Bauhaus #itsalldesign

Designmuseum Danmark, Bredgade 68, Copenhagen

A major exhibition has opened at Designmuseum Danmark on the history, the staff and their teaching and the work of the Bauhaus school of architecture and design.

This reassessment was conceived by Vitra Design Museum and Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn to mark 100 years since the opening of the Bauhaus.

review to follow

the exhibition continues until 1 December 2019

Designmuseum Danmark

 

images from the Light Festival in Copenhagen

 
  • the tower of Christiansborg from Frederiksholms Kanal

  • the beam of light from the tower of Nikolaj Kirke across the statue of Bishop Absalon

  • Go Boat on the Amager side of the harbour and Eternal Sundown by Mads Vegas at Bølgen, the Wave, at Kalvebod Brygge on the city side of the harbour

  • Pyramid Construction by NEXT Cph on the square in front of BLOX

  • Chromatic Fields by Jakob Kvist at Louis Poulsen - Kuglegårdsvej

the Light Festival continues at venues around the city
through to 24 February 2019
the official site has a map and details of related events

Copenhagen Light Festival

 

street lighting in Copenhagen

 

Around the city, artificial lighting in streets and squares is designed with real care.

The new lighting for Slotsplads in front of Christiansborg is a good example where light levels are subdued and subtle … bright enough to feel secure and warm rather than having sharp white electric light so about as far as you can get from crass spotlights and appropriate for what is one of the most important public buildings in the city.

Light fittings here tend to be low rather than on high posts although traffic junctions are still lit by larger lights set higher, often suspended from wires, because they have to cover a wider area simply for safety.

But on many foot paths and cycle routes the lighting at night is from lamps set in relatively short posts - so below waist height - that throw a pool of light across the paving and where there are steps these are now often illuminated by lights under the hand rails or by small lights set onto the surface.


The annual Copenhagen Festival of Light will be from 1st February through to the 24th.
It’s a good time to visit the city if it feels as if there is still a very long wait for Spring because the festival gives people a reason for going out on a dark night.

 

lighting the square at Christiansborg

Back at the end of November, there was a short post about extensive work across Slotsplads - the public square in front of Christiansborg - the parliament building in the centre of Copenhagen.

The main reason for remodelling this large and important public space was to bring some order to the area where, as a temporary security measure to thwart attacks with vehicles, a line of rough boulders had been set out in an arc on the outer edge of the square. The boulders have been replaced with large granite spheres and new setts were laid across the whole area. Security barriers were in place that drop down into the ground for access to the front of the building but work was ongoing - particularly along the canal in front of the square where new paving has been laid and a line of new trees have been planted.

Plans for this work showed the old lights but in a new arrangement in a straight line across the facade. There were electric cables in place with a rough gap in the cobbles where each light was to go but, given the time of year, there was a line of large Christmas trees here across the front of the building and all strung with fairy lights.

Now, with the new year, the Christmas trees have gone and the new lights have been installed in a straight line across the front, regularly-spaced and just out from a line of shallow steps. Ornate historic iron lamps are set on simple grey, marble bases and the effect is good … ordered and appropriate in a down-played but monumental sort of way.

Dedicate from Roon & Rahn

 

Back in August, when the design market FindersKeepers was at Øksnehallen in Copenhagen, there was a chance to catch up with some of the team from Roon & Rahn.

A fairly new design that they have added to their catalogue is a candle holder called Dedicate.

Product reviews as such are rarely given space here on this site but the candle holder is not just ingenious in itself but is cleverly packaged and presented and it demonstrates very well some of the best qualities that give the best Danish design an edge.

Roon & Rahn, a small design studio based in Aarhus, was established by Nicki van Roon and René Rahn Hansen. They have concentrated on producing a small number of designs including stools and tables - all with a distinct style - all made well with a concentration on technical details that takes their work closer to an engineering approach than to the work of a carpenter.

Their real skill is to tackle product design from a different direction … why simply try to design something slightly better than the competition when actually, if you take a step back, then it might be a good idea to try something very different to do the same job.

Dedicate could not be a better example. If you had to come up with objects the design market in Denmark should not need more of it would probably be more chairs and more candle holders. The new idea for Dedicate is that it comes with a twist … or, to be more accurate, it comes without a fold and bend that you provide … so it's a flat-pack candle holder although I'm not sure Nicki and René would see that as the most flattering description.

It is cut from a single piece of rose steel and comes in a manila envelope where you can add the name of the person you are giving it to - hence Dedicate. There is a clear set of instructions, so, as with all the designs from Roon & Rahn, deceptively simple but in fact very carefully-designed and really good packaging and graphics are a crucial part of their work.

Out of its envelope, you break off a small disc that will support the candle and then bend the main steel cut-out in two directions using the edge of a table to keep the main fold straight - and a standard candle is dropped down to be held on a short spike.

On the current catalogue from Roon & Rahn for 2018 there is a tag line "Passion for clever design". That sums it up pretty well.

 

Roon & Rahn

 

Koglen / The Artichoke by Poul Henningsen 1958

 

Koglen / The Artichoke was designed in 1958 for the then newly rebuilt pavilion on the Langelinie promenade.

There are 72 leaves or petals to the light arranged in 12 lines of overlapping leaves or petals of graded size diminishing from top to bottom and angled out and down to control the light and obscure the light source to cut out glare.

With four sizes - of which the largest has a diameter of 840 mm and is 720 mm high with a weight close to 28 kilo - the lights have a dramatic impact - even in the largest space. The original lights had a copper finish although options now include versions painted white or with leaves in polished steel and, to mark the anniversary, there is a numbered edition in brushed brass.

Louis Poulsen

Louisiana Jubilæum 1958 / 2018 - the chair and the lamp designed by Vilhelm Wohlert

To mark the sixty years since the Modern Art Museum at Louisiana opened, the Louisiana Chair and the Louisiana Lamp have been re-released.

Both were designed by Vilhelm Wohlert who, with Jørgen Bo, was the architect for the museum and the chair and the pendant lamp can be seen in the museum restaurant that has been refurnished for the anniversary.

Louisiana Butik

 
  1. the Louisiana Chair displayed with the tall bar stools in the Butik at Louisiana

  2. the Louisiana Lamp in the Butik

  3. the chairs designed by Vilhelm Wohlert in the museum restaurant

  4. the taller stools with back rest in the museum restaurant

 

multiple shadow house

 
 

A light installation by the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson for the opening of the new building and new exhibition spaces of the Danish Architecture Centre in Copenhagen. Multiple Shadow House was shown in New York in 2010 and at the Musée d'art contemporain in Montréal, in 2017.

At BLOX, it is in a smaller so what will be, presumably, a temporary exhibition and event space at the first level up from the entrance and book shop and before the main exhibition.

This area has been divided into three simple but linked spaces of different sizes to create what feels like a set of giant boxes.

At the back of each space, strong coloured lights are set low down at floor level to project a wash of colour up and forward across the front wall but when anyone enters the space they create a series of sharp overlapping silhouettes onto the front wall that, with people in the space, becomes a screen.

Each silhouette, created by one of the lights, seems to have a distinct colour and it is  the overlap of the silhouettes that is black. These multiple silhouettes are stronger in colour towards the centre and drop back becoming lighter or paler to left and right to create a sense of three dimensions in a light effect that should surely be and look flat.

The colours of the lights and the overlapping mixtures of colours are different in each space and all curiously quite subtle or at least not glaring and the pattern of overlapping silhouettes is intriguing … normally, with a single shadow, although the outline can be distorted by the angle of the light, limbs and movement, although they are elongated, can be quickly recognised and identified but here, although the shadows are 'larger than life' it is the multiplication of the image and the pattern of the overlap that is confusing so, with a group of people in the room, or even with someone on their own, the common response seems to be to exaggerate movements just to distinguish a hand or a foot from the limbs of someone else so light, instead of bringing clarity, seems to inspire the exaggeration or distortion of a stance or a movement.

 

Visitors become distracted - as they realise that the patterns of their multiple silhouettes respond to what they are doing or how they are standing - and, as they become absorbed, they seem less and less aware that they are illuminated by those same lights so there is an overlap of watchers watched as they become performers so it is interesting to stand quietly at the back to watch an impromptu performance.

 

continues until 10th October 2018

Dansk Arkitektur Center / Danish Architecture Centre
Bryghuspladsen 10
1473 Copenhagen K

 

 

the only selfie you will see posted to this site

&Tradition for 3daysofdesign

 

 

Until recently, &Tradition had their showrooms and studio on Paper Island, right in the centre of the city, but those former warehouses, where the newspaper industry had stored paper for printing - so hence the name - are being demolished to make way for a major redevelopment of apartments and a new inner-city swimming pool.

So &Tradition have moved across the city and are now established in a fine 18th-century town house that overlooks the King's Garden.

 

The change could hardly be more dramatic. Visiting the new showrooms and new studio and offices of the design company for the first time was one of the most interesting revelations of 3daysofdesign … or rather one of the most amazing and, to be honest, one of the most appropriate and clever transformations for a design company I have seen.

Don't get me wrong …. the old showroom, designed by the Copenhagen architects Norm, was dramatic with impressive space but the collection always looked slightly lost and, to be honest, it was difficult to make that step to imagining how that furniture might look in the sort of spaces we actually occupy.

the old studio on Paper Island

Furniture and lighting from &Tradition has been the usual mix of most Danish design companies ... so good classic designs - like the Mayor Sofa designed by Arne Jacobsen and Flemming Larsen in 1939 or the Flower Pot light by Verner Panton from 1969 - alongside new furniture commissioned from designers like Jaime Hayon.

With the move of location comes a new tag line … &Tradition Home of a Collector. It takes the furniture up a notch or three to break away from the crowded middle ground of Danish design companies and puts the furniture into a clearly domestic but very comfortable setting. This is Copenhagen interiors at their most stylish.

 

The house has a very grand entrance from the archway from the street but beyond is an incredibly pleasant courtyard and there is a new café.

If there were clear new trends from 3daysofdesign this year it was the use of named and well-known independent stylists - rather than in-house designers - and a growing number of design stores that have a café. This is furniture buying as a destination trip. And no ... that's not snide sarcasm … I only get round these events with in-flight refuelling of caffeine.

It is not all room settings here, for there are good displays of lighting and a couple of exhibition areas with a good small show about the background to the Little Petra Chair that was designed by Viggo Boesen in 1938 - after a trip to New York - and this chair is the latest addition to the &Tradition collection.

&Tradition, Kronprinsessegade 4, Copenhagen

 

 

the IRMA hen

Irma Chicken.jpeg
 

 

the famous roof-top neon sign of the egg-laying hen was installed in 1936 to advertise the supermarket IRMA .... the Schepler family opened their first store selling eggs, milk and butter in 1886 at Ravnsborggade 13 a block back from the lake ... but the sign was dismantled around a year ago for the roof to be rebuilt and for building work on a new or remodelled attic apartment

the sign is back and its return will be celebrated by a special festival on Saturday 26th May starting at 4pm with, appropriately, an egg and spoon race around the lake

CPH Light Festival - around Islands Brygge

 

Orb Family by Pipaluk Supernova and Thomas Jørgensen

Emil Holms Kanal

2 February - 2 March

 

Reflections by Silla Herbst

Emil Holms Kanal

from 2 February and then permanent

 

Balloon Forest by Delphine Piault and Frédéric Dilé

Kulturhuset, Islands Brygge 18

2 - 28 February

 

Eternal Sundown by Mads Vegas

Kalvebod Brygge 5

2 February - 2 March

 

CPH Light Festival 2018

 
 

 

CPH Light Festival is running through February, with Frost Festival 18, with sound and light installations around the city.

The Wave, by Mikkel Meyer and Jonas Fehr, has returned for a second winter at Ofelia Plads on the harbour immediately north of the National Theatre and on the other side of the harbour to the Opera House.

There are forty triangles, each 4 metres high, set in line along the mole. The light responds to the movement of people as they walk down through the triangles and the haunting sound carries across the harbour to the park beside the Opera House.

 

The Wave, Ofelia Plads, Copenhagen 4 February and 25th March

programme of the installations for CPH LIGHT FESTIVAL

1958 was a good year for design

the display at Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen with the three famous chairs that Arne Jacobsen designed in 1958 for the SAS Royal Hotel with the floor-standing lamp from the same year

 

This year - through 2018 - Fritz Hansen will mark the 60th anniversary of the furniture designed by Arne Jacobsen for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen.

The Egg and The Swan were shown to the public for the first time at the Formes Scandinaves exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in November 1958 and at the showroom of Fritz Hansen in January 1959. The hotel was completed and opened in 1960.

Furniture was produced by Fritz Hansen for the 275 rooms and for the public spaces of the hotel - perhaps the most significant contract for any major modern furniture company. 

Fritz Hansen has just released a limited edition of The Egg and there will be anniversary editions of The Drop chair in September and of The Swan in December.

The hotel is one of the most important examples of what German critics describe usefully as Gesamtkunstwerk or total design. These chairs, on their own, would be considered as outstanding designs but Jacobsen, with a small design team - the studio was in his own home - produced the designs for the building; the interior designs for complex public spaces including the lobby with its circular staircase and the large transit hall for the airline; designs for all the architectural hardware including door handles and stair rails; a phenomenal range of furniture including several other chairs, tables, bedside cupboards; rugs; light fittings and even the glassware, silverware and cutlery for the dining room. A truly remarkable achievement.

Republic of Fritz Hansen

an anniversary ... the PH 5 at 60

 

The PH 5 light designed by Poul Henningsen was first produced by Louis Poulsen, the Danish lighting company, in 1958. For the anniversary the company has produced the light in new combinations of colours and they have also launched a scaled-down version of the light ... the overall diameter of the original design is 500mm and 267mm high and the new PH 5 MINI has a diameter of 300mm and is 163mm high.

Louis Poulsen

the PH 5 was featured in a post here in November on this site in the series design classic

Anker & co

 

Anker at Århusgade 120 in Copenhagen represent a number of leading lighting manufacturers including the Venetian company Barovier & Toso, Catellani & Smith from Bergamo, the Belgian manufacturers Wever & Ducré, the Austrian company XAL from Graz and the Swedish lighting company Wästberg.

One interesting display showed the effect of different light sources not just on the overall tone and warmth or coolness of the light but, by using a set of colouring crayons in each section, showed how different colours are changed by the different sources of artificial light.

anker

 

Hay for 3daysofdesign

 

For 3daysofdesign, the design company Hay have taken over Lindencrones Palæ on Sankt Annæ Plads (Lindencrone’s Palace on Saint Anne’s Square). So going to this event was an opportunity to look around a pretty amazing building but for Hay it gave them dramatic settings for their furniture, lighting and kitchen and tableware. One large room had the Result Chair and Pyramid Table … maybe a first for a display designer or stylist to have so much space that they could stack so many tables so high.

Just in terms of general design principles, the show highlighted again an important aspect of Danish interiors … that in many Danish homes furniture and fittings of very different periods and styles are deliberately mixed together … so starkly modern lighting or steel and glass furniture in an old apartment that has panelling or ornate plasterwork and sash windows - though perhaps not often on the scale of this Palæ. 

Or in a starkly modern home you will find either a carefully-chosen chair from the classic period of Danish design in the 1950s and 60s or old and much-loved pieces of furniture that have been inherited.

One general but simple lesson here in the Hay display was that choosing tableware and so on carefully and then using multiples but leaving it all out as open storage on display can look pretty good.

For Hay, the building also provided an impressive setting for showing off, with pride, their latest products and for welcoming and entertaining visitors who could sit in the calm and quiet of an old entrance passage used as a temporary cafe or people could have a coffee out in the sun of the courtyard that has been fitted out with Hay’s Palissade furniture. 

Hay

 

Above from Louis Poulsen

Louis Poulsen have launched Above … a new pendant light designed by Mads Odgård. 

Made in spun aluminium, the simple but beautifully-proportioned shape is a steep-sided cone that is open at the top and bottom but the line of the side is continued, without a break or change in material, to run up and over the top to form a broad loop - almost like a handle - that holds the flex. 

There are four sizes - the largest with a diameter of 550mm - and the shades are either matt black or matt white and both with a white interior. They form a pool of light below but the narrower beam of light up, and the dramatic under-lighting of the loop, gives a strong sense of a solid sculptural form and a distinct element of drama.

This starkly minimalist design is stunning but it also illustrates really important lessons for other manufacturers … the more minimal the design, the more important the precise line and the proportion of the form becomes and, as with Above, the more that decoration is stripped away and the more that details are simplified, then the quality of production and quality of materials become paramount.

The small version of the light has a diameter of 175mm but there are also options for intermediate sizes at 250mm and 400mm so the design is minimal but the possible effects are infinite from tightly-controlled spot lighting from a small single low-hung light, to lines of lights over a work surface at a uniform height to the most dramatic groupings of lights of different sizes in a group and set at different levels.  

Louis Poulsen

Mads Odgård