KADK graduates and UN Sustainable Development Goals


Shown in this outdoor exhibition are seventeen innovative study programmes or research projects by graduate students from the Royal Academy Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation and each represent one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Rigsdagsgården - the courtyard immediately in front of the parliament building in Copenhagen - is an amazing public space that is easily accessible for everyone and has a regular series of open-air exhibitions but, more important, given the subject of this exhibition, it brings these problems - and the urgent need to find potential solutions - right to the doorstep of national politicians.

These are innovative and imaginative projects that show architectural, design-led or conservation solutions to major global problems but all are based on established design principles and the use of existing technology or of technology being developed now.

This is the best of Danish architecture and design that can and should be harnessed to tackle serious problems that have to be resolved now.

Solutions shown here are a response to huge range of serious questions including questions about:

  • how we can reclaim methane gas from melting permafrost as a source of green energy

  • how to use sustainable materials to design textiles and make them a preferred choice

  • how we create healthcare solutions for elderly citizens that involve people and maintain their dignity

  • that developing traditional handicrafts can be a starting point for women to start a local business

  • how novel solutions can ensure that people everywhere have access to clean water

  • design solutions can tackle the problem of over production of food or food waste and encourage people to share food resources to combat hunger

  • the design of lighting in the class room can be used to reduce noise levels and encourage calm and concentration in schools

  • research can find a way to use the waste from fish farms to fuel biogas energy

  • major architectural projects - changing the use of large but now redundant buildings - can reduce inequalities by enabling everyone in a community to participate

  • hemp can be an alternative to cotton because cultivation requires less water and less fertilisers

Each project is shown across two large panels for maximum impact but are repeated - two or more projects to a panel - on the side of the exhibition towards the pavement - where the text is in English.

There are important statements here from Jakob Brandtberg Knudsen, Director of the School of Architecture; Mathilde Aggebo, Director of the Design School; Rikke Bjarnhof, Director of the School of Conservation and Lene Dammand Lund, Rector of KADK. 


Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademis Skoler for Arkitektur, Design og Konservering
The Royal Danish Academy Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation

the exhibition of graduate projects from KADK in Rigsdagsgården
the courtyard in front of the parliament building in Copenhagen
continues until 30 June 2019


select any image to open in a slide show


Circular Economy


A major exhibition at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation to show fourteen projects that offer new solutions and strategies for the development of new sustainable materials along with the development of new technologies, the exploration of new approaches to building and construction and the recycling or re-circulation of materials.

“The conversion means that we need to work innovatively and experimentally on the development of new materials and the recycling of old ones, while also using our knowledge to create solutions that people actually want to use. That is the way we work at KADK, so our research and the skills of our graduates can play a major role in terms of giving people a better life without putting pressure on our planet.”

Lene Dammand Lund.


Through the Autumn there will be a series of open seminars to “draw on knowledge and experience from some of the world’s leading architects and designers in the field of circularity, who will be invited to talk about their work.”


the exhibition Circular Economy continues at KADK at Philip de Langes Allé 10 in Copenhagen until 3 December 2017


KADK Afgang Sommer’17


This weekend is the last opportunity to see the exhibition of the projects and work of this year's graduates from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation … a densely packed show of the talents and the phenomenal imaginations and skills of the students who have just completed their courses in Copenhagen.

There are profiles of the students and photographs and descriptions of their work on the KADK site.

The exhibition ends on 13th August. 

KADK, Danneskiold-Samsøe Alle, Copenhagen


At KADK on Danneskiod-Sasøes Allé in Copenhagen … an exhibition to show a wide variety of recent experiments and research projects in architecture from architects and teachers from the Royal Academy itself and from the School of Architecture in Aarhus and the School of Architecture and Design in Oslo. 

This is about research into how we can design better buildings now and in the future: “the artistic experiment is … an important cornerstone of KADK's architectural and design education and is a central part of KADK's community commitment as an educational institution. “

This is the first in what will be a biennial event and continues at KADK until 5 May 2017

Silica Visions - Round Tower, Copenhagen

Silica Visions is an exhibition of work by the students who have graduated this summer from the ceramic and glass course of the Danish Royal Academy design school at Nexø on Bornholm.

The quality of the work is impressive but what is so amazing is the diverse approaches to the materials and the extensive experimentation with techniques.

In some, strong sculptural form is the result while in others, with fractured surfaces, the pieces seem close to their origin as minerals while in the work of others, smooth trails of colour or globules of material emphasise and exploit the high temperatures required to produce all these works. 

Obviously, each student is only represented by one or at most a few pieces of their work but does indicate where, right now, their interests are focused and it will be intriguing to track careers and fascinating to see who, if anyone,  moves into commercial design work and who, in the coming years, set up studios or workshops.

Of course the exhibition is not in the Round Tower itself but in the large gallery space above the church and reached from an upper level of the tower. There is generous space to see the works and the natural light from the windows can create beautiful and at times quite dramatic effects.

gallery of images

Silica Visions continues until the 27th September

KADK exhibition of graduate work 2016

The annual exhibition of the work of graduates from KADK …  Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademis Skoler for Arkitektur, Design og Konservering… continues until the 21st August.

This is project work by 162 newly-qualified architects and 80 designers. Themes covered reflect current concerns about the environment, sustainability and, on the architecture side, adapting existing buildings to new uses or fitting new demands, in terms of evolving life style or new expectations, within an existing urban landscape. 

What is fascinating is to see that courses and projects set by academic staff clearly reflect major new concerns that the formal education and training system has to respond to now but the projects also show the personal concerns and interests of this, the next generation of architects and designers, as they grapple with and resolve these problems with huge amounts of energy and considerable imagination.

Student projects are divided into the separate teaching disciplines … so Building Design and Culture; Building Design Technology; Building and Landscape Design; Art and Design; Product Design and the work of the Institute of Visual Design … but there are recurring themes across the disciplines such as the exploration of the potential of new materials; to balance that, a focus on new ways to use traditional building materials and building techniques such as timber framing and a focus on using marginal land … both less hospitable topographies as climate change means the occupation of more extreme environments and the need to reuse difficult brown-field sites in densely built cities rather than encroaching further on agricultural land beyond a city boundary.

Over the next week or so more detailed assessments of some of the projects will be posted on this site. 



Afgangsudstilling Sommer 2016

KADK, Danneskiold-Samsøes Allé 51, 1435 Copenhagen K

continuing until the 21st August 2016 and open every day from 11.00 to 18.00

admission free

Schools and Talents at northmodern


Schools and Talents was an area of northmodern that covered, in various ways, design teaching and the work of the next generation of designers.


Københavns Tekniske Skole 

One large area showed work from KTS … the Copenhagen Technical School. 

Rather like the Autumn Exhibition of the Cabinetmakers, this exhibition paired together designers and cabinet makers, joiners and upholsters but whereas the Cabinetmakers at Øregaard were restricted by size - under an exhibition title Petit - here the given control was that the furniture had to be made in Kalmar pine from Sweden - a timber more usually associated with low-cost mass-produced furniture. 

So the 18 designs shown at northmodern were about collaboration in design and manufacture and about encouraging designers and cabinetmakers to use regionally-produced timber as an alternative to importing exotics timber with the transport costs that implies.

For more images of some of the works shown see the separate photo gallery




Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi Designskolen or the Royal Danish School of Design or KDAK for short showed a selection of graduate work including fashion and furniture. 

Avilde Sophie Holm



FSC - the Forest Stewardship Council at northmodern

Sara Held & Sigurd Karmark

Starting in 2006, the Forest Stewardship Council has held a Danish Design Award judged by a panel from the design industry. 

The competition is an opportunity to showcase young design talent and for some of the most interesting designs to be put into production. 

Five major Danish design schools participate including Arkitektskolen Aarhus, Designskolen Kolding, VIA Design & Business (tidligere TEKO Design + Business) Horsens, Kunstakademiets Arkitektskole/Kunstakademiets Designskole and Krabbesholm Højskole.

Lise Vester Pedersen



chair designed by Rasmus Warberg

Back in the Summer there was the annual diploma show at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, KADK, in Copenhagen with work from architectural students, fashion designers, jewellers, ceramicists and of course young furniture designers. It was an extensive and impressive exhibition and good to see just how much new talent is coming up through the education and training system in Denmark. 

Designs for two chairs by Rasmus Warberg, shown at the exhibition, link back to the recent posts here about the chairs designed by Finn Juhl and by Hans Wegner. Warberg’s chair came in two versions - one with leather upholstery and the other with webbing covering the seat. What was more striking was that the design also came with alternative top pieces for the back rest and these were in darker woods to contrast with the uprights of the legs and back. As with The Chair by Wegner, the uprights of the back are not housed into a flat underside of the back bar but the curve of the back is taken down into stubs (an ugly word for a very attractive feature) to form a smooth transition between back and upright.

Note also the high-quality work on the leather upholstery where it fits snugly around the back upright and also around the top of the front legs that stand slightly proud of the top of the seat. It is good to see that craftsmanship of a high quality can still form a key starting point for contemporary Danish furniture design.

KADK teaching collection of chairs

For Kultur Natten, KADK - Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademis Skoler for Arkitektur, Design og Konservering - the Royal Academy School - opened their teaching collection of chairs. In the space above the main entrance, the amazing collection includes examples of Danish classic designs from the 20th century along with chairs from the Netherlands, other European countries and the USA. Many of the pieces have been clearly well used and must have been donated by individuals and curiously, the knocks and marks on some, made them more rather than less interesting for judging the designs. After all, these chairs were designed and made to be used … not to be set as a pristine example behind glass in a museum.

One to One

An exhibition of selected works from projects by architectural students on the master’s programme from 2012 to 2015. The models have been chosen to show how students approach challenges set in the different workshops. Some of the schemes are imaginary and explore abstract ideas and others relate to a specific place. Larger models explore volume, space and surface as well as the effect of light and shadow and there are some full-scale pieces to show aspects of unconventional or complex facades.

One to One continues at KADK until 25 October

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.