V/ Strøget … Paustian are back in the city centre


Ole and Monika Paustian opened their first furniture store in 1964 in Vesterbrogade in Copenhagen but in 1987 Paustian moved out to Nordhavn - to the North Harbour - to a building designed for them by Jørn Utzon. There are now also Paustian stores in Aarhus but at the beginning of this month the company opened a second store in Copenhagen so Paustian are now back in the city centre at Niels Hemmingsens Gade 24 - close to Strøget - the famous Walking Street.

The store is called V/Strøget. Just head for the large church at about the mid point of the Walking Street and Niels Hemmingsens Gade runs back along the right-hand side of the churchyard with the new Paustian store one block back in a large and dramatic building on the corner overlooking the church in a former bank that dates from the 1860s.

Many of the fittings from the bank have been retained - including the high vaulted ceilings of the banking hall supported on elegant fluted Corinthian columns and there is hefty woodwork for panelled doors to the offices that were around the banking hall. However, it is the huge steel doors of the bank vaults and blocks of safe deposit boxes that are a real talking point.

In some areas, walls are lined with marble and in a labyrinth of spaces you begin to wonder if the builders had somehow broken through a wall and into a Turkish bath house next door.

The Paustian store at Nordhavn is the epitome of Scandinavian cool … calm and rational with an excellent restaurant and views out over the yacht marina.

The new store could hardly be different. With walls in some parts painted deep blue and with amazing lighting and irrational spaces where you suddenly come across steep narrow staircases leading to catacomb-like rooms. This is about Danish drama … not exactly design noir to pair with the Scandi noir of film and TV but certainly much more about the potential mood of an interior.

As out at Nordhavn, Paustian here will mix the best of International furniture with the best of Danish design but there is clearly a plan to attract more general customers with selections of gifts and carefully chosen books and cosmetics and so on. There is not a restaurant within the store but there is a bar from Mikkeller.

If the Paustian store at Nordhavn has any drawbacks it has been, until now, rather out of the run of things although other Danish design companies that moved into Pakhus 48 - a hike across the building works for the metro and for new apartment buildings - have kept it company for a while although the new metro line, when it opens next year, will make it a much easier trip.

But Paustian is not just back in the city after almost thirty years but, almost overnight, or at least that is how it feels, this large city block - until a few a couple of years ago the main central post office - has been transformed into the up-market hub for the very best of Danish furniture …  The Republic of Fritz Hansen are in the adjoining building and Fredericia are at the top of one of the building in the block so close neighbours.

The next and an important stage of construction work, will come as the refurbishment of all these buildings is completed because developers, planners and the city have agreed that narrow streets on either side of the block - Løvestræde and Valkendorfsgade that run back from the main pedestrian street of Købmagergade - will be closed to through traffic and all spaces for parking cars will be removed to extend the pedestrian area. Surely the consequence will be more people walking through - more footfall - and the smaller properties on the sides of these streets facing towards the post-office block have new opportunities to attract in these new customers for this new design quarter.