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

CHART Architecture - the Pavilions

designed by Malte Harrig, Karsten Bjerre and Katrine Hoff


In the two large courtyards of Kunsthal Charlottenborg are five pavilions … the setting for what is called CHART SOCIAL.

These pavilions or CHART ARCHITECTURE are the winning designs from an open competition held earlier in the year for young architects and architecture and design students.



by Dennis Andersson, Mikkel Roesdahl and Xan Browne

by Sofia Luna Steenholdt, Joachim Makholm Michelsen, Emil Bruun Meyer and Casper Philip Ebbesen

designed by Jan Sienkiewicz

designed by Sean Lyon in collaboration with Space 10


Finders Keepers - 25th and 26th August



This weekend - on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th August - the design market Finders Keepers is at Øksnehallen - the main building at the city end on the old Meat Market in Copenhagen. This is a great chance to see and to buy the work from some of the best small independent design companies.

There are food stalls on the square at the front of the market building.

Finders Keepers


Østergro in Østerbro



In fact, the current work on Tåsinge Plads and Sankt Kjelds Plads are not the first projects to bring large areas of plants and greenery right into the centre of Østerbro - a densely built up area of large apartment buildings, offices and small businesses out to the north of the centre of the city.

If you look on Google Earth, you can see that most of the apartment buildings have large enclosed courtyards with gardens and many with play equipment for children but also if you look just north of Sankt Kjelds Plads - the large round-a-bout almost at the centre - then immediately to the west of Fitness World, the long rectangle of green along the east side of Abeløgade is not alongside the pavement but four floors up on the roof of a former garage. This is Østergro … a large garden for vegetables and flowers produced here by a local association.

They have a restaurant up here and they teach children and visitors about food production … too many city dwellers have little or no idea where their food comes from and what is involved in growing vegetables and herbs. There was never a suggestion that this could make the area self sufficient for food but it's a good start.



Hahnemanns Køkken

Hahnemanns Køkken from across the square ... perhaps not the prettiest of views right now but wait until all the planting and the water-filled canals go in 



Coffee and a cake at Hahnemanns Køkken was not the reason for going up to Sankt Kjelds Plads … honest … although it might have influenced the decision to go back a few days later … to retake one photograph of the square with the sun in a better position … or that was the excuse … and have another coffee and cake while I was there.

The café and food shop that also sells kitchenware, tableware and cookery books along with space for cookery demonstrations and cooking classes was opened here by Trine Hahnemann in February.

There are tables out at the front, facing south across the square, and from here you can watch all the engineering works and track progress as trees and shrubs are planted and the features like canals or ponds filled with water. Drawings indicate that this paved area in front of the café will be enlarged so it will be able to take full advantage of the new urban landscape once the water features and planting become established.

Hahnemanns Køkken
Sankt Kjelds Plads 14



Refshaleøen - what's where + what's on


There are good sign boards at Refshaleøen - one with a map showing the location of the main food stalls and the main buildings - including the new gallery space for Copenhagen Contemporary - and the other with the dates of main events here through the coming summer

maybe click / download / save / zoom ?

or information on line at REFFEN


if you like to eat your food straight out of the container .....


Popular food stalls that were in the warehouse on Papirøen - Paper Island - are back but on a new site further north - out on Refshaleøen - the island that until the 1990s was the yards of the ship builder Burmeister & Wain.

Called Reffen, the first phase is an open area with the kitchens and food stalls in shipping containers grouped around a new square and running down a short street towards the water of the harbour. The next phase will be more food stalls but inside in a hall in a former workshop.

There is open space that will be used for events and the newly reopened gallery of Copenhagen Contemporary is in massive former workshops just to the east.

Get here by taking the harbour ferry or a 9A bus that runs out here frequently from the central train station - this is the last stop where it turns round and heads back so you can't get lost - or you could always come out to Refshaleøen by bike.

There is a short description of each of the food stalls online on the Reffen site along with information about opening times and details about events.



select any image to open the photos as a slide show


Lives & Works in Fiskars ..... an event for June at Design Werck in Copenhagen



On Thursday evening there was the launch of a special event at Design Werck.

In partnership with ONOMA - the Cooperative of Artisans, Designers and Artists in Fiskars - Design Werck will show furniture, art, textiles, graphics; ceramic works and glass made in the historic village that is 80 kilometres west of Helsinki in Finland.

Founded in 1996, the association now represents 117 members. Twenty members of the cooperative will be showing their work here in Copenhagen and the exhibition, with works for sale, will continue through until 30th June.

Design Werck, Krudtløbsvej 12, Copenhagen K



Artists, designers and makers showing their work:

  • Heikki Aska, cabinet maker
  • Marko Escartin, wood worker
  • Antrei Hartikainen, cabinet maker
  • Lulu Halme, graphic designer
  • Sonja Tuulia Halttunen, graphic designer
  • Elina Makkonen, goldsmith
  • Olli Kari, muscician
  • Petri Koivusipilä, cabinet maker
  • Minja Kolehainenen, cabinet maker
  • Ivan Kulvik, cabinet maker
  • Camilla Moberg, industrial and glass designer
  • Piitu Nykopp, visual artist
  • Deepa Panchamia, textile artist
  • Katja Öhrnberg, visual artist
  • Ari Turunen, jewellery smith
  • Arto Vuohelainen, photographer
  • Karin Widnäs, ceramist
  • Tuulia Penttilä, cabinet maker
  • Matti Söderkultalahti, cabinet maker

food for the opening event was by Restaurant Kuparipaja in Fiskars and iced cider, gin and akvavit was from the Ägräs Distillery in Fiskars


Design X Change - Designmuseum Danmark



For 3daysofdesign, Designmuseum Denmark hosted the annual Design X Change in the courtyard. The over-riding theme of the event is sustainability and reuse for design products with many companies and designers represented. There were good food stalls … including a major stall by the team from Klint … the museum's own restaurant. Many of the displays were hands-on including being able to pan for gold and several stalls seemed well set to orchestrate discussions.

designmuseum danmark

Nomad Workspace for 3daysofdesign




This amazing building on Blegdamsvej was the front range of a prison that was designed by the Danish architect Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll and built in the middle of the 19th century. It faces across to Sankt Johannes Kirke and the square of Sankt Hans Torv.

A recent and extensive restoration of the building now provides space for small offices, studios, workspaces and meeting rooms that are rented by designers, studios and design companies. Apparently, office facilities such as printing and, most important, coffee are included and there is a very trendy café so this seems to be a good first home for young companies. It is certainly a dramatic space with an impressive staircase immediately beyond the entrance and a whole sequence of meeting rooms through the basement.

Furniture shown here included chairs by Isabel Ahm; the marbled painted tables by Pernille Snedker Hansen from Snedker Studio and the Cocoon Icon chair by Kevin Hviid and Martin Kechayas.

Muuto chose the building for their major show for 3daysofdesign and working with the interior designer Natalia Sanchéz of Spatial Code they furnished the main rooms across the front of the building.

Muuto also produced 'site specific' installations by artists using Muuto products so, for instance, wall decorations that used the Muuto wooden dots.

On a very hot day there was an ice-cream vendor at the steps and I had to smile as the young and trendy and the not so young but trendy of Copenhagen seemed to be much more focused on the amazing food and huge range of beers laid on rather than being there for the design.

This is a good area for such a venture … in the streets north beyond the square and in the streets behind Nomad, running back towards the lakes, there are new independent galleries, small design studios and a good mix of cafes with a good number of antique and second-hand shops and, of course, the brewery … Nørrebro Bryghus on Ryesgade.

What more could a 30 year old want on a Saturday?

Nomad Workspace


Reffen / The Reef


On Papirøen - Paper Island - immediately south of the Opera House and opposite the national theatre - the popular food hall and the large gallery space of Copenhagen Contemporary closed at the beginning of the year because all the buildings here are about to be demolished for redevelopment of the area with plans for the construction of large new apartment buildings and a swimming pool.

However, a larger and much more ambitious version of the Papirøen food halls are set to open further out at Refshaleøen … an island at the north end of the harbour that was formerly the site of the B&W shipyards and engineering works and perhaps famous recently as being the venue for the Eurovision Song Contest.

The plan for Reffen is to attract here not just the sellers of gourmet food who were so successful on Papirøen but for this to also be a venue for cultural events and to attract crafts people and design people to not just sell out here but to have their workshops here. There will be a strong emphasis to reduce and reuse - to use local produce to reduce transport and of course recycle or reuse … so there will be a strong environmental agenda.

"The hope is thus to create a new place in Copenhagen that with a sustainable point of departure is a melting pot of amazing experiences that attract and inspire both locals and tourists - a place that can be seen, tasted, heard and felt both locally and internationally."

It will cover a large area - around 10,000 square metres - much larger than the Paper Island warehouses - and they are talking about leases for 10 years so this should become a well-established destination for both people from the city and for tourists.

Plans show three areas … a large market place, a covered hall in old machine shops and an open area  for events on the city side of the huge hall where music events and so on are held.

Refshaleøen is at the end of the harbour ferry line and through the summer there will be direct boat links from Nyhavn - the ferry terminal by the Playhouse - and tourists boats will also come out here … and of course you can get here by bike.

New Year resolution? ... putting a design classic through its paces

image from COACH fitness magazine


I'm not sure that this is what Arne Jacobsen had in mind when he designed the chair but I guess this is one way to get rid of all those calories put on over Christmas. Is this what is called an incline press or is it a weird plank?

What is it with the English and Chair 7? Christine Keeler sat on it the wrong way round although, as that chair was a fake, does it still count as sacrilege?




Part of Sunday afternoon was spent looking at the new ARKET store in the old post office building in Købmagergade in Copenhagen so it really was a bit of a fashion day with the time looking at the photographs from Danske magazine on Højbro Plads.

ARKET -  a new brand from the Swedish company H&M - opened at the beginning of September so just a week after their first store opened in Regent Street in London and ahead of Brussels and Munich.

One style magazine suggested the brand sits between & Other Stories and COS but I'm not sure exactly what that means although I could understand the point that the magazine went on to make that this is a brand for good-quality basics.

Over the last year or so in Copenhagen I have been to a couple of seminars or discussion sessions where some in the design world here have suggested that furniture and design companies could follow the example of the fashion industry by introducing a stronger sense of a "new season" for designs and move forward with more peripatetic designers and even more manufacture outside the country to keep prices down and give the marketing of design a stronger sense of momentum ... a stronger sense of novelty that the fashion industry has mastered so people should want to want to buy ... to stimulate sales.

I am trying to write a longer post on this but I was curious and interested to see on the H&M web site there is a section on sustainability not just for the materials they source and use but with advice for caring for clothes so they last longer and suggestions for recycling garments. For ARKET they give a short summary of the new brand as … 

“a modern-day market that offers essential products for men, women, children and the home, ARKET stores also include a café based on the New Nordic Food Manifesto. ARKET’s mission is to democratise quality through widely accessible, well-made, durable products, designed to be used and loved for a long time.”

It is the second sentence that is important. Could this actually be a major fashion company moving the other way - moving towards the marketing ethos of the best Scandinavian furniture and design companies who promote investment in quality rather than a relentless drive to create and then satisfy a customers desire for novelty?




Certainly it was interesting to see that the men's section does include cashmere jumpers and the jackets for their suits have proper buttonholes on the sleeve cuffs which shows that they really understand both the rules and the traditions of proper tailoring.

Shop fittings included the classic Artek Stool 60 by Alvar Aalto and the home section has the Sarpaneva Pot so both the store designers and the company buyers have a clear sense of Nordic design heritage.

The home section was good … it would actually be interesting to know who their buyer or director of home sales is because they have chosen well and it will be fascinating to see how the home section develops. Again, as with the clothes, these are good basics. And what was also interesting was that the selection of items had a different look and character that is distinct from homeware sold in the H&M stores.

At ARKET they have glass jugs with a pouring lip but straight sided, like a chemistry laboratory beaker, and a similar style of straight-sided jugs and mixing bowls in white china and there is an interesting range of enamelled cookware from Hario; glassware from Duralex and some good plain cushion covers; some simple linen and a range of those Swedish brushes by Iris Hantverk made in workshops for visually impaired workers.

For someone moving into their first unfurnished place then they could make this the first stop for … here's that word again … basics ... the good quality items that would be a good investment.

Back to general points - the historic building seems to have been restored and converted well, with a muted colour scheme of stone and grey. Packaging for underwear and so on was in plain, unbleached cardboard and the café sold fresh coffee and olive oil and other foodie things that were, again, in well-designed simple packaging … hardly revolutionary but never-the-less good to see.

The café was comfortable with well-priced coffee and some fantastic cardamom biscuits so, all in all, a good afternoon.



Finders Keepers



This weekend there was a Finders Keepers event here in Copenhagen.

It was the usual mix of design, clothing and food and the usual and good mix of small independent companies … this is entrepreneurial Danish design at its best … but it was a rather different set up this time.

Normally there is a single venue - so somewhere like the Locomotive Works or the old Tap1 out at Carlsberg - but this weekend they took over two streets in Nordhavn with the design and the clothing companies inside - in what will soon be fitted out as retail or office space along Århusgade - and food stalls down the narrower side street of Travemündegade that runs back from Århusgade.

There was not much space for chairs for sitting down to eat but the odd bonus was that the smell of cooking and grills and barbecuing - trapped by the buildings - was absolutely incredible although I wonder what the people who have just moved into these apartments thought about it all.

Finders Keepers


Kulturhavn - the harbour festival



This weekend it is Kulturhavn - the harbour festival of culture in Copenhagen - with events not just in the central harbour but over the eight kilometres from Nordhavn to Sydhavn and with everything from demonstrations of belly dancing to an oom-pah-pah band on a boat sailing around the canals to swimming and kayak competitions. 

This was celebrating diverse culture - in the broadest meaning of the word culture - so what has this to do with a design blog? Well, rather a lot.

For a start - with historic working boats and tall ships moored in the central harbour - you realise that here are all the key elements of good design … a clear pushing of the boundaries of what was then up-to-date technology; an appreciation of the best materials and the skills with tools and machinery to work them along with a strong sense of style … so here is a key part of the Danish design heritage. We might not have talked and written about Form and Function in design until the 20th century but we didn’t invent the concept.




The noise and bustle on Ofelia Plads - the recently rebuilt wharf by the national theatre - brought back some of the vitality of the docks when they were working with ships loading or unloading. New apartments along the harbour are fantastic and no one would have swum in the docks then - or at least not for leisure - but it was the working harbour that is the very reason that Copenhagen is here and why it thrived. It is great that some of the cranes and rail tracks and bollards, where the ships tied up, do survive but maybe not enough. 

So the festival is a reminder of just how vital the water way of the harbour is to the city and it is to the credit of the planners that since the navy and commercial shipping moved out in the 1990s they have done so much to not just reuse the buildings and develop the land but are trying to put the harbour very much at the centre of life in the city.

It really is an incredible resource.


view of what is now Ofelia Plads when it was a working wharf

the harbour cranes to the east of the Opera House

Papirøen - Paper Island



Papirøen or Paper Island is at the centre of the harbour in Copenhagen, opposite the National Theatre, immediately south of the Opera House and north of Christianshavn. The settlement of Christianshavn, with its houses and warehouses and canals, dates from the early part of the seventeenth century when land was first claimed from the sea between the old city and the low-lying island of Amager. Then, for nearly a century, the area of water to the north of Christianshavn provided sheltered moorings for naval ships but a map of 1710 shows a new arc of distinct and recently-constructed defences curving out and round towards the Kastellet - towards what is now Refshaleøen.  

In stages, over the following centuries, new islands were created within the defences, divided by canals or open areas of moorings, with extensive boat yards and stores that were primarily for the navy but then, through the late 19th and the 20th century, increasingly for commercial trade. The distinct rectangular island now known as Paper Island, but officially Christiansholm, and the island immediately to its south, Arsenalholm are shown on a map of 1749 much as now but then linked by a central bridge rather than the current bridge at the west end of the canal between the two islands.

By the 1990s both the navy and commercial shipping were moving out of the central harbour and there is a fascinating account by Klaus Kastbjerg - about how he acquired the island - that was published in the catalogue for Our Urban Living Room … an exhibition at the Danish Architecture Centre last year about the work of the architectural firm COBE.

COBE have drawn up the master plan for the redevelopment of this prominent site at the centre of the harbour and construction work will start at the end of the year. 

Although not everything in the scheme has been finalised, drawings have been published over the last year or so that show a mixed development around a large courtyard or public garden with taller blocks of apartments but on the ground level there will be large halls that replicate, to some extent, the spaces of the warehouses that have become such a popular venue for Copenhagen Street Food and for Experimentarium - before they moved to new buildings in Hellerup - and now the gallery space of Copenhagen Contemporary. The public walkway around the island on the quay will be retained but with stepping down and timber terraces for getting to the water to swim or to get to moorings.

The style of the new buildings has been inspired by the materials and the pitched roofs of historic warehouses and workshops along the harbour. Three of the apartment buildings rise up to 12 or so storeys and even the lower buildings will be much more prominent than the relatively low warehouses here now but sloping back of the upper floors of the buildings - to give a tapered silhouette - will reduce their impact when seen from below and should, if the colours and textures of the facing materials are not to stark, add some focus and vertical interest to the skyline of the waterfront rather than dominating it.

Bredgade Open


This Friday - 18th August - is Bredgade Open. 

Now a well-established annual event when the galleries, museums and design stores along Bredgade in Copenhagen have open house. It’s a good opportunity to meet people, ask questions, see displays that have been set up for the afternoon and evening and there will be food stalls, drinks and music.

Bredgade Open


The impressive post building at Øster Allé - on the corner of Fælledparken and close to the football stadium - was designed by Thorvald Jørgensen and was completed in 1922. 

It has been converted into a museum of post and telecommunications. 

There is still a proper post office counter just inside the main entrance although most of the ground floor is now a spacious and pleasant cafe - Enigma Kantina - with long tables where you are encouraged to talk to other people. They also sell gifts and smaller design items as well as souvenirs related to postal services and there is a sunny courtyard to the side - presumably the yard where postal vans loaded and unloaded.

The square in front of the building has been almost completely taken over by construction works for one of the new Metro Stations so it will be interesting to watch how this area changes and develops over the next few years once the extension to the metro is finished and the station opens in 2018.

Enigma, Øster Allé 1


noma pop under



Part of the team from the noma restaurant in Copenhagen have opened a pop-up restaurant under the arches of Knippelsbro - so under the road deck of the central bridge over the harbour. If you are walking, go down the steps on the Opera House side on the south or Christianshavn end of the bridge or get there by the harbour ferry to the Christianshavn ferry pier immediately south of the bridge. 

There are temporary kitchens along the quay and with barbecue cooking the smells, as you walk past, are amazing. … but then what would you expect? … this is chefs from noma. There is also a bar where you can buy a drink and just sit out watching the boats on the water and there is also the well-established wine merchants in their permanent space under the road deck.

noma continues here under the bridge until 3 September

the space under the bridge earlier in the Summer

Nikari at Design Werck

the December Chair by Jasper Morrison and Wataru Kumano with leather seat and back and the April tables by Alfredo Häberli from the 12 Designs for Nature Collection


detail of the top and edge of a table


Nikari Oy was founded in 1967 by the cabinet maker Kari Vitanen and is now established in Fiskars - the historic settlement, 75 kilometres west of Helsinki, that has grown up around an ironworks dating from the middle of the 17th century.

Nikari have a well-established reputation for the quality of their furniture and for their policy of using sustainable timber.

Their catalogue has a good, wide-ranging collection including chairs, stools, tables, side tables and cabinets, a sofa and garden furniture. All the pieces rely on the natural beauty of the high-quality wood used and the skill of the workmanship … as so often, here simplicity does not mean basic or even furniture that is spartan or minimalist … just uncluttered lines … so square sections to legs and straight plain edges to table tops rather than any mouldings or shaping.

Nikari have worked with an impressive list of designers ... with major Finnish designers including Antrei Hartikainen, Hari Koskinen, Johan Olin and Mikko Paakkanen; Scandinavian designers including Louise Campbell from Denmark and Mårten Claesson, Eero Koivisto and Ole Rune from Sweden as well as making pieces by the British designer Jasper Morrison and there have been recent collaborations with designers from Japan including Wataru Kumano, Motomi Morii, Tomoshi Nagano and Nao Tamura.

One particularly interesting collection in their current catalogue is their Designs for Nature series with each of the 12 pieces identified by a month from a collection of a stool, a bench and a low table designed by Harri Koskinen marking January through to a low chair with a slung seat and back in leather designed by Jasper Morrison and Wataru Kumano for December.

Several of these pieces that celebrate the months were shown at Design Werck.

See the separate post for October - the side chair from the collection designed by Samuli Naamanka

Nikari Oy, 10470 Fiskars, Finland





Detail of the December Chair in canvas (above and left) designed by Jasper Morrison and Wataru Kumano and the July table in elm and oak designed by Nao Tamura


samples of types of wood used by Nikari made like building blocks for a child and presented in a box with the clever trick of a hole in the centre of the tray so you can push them out ....  attention to every detail of presentation