Klimabyer / Climate Cities at the Danish Architecture Center

On the staircase at DAC (the Danish Architecture Center) there is currently a small but important exhibition that was initiated and funded by Realdania.

Eighty two of the 98 municipalities in Denmark submitted projects that tackle problems caused by climate change From those solutions 100 were chosen for publication in Klima 100 2018 and a selection are shown here in the exhibition.

These examples confront a range of problems caused by adverse effects from changes in the climate. The best solutions were implemented at a local level and involved local communities but these projects can be adapted or scaled up to be implemented more widely … locally, regionally or globally.

All the projects have been judged against the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

What can be seen here is not just an impact in the way these solutions mitigate potentially serious and destructive problems but, at the same time, they can be seen to improve our built environment and can make positive differences to the way people live.

For some of these problems there are relatively straightforward and obvious solutions - so, for instance, by planting more trees or replacing hard surfaces with grass to control the run off of surface water - and some solutions employ existing technology while others require imagination and ingenuity to reverse the impact of a man-made environment A good example of this is where former streams and water courses have been reinstated where they had been taken down into culverts and drains or where natural wetlands are restored to manage drainage.

There are gains where nature has been brought back into cities and particularly where children are encouraged to understand how food is produced and to develop a positive and more informed attitude to the natural environment.

Other solutions have focused on encouraging people to change their behaviour. Recycling should no longer been seen as optional or as a chore and one of the projects featured in the exhibition has focused on how we can up-cycle more by using new facilities at city waste centre that can help people repair rather than dump possessions that are broken. 

In all this, at so many different levels, applied design has a crucial role.

 
 

note:

Headings below are taken from the information panels at the exhibition but are also active links to a relevant page on the Global Opportunity Explorer Klima goexplorer site and the numbers refer to the page in the publication Klima 100 2018 where the project is described and illustrated.

 

Sustainable city center [26]

The new City Hall in Middelfart has set new standards for the proposed life-span of its building materials and for energy use and water consumption both through the construction work and now when the building is in use. Solutions here may now seem obvious - so offices and functions spread around the town have been pulled together into a single location; floors use recycled wood; the building has 700 square metres of solar panels on the roof; waste heat is transferred to the district heating system and waste food goes to make natural gas - and together they are clearly effective. But perhaps what is more important is that the appearance of the building is of a thoroughly modern construction where there is no compromise of modern aesthetics. To put that another way, this building shows that nailed on old planks and chunks of moss and weeds on the roof are fine if that is what you want but it is not obligatory to achieve the very best green standards.

 

Sustainable renovation [27]

This is an important project for Copenhagen where the city has a substantial number of well-built apartment blocks that date from the 19th and 20th centuries although these may not be arranged in the best way to provide an arrangement of accommodation that people now expect and almost-certainly do not come up to current standards for insulation or for good natural light or for energy use.

This block on Gammel Jernbanevej in Valby was constructed in 1899 as purpose-built apartments with shops on the ground floor. The location is good, close to a railway station and in a pleasant street, and the building materials are durable but the apartments are small, lack bathrooms and the indoor climate is not good.

The aim of the renovation is to preserve historic features but optimise natural daylight so a new glass façade will be constructed out from the courtyard side to form a climate screen that faces west. This will add 10 square metres to each apartment and, with triple-glazed folding screens and flexible glazed sliding screens, on the line of the present back wall, that space could be used like a large balcony in the summer but during the winter will be a warm and well-lit extension of the living space.

An extra floor will be added to the block - to generate financial returns - and solar panels will be added on the new roof.

This is a Living in Light project 

Fremtidig-snit.jpg
 

A sustainable village from the ground up [31]

This is a new-built residential neighbourhood in Lisbjerg about 7 kilometres north of the centre of  Aarhus. New buildings have been designed to reduce environmental impact and citizens have been involved. The area will develop over 60 years and the municipality has produced a long-term plan for sustainability and has produced “inspirational catalogues” to guide architects and builders working on the next phases.

Building density is high and commercial buildings - and with them employment - have been brought back into the residential areas to reduce distances to travel to work or school. Water is collected after downpours and is filtered through limestone for flushing toilets and washing clothes and that reduces the use of treated drinking water by 40%.

Projects like this show that we have reached an important turning point in our approach to climate change and sustainability. For many of the first solutions, the focus had to be on adapting to the problems - so retrofitting solutions - but for new buildings we can now be proactive.

 

A new concept for food and knowledge production [58]

Impact Farm is a two-storey greenhouse that was installed in Nørrebro in Copenhagen in 2016. Intense cultivation on the top floor can produce between two and four tons of leaf green a year that is sold to local restaurants and cafes and the ground-floor space can be used for work and recreation including education workshops and food festivals.

Rainwater is collected and recycled so growing food consumes 70-90% less water than a regular farm. Components are pre fabricated and the greenhouse is built around a shipping container and after 15 months it was packed up and moved on to a new site.

Schemes like this have a vital role in helping children in towns and cities understand and appreciate how their food is produced.

Human Habitat - Impact Farm

Impact-Farm-Abdellah-Ihadian-2898-800x600.jpg
 

Robust nature in the city [67]

A new area of park and extensive urban garden has been laid out around the Marselisborg Centre in Aarhus with a focus on biodiversity and with integrated wetlands that utilise rainwater both for nature and for children so they develop a positive understanding of the natural world through play and exploration. Schemes like this are changing radically our preconceptions of what urban landscaping should look like.

 
 

Courtyard garden project [75]

An imaginative scheme for a courtyard of 3200 square metres at the centre of an existing apartment building.

Many of these large courtyards in the city simply have grass or low maintenance hard surfaces but neither deals well with the heavy rainfall from storms. In this courtyard, a "climate wall" built with recycled concrete will create a temporary lake to hold back water when there is a storm - in a heavy storm in Copenhagen enough rain can fall over a few hours to flood the ground floor and cellars of buildings, flood streets and overwhelm and damage drains and sewers.

To control storm water by holding it back on the surface, rather than letting it surge immediately through storm drains, is now described as a "blue solution". Here the planting, described as "biomimicry", is closer to true or wild nature and, again, schemes like this are changing attitudes and expectations about planting in urban landscapes.

More information about Fremtidens Gårdhave / Courtyards of the future can be found on the site of the Lendager Group.

 

Ancient landscapes shapes new urban space [96]

In this landscape project in Vejle, Jutland, rain water is held back as it drains down into the fjord.

This is another good example where climate resilience, over a large area, not only creates an attractive new landscape but also creates popular and well-used space for physical activity.

 

Securing the coastline for the future [104]

Le Mur / the wall protects the harbour of Lemvig against rising sea levels and destructive high tides. The solution here has been to build a concrete wall in sections with steel gates to close gaps that normally give access to the water.

Hasløv & Kjærsgaard Arkitekter with the engineers COWI

 

Recycling and upcycling for the future [157]

A former paper factory - Maglemølle in Næstved - is now a centre for green companies that recycle and upcycle materials including the collection and sorting of glass by Reiling Glassrecycling that is then reused by Ardagh Glass Holmegaard.

 

Klimabyer / Climate City
5 December 2018 - 15 February 2019 

The Stair Gallery,
Dansk Arkitektur Center,
Bryghuspladsen 10, København K

 

Danish Architecture Center

Goexplorer.org/klima100

TRÆ, SAKS, PAPIR / Wood, paper, scissors

Karmstol, Stitched wood and a Skammel and Massive weaving

 

An important exhibition of recent work by the furniture designer and architect Else-Rikke Bruun has just opened at the gallery of the Association of Danish Crafts and Designers in Bredgade .

review 

Danske Kunsthåndværkere og Designere

Else-Rikke Bruun

 

the exhibition continues until 20 December 2018
Officinet, Bredgade 66, Copenhagen

Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling / Cabinetmakers' Autumn Exhibition 2018

 

This week will be the last chance to see the exhibition of the furniture by cabinetmakers shown in the amazing interiors of Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen

the exhibition continues until 9 December 2018

Thorvaldsens Museum,
Bertel Thorvaldsens Plads 2, 1213 Copenhagen

Mød Vikingerne / Meet the Vikings

 

A redesign of the exhibition space at the National Museum in Copenhagen for the display of their collection of Viking artefacts was opened officially yesterday.

A first small square gallery has an introduction to this new display with images of three warriors and larger than life images of the king Harold Bluetooth and Tova his queen with the reconstruction of a throne. There are important items from the museum collection but displayed along with rubber portrait heads.

In the main gallery beyond, one long wall has further large figures of characters from the Viking period with a merchant, a housewife and so on and with each given a pen portrait or short back story.

My first reaction was that I wasn't sure if I was being introduced to Vikings warriors who were the first competitors from an early version of the Roskilde Festival naked run - but with fancy head gear - or to hipsters who have been living in Vesterbro since 875 AD and to kings and queens who were unbelievably attractive people who had just had a sauna and scrubbed up well before going to the equivalent of a casting session at HBO or Netflix but in the 9th century.

But actually, although I'm being sarcastic, I'm not about to launch into an attack although there has been some heated discussions in the press over the last couple of days about how authentic the costumes are or if some artefacts have been shown together when they are not contemporary and much about where on their bodies Viking men had tattoos … or not.

These costumes and setting for the reconstructions are by the Danish designer and author Jim Lyngvild although the museum has been quick to emphasise that these are based on current academic reassessments although much has to be speculative because, for instance, fragments' of rich silks brought back from the middle east have been recovered from excavations but few garments.

However, on balance, it is a good attempt to make us, the visitor, look again at our view of Viking life and Viking culture and particularly if that view is confined to stories of long ships and warriors wearing horned helmets who headed off on raids to plunder and pillage.

The story here draws attention to trade, culture and governance and looks at just how far Danish traders travelled and just how much was brought home from not just Baltic neighbours but through trade and conquest of Northern England; from settlements in Ireland and then south through areas of France and by the Viking traders travelling through the Mediterranean to trade with the Middle East to bring back valuable goods from as far away as Persia.

But the exhibition is also careful to point out that the vast majority of the population stayed at home with the wealthy taking care of large estates farmed by peasants and servants. The role of women was more nuanced than we might assume for with men away trading or fighting, aristocratic Viking women may have had a large degree of freedom and power. The exhibition also looks at recent ideas on the role of women in these expeditions abroad. Women would have travelled with the fighting ships to form new settlements and although some may consider the idea of shieldmaidens as a myth, some warrior graves have been identified as female graves.

I learnt a lot. For a start Viking men seem to have been fastidious about grooming and in one excavation of grave goods they even found silver ear spoons. I actually looked but IKEA seem to have dropped them from their catalogues sometime since the 10th century.

the new exhibition is at Nationalmuseet, Prinsens Palæ, Vestergade 10, Copenhagen

Nationalmuseet  / National Museum

 

Brooches that were part of a hoard from Hornelund near Varde. The fine filigree work and the form of decoration with vine leaves indicate that they are by Danish goldsmiths and date from the second half of the 10th century. 

Hoard from Terslev in Zealand with silver weighing nearly 7 kg including an astounding 1,751 coins. Buried in second half of the 10th century. A large bowl may have come from Persia showing the huge stretch of Viking maritime trade.

Sword from 800-900 AD found in Søndersø Lake in Northern Jutland. It has elaborate decoration with silver thread and fragments of the scabbard suggest it was not lost in battle but was possibly part of an offering of thanks.

Jørn Utzon Horisont / Jørn Utzon Horizon - Dansk Arkitektur Center

 

 

A major new exhibition has just opened in the Golden Gallery – the lower exhibition space at the Danish Architecture Center in Copenhagen – to mark the centenary of the birth of the Danish architect Jørn Utzon who was born in April 1918 and who died in November 2008.

Under the title Horisont / Horizon, the exhibition makes extensive use of models, audio-visual presentations and the reproduction of many photographs taken by Utzon himself as he travelled widely and looked at traditional buildings in North Africa, Iran, Nepal, China and Africa and at the buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright in America that all inspired his work or were, at least, used as a starting point for some of the most imaginative and most eclectic modern buildings of the second half of the 20th century.

 

the exhibition continues through until 3 March 2019
Dansk Arkitektur Center / Danish Architecture Center

Poetic Pragmatism - POINT at Dreyers Arkitektur Galleri

POINT was founded in 2013 by Laust Sørensen and Michael Droob who both studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture.

“Our ambition is to create endurable aesthetically pleasing solutions that evoke positive emotions and form the basis for creating memories. We believe this is possible by uniting a pragmatic approach with an elegant architectural solution that brings to life the inherent poetry and the unique attributes of the location and sparks an awareness in the beholder in this precise moment.

… we consider the social aspects to be the primary premise for developing the best possible society.”

The exhibition is tightly or even rather formally arranged with projects shown with a single image and below, set on a large cube, a 3D printed model. These models emphasise the mass or form of the buildings and obviously show the topography of the site better than any site drawing could - here mostly printed as distinct layers retaining the map contour lines - giving the models a slightly detached feel that seems remote from anything organic like rock or mud. The models also remove any real sense of materials or surface texture or colour on the buildings and show groups of volumes or mass with little idea of the plan of these buildings or any distinct function of the different parts or any impression of the experience of moving through the internal spaces.

POINT works with a company that produces computer games so they are ahead of many architectural offices in understanding and using virtual reality. Here, in this exhibition, virtual reality programmes that show their buildings and designs are seen not just through a headset but are also projected onto a sweep of semi-transparent screen that loops out from the gallery level above the book store of the Architecture Center. 

Several of the projects, particularly those for buildings or monuments in parks or gardens - including a proposal for a new raised pond at Mindelunden, the war memorial in Hellerup - have a stunning and elegant simplicity and a design for Hellerenhus, a group of buildings for a museum set in a gorge at Jøssing fjord in Norway, is both appropriately simple and starkly dramatic.

The POINT studio is in the former drawing offices of the old Burmeister & Wain shipyard at Refshaleøen in Copenhagen.

  

the exhibition is at Dreyers Arkitektur Galleri in the Danish Architecture Center
until 29 November 2018

POINT

 

FORSK! - research projects from Aarhus School of Architecture


This exhibition at the entrance-hall level of the Danish Architecture Centre in Copenhagen is on the work of eight research students and graduates from Aarhus School of Architecture. 

These projects cover a wide range of subjects from understanding natural and historic man-made drainage as it has to adapt or be adapted for increased rainfall - a consequences of climate change - through new possibilities in the way we use traditional materials like concrete and, for wood, how new techniques of digital fabrication can be used to develop new forms of construction. 

 As people move into cities some buildings in rural settlements in Denmark have been abandoned and one of the projects looks at how we assess buildings that are no longer needed and might be demolished and looks at how we understand and remember buildings that are part of a common cultural heritage.

The project by Elizabeth Donovan explores how a strong visual or graphic presentation that shows the complex history of sustainability over a century reveals new connections and suggests hierarchies or priorities when “bridging the gap between discourse and practice.”

“Each project further illustrates a rising need for interdisciplinary dialogue to both develop and build knowledge and hereby influence the world.

Aarhus School of Architecture labels this research by design. This methodology, developed at the school, tests ideas and theories through real-life case studies … a proposed solution to a relevant problem, rather than a theoretical consideration.”

Timber curtain by Niels Martin Larsen and Maya Lahmy
explores how we shape materials - here by using digital control of a router to cut precise joins to construct a complex lattice of curved and twisting sections of timber.

Mass and Manipulation by Jon Krähling Engholt
Concrete is normally flat and relatively smooth but here a rubber membrane that has a pattern of cuts made with a laser is used for the former and is supported in different ways as the concrete sets. The weight of the concrete means that the rubber stretches and as the cuts stretch they distort or twist to reveal a different characteristic of concrete that as it sets changes from a viscous fluid to a solid.

Don’t Blame the water! Katrina Wiberg
In many settlements, particularly if they are low lying or close to the coast, modern expansion is often over marginal land - building on meadows and marshland that had taken or slowed down surface water when rain was heavy. 

Maps can show features of the landscape that have been overlaid by man-made drainage systems over decades or even over centuries.

The study area for this project was the settlement of Lystrup. Historical maps, contemporary maps and flood maps were compared to correlate  historical wetlands with flood-prone residential areas to resolve the actual relationship.

Decisions about climate resilience have to include "the planning processes and decision-making mechanisms that shape urban development."

We claim or reclaim land for new developments to extend urban areas and settle in places that in the past were considered to be either unsuitable or difficult for habitation and studies like this will make it possible to distinguish between the Dry and Wet City because "When the cloudburst occurs, the water takes over, and the ice age landscape emerges. The Wet City awakens."

 

Bespoke Fragments Anders Kruse Aagaard
 … explores concrete wood and steel but uses them in a way that challenges our perception of these traditional materials that normally we barely notice.
Concrete is twisted over curved and almost free form steel reinforcing rods to create shapes that are closer to sculpture than structure and in Intermediate fragments from 2014 ash is cut and curved and twisted using digital machining and then slotted into a complicated concrete base for a striking interplay of materials and forms.

Urban Carpet by Polina Chebotareva
10,000 pieces of Douglas fir were linked together with steel wire, the wood charred to form an unfamiliar surface that protects the surface from moisture using a technique related to the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban. 
When it rains the wood gives off a slight scent of smoke that enhances the experience and with use the colour changes to brown so you can trace where people have walked.

For the festival in Aarhus in 2018 the Urban Carpet was installed on a traffic Island in the middle of the main road in front of the central railway station - an area of 100 square metres. 50,000 people cross over here every day but normally people do not notice the island so it is described as an overlooked urban space. The carpet challenges preconceptions and invites people to experience a familiar route in a new way.

Transformation of the abandoned Mo Michelsen Stochholm Krag
This project looks at the impact as people migrate from the country to the town and buildings are abandoned. It recorded but also intervened in the decay cutting through some buildings that are destined for demolition to reveal new views and a new focus on both the structure and on perceptions about how it was used and its role in the community as it is  lost from a common history.
Biopsies of the abandoned 2015 looked at a farmhouse in Ydby dated 1780 and tracked the decay of a pig shed.
The reverse biopsy 2016 looked at an abandoned confectionary in Hurup  two months before it was demolished. The building was cut through and for the first time that opened a view and link between the shop in the front and the bakery at the back and revealed a stratification and private history to stimulates a reassessment of the place these buildings had in the lives of people … those who lived in them and those who visited them or possibly knew them only from the outside.

 

SHARING - an exhibition to celebrate completion of work on the entrance court of Designmuseum Danmark

 

Major work on the entrance courtyard of the deign museum in Copenhagen has just been completed.

The gate piers and ironwork across the street frontage of the 18th-century courtyard have been rebuilt; cobbles across the area relaid; the entrance and ticket area for the museum has been moved out to a pavilion on one side of the courtyard along with a small coffee shop.

Five free-standing display cabinets have been constructed so that objects from the collection can be brought out from the museum to the forecourt and the first exhibition in this revitalised space has opened.

For the first exhibition here on the entrance courtyard, new design is now being shown under the title SHARING. An information panel explains the ideas behind this major project and is quoted here in full ……. 

The works in these five new display cases on the entrance courtyard are ….

CLAYDIES
Ceramics by Karen Kjældgård-Larsen and Tine Broksø

KASPER KJELDGAARD
Dele al familien / Parts of the family 2018

MARGRETHE ODGAARD
Blå red violet / Blue Red Violet textile by Kvadrat

KIBISI / BIOMEGA Bjarke Ingels, Jens Martin Skibsted, Lars Holme Larsen
Elcykel / E-bike OKO Night Glow 2017

ASTRID KROGH
En firkant af universet / A Square of the Universe 2018 LED

L1310953.jpg
 
 

MONO - Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling / the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition 2018

Piqué
designed by:
Hannes Stephensen
produced by: Snedkersind v/Kristian Frandsen

Sunrise
designed by:
Lise og Hans Isbrand
produced by: MoreWood Møbelsnedkeri ApS

 
 

The Cabinetmakers Autumn Exhibition for 2018 has just opened at Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen.

SE - Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling - The Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition - is an association of 81 designers and manufacturers. Each year their board select a venue for their exhibition and set a theme along with any specific rules for a particular year - often to do with dimensions but this year also stipulating colour - so each work will be restricted to just one colour with the choice limited to either the natural colour of the material itself or to one of the strong and distinctive colours used in the original decorative schemes of rooms in Thorvaldsens Museum.

Each year, guest designers and guest manufacturers can apply to show their work. 

When setting the theme for this year, MONO was suggested to imply a range of associated ideas through monochrome, monolith, monopoly and monologue.

A subheading for the exhibition - furniture shaped by craftsmanship and insight - is important and significant: these pieces highlight the skills and the experience of the cabinetmakers who, in some pieces, take their chosen materials to new extremes and, in all the works, push their workshop techniques to the highest level of quality. So the exhibition is in part about the style and the form of each work but because, the cabinetmakers also represent a long and well-established craft tradition in Denmark, these pieces are about understanding the materials, to know what can be done and how, and to use incredible skills to shape, finish, join, refine or reduce the parts that make each work.

There are forty one works in the exhibition. Most were produced in a partnership between a designer and a cabinetmaker or furniture manufacturer - in many cases a  partnership that is now well-established over many years and over several projects shown at the Autumn Exhibition although several pieces were both designed and made by the same person.

The exhibition is also an opportunity to experiment or to produce designs that might otherwise not be commissioned … the aim is not only to challenge the skill of the maker but also to challenge the preconceptions of the visitor.

 

the Autumn Exhibition continues at Thorvaldsens Museum until 9 December 2018

Thorvaldsens Museum
SE - Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling

Cupola drejestol / Cupola swivel chair
designed by:
Niels Gammelgaard
produced by: Northern Layers

En stol / A chair
designed by:
Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen
produced by: Kvist Industries A/S

Introvert position
designed by:
Andreas Lund
produced by: Toke Overgaard

Rum / Encircle
designed by:
Troels Grum-Schwensen
produced by: Malte Gormsen

2Gether
designed and made by:
Steen Dueholm Sehested

Bloom
designed by:
Hannes Stephensen
produced by: Egeværk

Beside
designed by:
Line Depping
produced by: Skagerak Denmark A/S

Guldlok / Goldilocks
designed by:
Monique Engelund
produced by: Sune Witt Skovhus

 
 

MONO - exhibition catalogue

 

The catalogue for the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition in 2018 at Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen has a general introduction to the exhibition by the selection board and then for each work there is a double-page layout with a full page black and white photograph for each of the works.

These monochrome images are dramatic and chime with the theme of the exhibition but also give a strong emphasis to the form of each work.

Some pieces have a descriptive or evocative name - so Calm or Look don’t touch and a cabinet for the display of special possessions has the title Ego - while other titles are more straightforward, with works described as Chair or Table and Chair.

Of course the catalogue sets out the name of the designer and the name of the cabinetmaker or the company who realised the work and each entry includes the materials and the dimensions of the piece.

There is also a short paragraph on each work to set out any thoughts that inspired the design or to talk about technical details - many of the pieces use material in an innovative way or the construction is much more complicated than is immediately apparent - and there is a translation in English.

Graphic design is by Studio Claus Due and the black and white photographs were taken by Torben Petersen.

Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling / The Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition 2018

Thorvaldsens Museum

Studio Claus Due

 

Arne Jacobsen at Designmuseum Danmark

the newly repainted and rearranged display in the Jacobsen gallery at Designmuseum Danmark - the chair standing on the floor is The Ant designed in 1952 and in the case above, against a reproduction of the design Spirea from 1954, the Cylandline range from 1964-1967

The House of the Future designed by Arne Jacobsen with Flemming Lassen for an exhibition in 1929

 

Sometimes it can be as interesting to look at the display cases and the style of the information labels and the lighting in a museum as it is to look at objects on display … and, for obvious reasons, more so when you are in a design museum.

At Designmuseum Danmark they have a space dedicated to furniture designed by Arne Jacobsen. I'm not sure of the date of this display but I would guess that it is over twenty years old.

It is a substantial structure and is itself quite a design item so I can see exactly why it should be kept.

The space is actually square and is on a main through walk down the right-hand range of the museum but under a false ceiling, lit to throw light down into the space, there are three curved areas with raised platforms to make the space circular and that is where furniture by Jacobsen is displayed and there are two large shallow display cases recessed into the walls plus wall space for photographs and panels. These curved platforms pick up shapes in the House of the Future that was designed by Jacobsen in 1929 - in partnership with Flemming Lassen - and as the display includes a copy of a drawing for that house so the echo must be deliberate.

The advantage of this form of display is that the furniture is lifted clear of the floor, giving the pieces at least some protection, but the pieces can still be examined up close and raised up so anyone interested can see some of the details of the construction particularly on the underside.

 

earlier in the summer:
the chairs for St Catherine’s College Oxford; the chairs for the SAS Royal Hotel and a Grand Prix designed in 1957 and The Giraffe for the dining room of the SAS Royal Hotel

photographed this month:
desk and chair for Munkegård Elementary School; The Egg, a Swan Chair and The Drop for the SAS Royal Hotel designed in 1958; an Ant Chair from 1952 and the Skovsneglen / Paris Chair by R Wengler designed by Jacobsen in 1929

 

Display case with flatware AJ designed in 1957, a lamp for St Catherine’s College and the Vola range of taps from 1969

Cylinda line - ‘hollowware’ designed in 1967 and produced by Stelton

Jacobsen is without doubt one of the most important designers from the classic period of modern Danish design in the 20th century and is certainly the Danish designer who the most foreign visitors will know at least something about so I can see exactly why he is given this special treatment.

A recent remodelling of a space further along the same gallery pulls together in one place some of the works in the collection by Kaare Klint but presumably it is felt that to separate out other individual Danish architects or designers for the same treatment would be too greedy on space and make the museum displays rather too fixed in the works and the themes that they explore.

The Jacobsen gallery has just been redecorated and looks good for its fresh coat of paint and for the replacement of photographs that had begun to curl at the edges. What is more interesting is that some of the furniture has been moved around and new pieces brought in so chairs designed by Jacobsen for St Catherine's College in Oxford in the 1960s have been removed. These were less obvious key pieces in the history of Danish design although they show the most refined and most sophisticated use of plywood for furniture in any designs by Jacobsen. They have been replaced with a chair and a desk and a sample of the fabric designed by Jacobsen for Munkegaard Elementary School in the early 1950s.

The main chairs that Jacobsen designed for the SAS hotel in Copenhagen remain - the Egg, the Swan Chair and the Drop - all still in production sixty years later - but the Giraffe Chair that Jacobsen designed at the same time for the dining room of the hotel has gone back to store which is a pity because it shows a very different style and form of chair but just one that did not receive the same popular acclaim as the other designs.

My one criticism of the display is that it shows the ever-present Danish understatement and modesty about what Danish design did and does achieve.

The display cases show the cutlery and the glassware and lighting and so on that Jacobsen designed for the SAS Hotel and there is the absolutely remarkable thing. Arne Jacobsen designed the SAS Hotel, and the air terminal that was originally in the same building, in a style and with a method of concrete pouring that was barely known in Scandinavia and untried at the time in Copenhagen so just for the building design and construction a huge challenge. It is known that Jacobsen had a small drawing office - certainly very small by modern standards - and the core team was actually working in an office in his own home outside the city in Klampenborg in a way he had developed in both the first and the second house as well as this the third house he designed for himself and his family. Yet at the same time, and in a remarkably short period, he designed not just a complicated and challenging building, but also all the furniture including six chairs, at least two of which became truly iconic designs and four of which used innovative materials for an almost unique form of shell design (the first chairs were made with expanded polystyrene)  and he designed carpets, upholstery textiles and all the tableware needed for a large hotel and all equally innovative and all in a period of about five years.

This work by Jacobsen for the SAS Hotel is often described as a good example of gesamtkunstwerk - total design - but even in Denmark that should be taken to be a bit of understatement. Surely the hotel and its interior should be lauded as one of the most incredible personal achievements by any architect in the 20th century.

Designmuseum Danmark

 

MONO - Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling / the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition

 

This year the venue for Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling / the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn exhibition is the Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen and the theme is Mono … each work will be restricted to just one colour with the choice of colour limited to either the natural colour of the material itself or to one of the strong and distinctive colours used in the original decorative schemes of rooms in the museum.

The works are also restricted in size to a maximum foot print 90cm by 90cm although the height is limited only by the height of spaces within the museum.

Below is publicity material published earlier in the year with the call for submissions to be considered by the exhibition selection committee. 

MONO - ’furniture with a maker’s touch’ opens on 2nd November 2018

 

MONO - a piece of furniture with a craftsman’s understanding
For Mono, this year's SE exhibition, furniture will be created that demonstrates an engagement and passion for shape, colour and material. Furniture that individually and together expresses quality but also a rhythmic, narrative and simple whole.

With MONO we want to create an exhibition consisting of single-coloured / MONOchrome furniture, furniture that emphasises the individual designer's personal message / MONOlog, and this in conjunction with Thorvaldsenś MONOlithic sculptures and Bindesbøll’s beautiful building

Background:
There are two strong personalities that emerge when you say Thorvaldsens Museum. Bertel Thorvaldsen, to whom the museum was built and whose works it contains and Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll who is the architect of the building. Both of them, through their work, represent great craft knowledge and a pursuit of the perfect. In addition, Thorvaldsen and Bindesbøll were incredibly adept at using the past in a new and modern way, Thorvaldsen through his new interpretations of ancient history and Bindesbøll through his personal way of using inspiration from Pompeii and Herculaneum.

This year's theme invites:
That the craftsmanship is challenged, perhaps through a new interpretation of the Danish furniture tradition.

That the inner "furniture thread" comes into play, preferably by combining new and old technology. Like Thorvaldsen and Bindesbøll, we strive for the perfect.

That through the materials, the form and the colour, the aesthetic and ethical presence of the furniture is reconsidered.

The goal is for newly thought-out furniture that expresses craftsmanship but also creates a narrative and simple exhibition in interaction with the two great masters.

Requirements for dimensions, materials and colours:
The furniture must have a maximum of 90x90 cm in the floor. The height is free but the furniture must be able to stand everywhere in the museum.

The furniture must be monochrome (one colour) and this can be either the wood's own colour or one of the colours from Thorvaldsen’s museum:

 
 

Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design

 


 This is the second major exhibition at the new Danish Architecture Centre and covers both the early life of Ove Arup and then the major projects around the World of the design and engineering company that he founded in London in 1946. There are profiles of the major engineering projects they have completed including the Sydney Opera House and the Pompidou Centre in Paris with models, drawings, films, interviews and historic photographs.

The story is continued through to current projects including work by the Arup Sound Lab. Arup were the consultant engineers for the road and rail bridge over the sound between Copenhagen and Malmö and for the design and construction of the new building for the Danish Architecture Centre.

  

Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design continues until 17 February 2019
at the Danish Architecture Centre in Copenhagen

WE architecture at Dreyers Arkitektur Galleri

 

"The name WE Architecture is based on the philosophy that architecture is not the result of only one person's stroke of genius" … but  "believe that the best results occur through teamwork and transdisciplinary networks."

 

Jagtvej 69

WE architecture was established in Copenhagen in 2009 by Marc Jay and Julie Schmidt-Nielsen.

Much of their work takes, as a starting point, an exploration of how people and the community respond to and use architecture … what they describe as understanding how physical surroundings "inspire people to create new relationships or to cultivate existing relationships" … exploring the "potential for innovating the framework of communities."

This raises interesting questions because it implies that there can be an enlightened and well-defined relationship of trust between the architect and the end user as well as with the commissioning client. This is not the place to discuss the issue of politics and economics in social architecture, in the broadest sense, in Denmark but possibly a place to raise this important subject.

One project, shown here through a number of models, is a new and ongoing development for Jagtvej 69 in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen with temporary housing for homeless people and community gardens. This is now an empty plot but was the site of a community centre, Ungdomshuset, which was cleared and demolished in 2007 precipitating street riots … cobbles thrown in the riots are one of 30 objects chosen for an exhibition at the National Museum - Din Ting - to represent key events or movements of the first years of this century. This is precisely what makes Danish architecture so important … designs that responds to the changing needs of society with an awareness of and a sensitivity to broader political issues.

Certainly, looking at the work of the studio over the last ten years it is good to see that so much of their work is in housing, education and culture and all these projects have a strong relationship with their landscape or townscape setting. Models - so massing of elements and overall form - are clearly important as different options for sites are explored through making many models at the initial stages.

The Dreyers gallery has three main levels alongside a steep staircase down from the main exhibition area and WE Architecture have exploited this by stacking up timber boxes to break down the sudden transition from each level to the next. This provides platforms and surfaces for displaying models and photographs of the projects undertaken by the team but they have also incorporated work stations where, for the period of the exhibition, staff will work but are available to discuss their buildings and answer questions.

WE architecture 

the exhibition continues until 2 November
in the Dreyers Arkitektur Galleri at the Danish Architecture Centre

 

ELEMENTAL at Louisiana

 
 

A dramatic exhibition and one of a series at Louisiana under an overall title Arkitekturens Værksteder / Architecture Workshops - ELEMENTAL profiles the work and the approach to architecture of the office in Santiago of Alejandro Aravena.

The process of design is here a main focus of the exhibition that begins with a display of sketch books - a primary stage in their design process. With excellent visuals, on small screens around the edge of the display, you can select a sketch book and explore the contents by swiping through the pages that include both notes and detailed drawings.

In conjunction with this are films running across three large images on a nearby wall that turn through sketchbooks page by page. 

The design process for this exhibition space - from initial ideas through to the construction of the final display - was treated like a specific design project by ELEMENTAL to explain their work process and philosophy. A series of large panels on a lower level of the galleries trace through the whole development of the exhibition from the first letter from Louisiana proposing the exhibition through to the construction in the space. It is rare, as a visitor to an exhibition, to be able to track in such detail the work involved in producing an exhibition on this scale and of this complexity.

There are separate areas with photographs forming a time line for projects and models showing the primary volumes and forms of major buildings. There is a sequence of photographs and drawings of the now famous social housing - half fitted out in the initial construction and half to be completed by the families at a later stage and a sequence of prototypes showing the development of the design of Silla Chair - an open source design. Under a huge suspended box, there is a film of the projects from a drone.

 

ELEMENTAL opened on 11 October 2018 and continues until 28 February 2019
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

OUT at Statens Museum for Kunst

 

An exhibition of work by the German artist Judith Hopf who is based in Berlin.

In part this work is about how we perceive space - how an artist can organise and manipulate space - and how we respond to space.

And it is also about materials and scale.

The main work, that you see as you enter the gallery, is a diagonal line of three Pears in brick and on a monumental scale - the largest is just under a metre high. That line is reinforced by a low brick wall cutting across the gallery at an angle. 

Untitled (Laptop Men) in polished sheet metal are identifiable as figures holding a laptop and leaning back against the gallery wall but are also like a pictogram but on a life-sized scale.

Suspended around a large video display are curtains hung from the ceiling but stopping short of the floor so you have to duck under the curtain to enter the space to see the video but your legs, from the knee down, seem to become part of the work.

OUT - the video that gives the exhibition its name - shows a high narrow block in front of the open courtyard of an apartment building with distinct features including sun shades over the balconies but, as you watch, the tall block is raised up revealing legs, again from the knees down, showing it is in fact a costume worn by a person and it is our preconceptions and clever perspective and manipulation of perspective that deceives us into seeing it as a building.

As the scene develops there is a short length of hedge on wheels and a young boy playing a full set of drums in what looks like the courtyard of an apartment building.

 

 

the exhibition continues until 30 December 2018
in X-rummet / the X room at Statens Museum for Kunst

Oak Tree - an exhibition of work by Tina Astrup

 

 Tina Astrup graduated as a textile designer from the Danish Design School but also completed a post-graduate degree in furniture and spatial design.

Inspired by the timber and the colours seen in a local saw mill, where oak was stacked and seasoned, the work shown here is a project that has evolved over four years. She takes large disks of timber - sections of tree trunk - or substantial wedges of oak and baulks of wood and enhances both the pattern of the natural grain that mark the growth of the tree but her process seems also to echo mechanical cuts and saw marks that show how a tree is felled and the trunk cut into planks.

She uses vinegar poured over the timber that has been wound tightly with wire … a process that brings out tannins in the timber and creates slashes of dark colour in a way that echoes the effect when textiles are tie dyed.

 
 
 

This changes the character of the oak to make it darker both in terms of colour and in the sense of being much more dramatic.

We tend to see oak now only after it has been worked - so finely cut and planed and smoothed and pale - and see oak as the ideal wood for wide, hard-wearing floor boards or for strong finely-made furniture.

Along with beech and ash, pale or almost white oak is still a hall-mark if not the hall-mark wood for the modern Scandinavian interior. Through the classic period of modern furniture design, the English even talked about ‘light oak furniture’ to distinguish the look they wanted from the ‘dark’ oak of 19th-century and earlier furniture that was regarded as old fashioned or unfashionable.

But oak trees, in the wood or the forest, can be twisted and gnarled - powerful and impressive - and even disturbing.

The cuts and marks on these pieces by Tina Astrup reconnects us with what is, after all, the force - the almost aggressive force - of chopping down a large tree and cutting it into planks and should take us a step back from the product to the natural material and to the way we work with timber to see new possibilities in how designers could work with and use oak in very different ways.

 

Kunsthåndværkere & Designere
Tina Astrup

the exhibition continues until 28 October 2018
at Officinet - the gallery of Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - Bredgade 66, Copenhagen

 

Fortællinger om et sted / Stories of a place

Arkitektens fotokonkurrence 2018 / The Architect's Photo Contest 2018

Following a competition by the association of architects, this exhibition shows the five winning portfolios, each with five photographs of a building or a single architectural project.

In a World that seems to be dominated by superficial Instagram images this is an important exhibition because instead of a quick glance and a swipe right the photographs are presented for careful consideration.

It is difficult to capture, for the record, the qualities and the character of a building in a few images and one function of these photographs is to slow down the process of looking. These photographs are about trying to record what is essential about the style and the form and the materials and the setting of a building.

read more


the exhibition was open as part of the Day of Architecture on 1 October but continues through to the 26 October

Arkitektforeningen
Åbenrå 34
1124 Copenhagen K

Boliger til Folket / Housing for the people

 

Immediately after the War there was clearly a shortage of housing but also cities realised that poorly-built housing - particularly the dark and tightly-packed housing that had been built in courtyards - had to be demolished and replaced with appropriate homes of a much higher standard

The exhibitions at Arkitektforeningen for the Day of Architecture is an opportunity to see here again the exhibition Boliger til Folket / Housing for the people about social housing in Denmark after the Second World War, so through the1940s and 1950s.

This was shown first in Copenhagen in the central library in March 2017 and was reviewed here

This is a second chance if you missed the exhibition the first time round but it is well worth a second look with profiles of several major housing schemes and includes comments by residents from interviews some remembering what the apartments were like when they were new. 

One aim of the exhibition was to re-establish the merits of these apartment blocks by focusing on the quality of the design and the high quality of the initial building work but it also emphasises the reasons for good and sympathetic restoration work to ensure that these buildings not only survive but that they have an ongoing role as good and desirable housing.

KULTUR NATTEN 2018

This year Kultur Natten or Night of Culture is on Friday 12 October.

It is the evening in Copenhagen when museums, many government departments, theatres and the opera house, city hall, the royal palaces and many many other organisations and institutions open their doors to show the people of the city what they do and how.

There are demonstrations, special exhibitions and people only too happy to explain what is done and why. And there is street food and music at many of the venues.

I say it every year but that does not make it less worth saying … spend some time looking at the programme before the evening and try to plan a route to cut down the time you are doubling back or dashing between places but just accept that it really is impossible to see everything. Enjoy the night.

Kultur Natten programme