone and texture are really important and not discussed enough when people talk about architecture and design - I’m not interested in flash brash colour for the sake of it but how using strong colour takes real confidence and colour or the suppression of colour is used in the best designs as a tool to enhance, manipulate, set moods. In much the same way I’m also fascinated by the process of making and how craftsmanship feeds into the design process.   

Photographs on this web site are important and 99% of the photographs have been taken by me because I know what I want to show for the post and why.

the every-day tableware is English stoneware, Iittala glasses and small mugs from Marimemekko because they are the perfect size for the Nespresso machine. Stuff on the windowsill - rather than a selfie I got this house back from Chiloé wrapped up in dirty socks in the ruck sack, the mid-century glass vase is from an antique dealer here in Copenhagen and the church candle and pewter holder from Mant in Læderstræde

And finally, as a historian, I’m curious about the future and what we might want or have tomorrow but really more interested in how we got to what we have today.

This all makes it sound as if I embrace the inner puritan and guess I’m guilty as charged.

Some of this was explained in the reply to that email from Sweden. 

Back in the summer her reply was -

Good reasons for your anonymity .… good luck with your ambitions and

hope you will find a way of not being mr nobody.

New Year - new social media

New Year is the traditional time for sorting things out and taking stock.

I’ve been trying to decide how much or how little to do for Nordic Design Review on social media. There are Facebook and Twitter pages for the site but I’m not really happy with either and have only kept them going because a friend who has made a career in social media from it’s very earliest stages has told me that I need to have a presence on social sites to draw traffic through to this blog.




At a basic level, I really don’t like Facebook … the layout and graphics seem cluttered and, particularly at the working end, clunky with the style of a late 90s government form and all those options for preferences and security now seem bloated and frankly ambiguous.



Twitter is cleaner and the end public page much lighter and crisper but in some ways I have more concerns about Twitter than Facebook. Twitter does seem better for keeping up with events in a more general way but it is frustrating that if you miss a few days it then seems impossible to catch up and swiping desperately through several days you realise how much stuff posted is actually completely irrelevant … it seems to be geared up to talking and not to listening.


There is another niggling doubt about Twitter that I only realised recently when I came across a photo I took at Malmö station last year. On the lower platform, where the Copenhagen train comes in, there are wide central platforms and on the outer walls, beyond each outer track along each side, there is a very clever light and image show. There appears to be a series of rectangular windows with rounded corners so it looks like the view you get from the inside of the carriage of an inter-city train. The windows stay fixed in position but the images of various landscapes scroll along so you watch a house or a distinct person standing in the landscape appear at one end and gradually move along and past in real time and these are not static images but people and traffic are moving. Some of the sequences are Swedish landscapes but there are also jungles and middle-eastern desert scenes.  Mesmerising but disconcerting because you feel that you are sitting on a train moving past the world outside but actually you are standing still on a platform waiting to get on a train and the world moves by without you. As with Twitter, you can’t say ‘hang on … that looks interesting … stop … I want to go back and have a closer look.’ In a dystopian nightmare do we actually only need Google Glass and Twitter on automatic scroll and we wouldn’t have to miss anything or, rather, miss any Twitter post or, come to that, move or think at all?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really not a Luddite: I love new technology but that doesn’t mean I have to like everything. Perhaps part of the problem is that I work all the time from an Apple Pro with a large high-quality screen and using my iPhone or iPad seems like a real step back in terms of image and graphic quality so I have to confess that this site is, without doubt, designed for the real estate of a lap top or desk screen. 

Twitter does not seem to be that popular or that widely used in Denmark. Many people I know working in design and crafts prefer to use Instagram. I do like the quality of the images with Instagram but again I’m slightly worried that to swipe-and-like through a never-ending procession of images is not the right way to see and think about let alone choose design objects. It’s OK as an index but buying furniture or whatever should really be a hands-on experience.

I don’t like Pinterest. I’ve been told it’s used by designers for a useful way to pull together ideas for inspiration or for creating a look book but it seems too like the style and quality of the free ads that used to be tucked into local newspapers … or maybe I’m just looking at the wrong sites.

I’ve just started to explore the possibilities of Flip It … it looks good and seems potentially like a good way to index and link to posts for this site and pull in links to interesting material on other sites but I'm not sure how many people use it and I'm not finding it easy to get it to look right.

All these social media sites demand a lot of work to keep them up to date and I'm not convinced about the gains. The temptation is to just drop all social media and put all that time I can claw back to focus on this web site … maybe it’s time to see if it’s big enough and ugly enough to survive on it’s own.

exhibitions for the Autumn

open&shut - the page for exhibitions in the Nordic countries on design and architecture that are open now has just been updated. This is posted as a jpg file so that it can be opened and saved or opened and printed out as a useful reminder ... that is why the exhibitions are listed first by country and then in the order in which they close.

Please remember to check with the on-line pages of the museum or gallery to confirm opening times and opening dates before you visit.

exhibitions on now - in the column on the far right below the site logo - gives access to the first level of information about exhibitions and there is a link to the jpg version open&shut at the top and the link exhibitions reviews - also in that column on the right - will bring you to an index page of the last 30 reviews. For reviews of older exhibitions use the exhibition category or search by using a key word.

housekeeping on the site

I have just made a few changes to the layout of the site to help readers get to specific posts more quickly and in a way that is, hopefully, a bit more rational. Quick links to certain sections of the site are now in the right-hand column where you will find a link to the last 30 posts as an index page, if you want to check on what you might have missed, and there is now an index to all posts by month as another way of searching.

The link to a list of exhibitions about architecture or design at Scandinavian museums and galleries has been moved down from the top navigation bar and is now under the heading current exhibitions. There are in addition, in that right-hand column, links to index pages for reviews of exhibitions and reviews of books.

Category links below the calendar will take you to the posts for, for instance, all the book reviews or all the posts about textiles, in full.

The top navigation bar is now primarily for an index to longer posts and for introductions to architects, designers, craftsmen and so on which I hope will build up to form a quick access point for basic information with links to further reading on other on-line sites. 

open & shut

Over Christmas and the New Year, I was a bit lazy about keeping up to date the list of exhibitions on architecture and design that are open at the moment in the region. Yesterday after visiting as many museum and gallery web sites as possible, the list has been revised. Just click on OPEN & SHUT in the top bar. The list is actually a jpg file and can be copied to an iPad or printed out and has been kept to a single A4 side to make it as useful as possible.

With so many galleries and museums and so many exhibitions, I found it very easy to make a mental note that it was something I wanted to see, but then realised a few weeks later that I had missed the closing date ... so I started the list just for myself but thought that it might be a useful thing to publish. Just check the museum or galleries own site before you visit to find out exact opening times ... many museums are closed on a Monday but many museums have one late-night or evening opening which can be a good time to visit.

Generally I have not included exhibitions of paintings, drawings or sculpture unless they are closely related in some way to architecture and design. If I have omitted any exhibitions in the region that you think should be added then please contact me by email and I will amend the list. If you click on the heading of any post or the Comment tag at the bottom of any post, it will take you to a comments box that is forwarded on to me by Squarespace who host the site.