Rud. Rasmussen on Bredgade in Copenhagen
Bredgade in Copenhagen, in the 18th-century part of the city, runs from the large square of Kongens Nytorv to the Kastellet and has a number of well-established galleries; the auction house of Bruun Rasmussen; some of the finest antique shops in the city and several major design stores.
At the city end of the street is the furniture store and show room of Carl Hansen & Søn and next to them the cabinet making company Rud. Rasmussen, now also owned by Carl Hansen, and nearby Klassik, who sell original furniture from the 20th century, and all three with special events for 3daysofdesign.
My day continued with a look at nyt i bo the furniture store on the parallel street, Store Kongensgade, and then on to the design companies now at Frederiksgade 1, a grand apartment building above the furniture store. After that, and as a contrast, it was on to the design gallery Atelier September and, for the last stop of the day, a ‘pop-up’ exhibition in an apartment overlooking the church of St Nicholas … a work by the artist Pernille Egeskov with the title Hjem or Home. The exhibition was an important collaboration between the furniture company Fritz Hansen, the family company of Dinesen and Georg Jensen Damask.
Carl Hansen and Søn were established in Odense in 1908. They are still owned and still run by the family and their furniture is still produced in Denmark, and produced by craftsmen and women who maintain exceptionally high standards of workmanship. Part of their display in the Bredgade store for 3daysofdesign included a craftsman weaving the paper cord seat for a CH22 chair, the most recent chair to be made by the company and not, in fact, to be released until next Friday 3rd June.
Carl Hansen & Søn have also reintroduced the professors table, the PK52 and the smaller version, called the student table, the PK52A by Poul Kjærholm designed in 1950. These are simple but elegant and beautiful tables but actually designed to be incredibly strong and practical. The metal legs are not square but L-shaped in cross section and the wooden top rests on short pillars on the long rails, simply held in place by up stands at each end that form a rebate, and the top can be simply flipped over … it was assumed that it would be used by architects - both professors and students - for drawing and even for cutting so it was double sided.
The workshops of Rud. Rasmussen, in general, had a catalogue of pieces from a slightly earlier period including designs by Kaare Klint and although now owned by Carl Hansen, the two brands have kept their independent identities. Opposite the two main show rooms is a small separate store, also for Rud.Rasmussen, that opened a year ago and includes a small but fascinating exhibition about the famous chair designed by Kaare Klint in 1914 for the museum at Faaborg and still in production.
Klassik at Bredgade 3, just a few doors away from Carl Hansen & Søn, is a furniture store that was established in 1991, and sells an amazing range of pieces from the 1950s and 1960s along with earlier and later pieces of furniture, original lighting and ceramics and glass from the 20th century. 3daysofdesign was an opportunity for them to mark the opening of extensive new display areas but they also used the event to launch their new venture to produce new furniture from earlier designs … one of the first pieces being a day bed by the cabinetmaker Poul M Volter that was designed in 1959.
details of pieces at Klassik in Copenhagen including the table by Poul Kjærholm
If you want to see as wide a range of original pieces of furniture from the 20th century in one place and you want to be able to see close up the details of design or construction then perhaps the best place in the city to start is Klassik. On this visit they had an early version of the Professor Table that I had just been looking at as the newly released version from Carl Hansen. The Klassik example had a top in three ply timber that presumably stopped the relatively wide and long top from twisting.
Towards the middle of Bredgade is the Marble Church and at the north-west corner of the impressive apartments forming the setting for the church is the furniture store nyt i bo and a major design display space in former apartments above the furniture store, entered normally through the entrance to Frederiksgade 1. At the moment, with the major engineering works for the extension of the metro, you have to walk the long way round to Store Kongensgade.
MA/U Studio at nyt i bo
Special displays in nyt i bo for 3daysofdesign included MA/U Studio with a version of their metal furniture in a brand new colour combination of gold and a metallic red. So new that it had only just arrived from the workshops. These desks and shelves are not what many would automatically associate with Danish furniture design - surely all about simple shapes in pale wood - but in Danish furniture design there has been a long history of designing in metal and for some furniture to be closer to the work of an engineer than to the work of a cabinet maker and I would argue that in their deceptively-simple shapes that depend upon perfect construction then the shelving and tables from MA/U Studio are quintessentially Danish. Tops and shelves are in timber from Dinesen and again it is the exceptionally-high quality of the material that is an essential element in the realisation of the design. Both MA/U Studio and Dinesen will be featured in much longer profiles on this site later in the Summer.
O&D at Frederiksgade 1
The rooms in the former apartments above the furniture store are home to a growing number of design companies. If you are curious to see how grand apartments in Copenhagen from the late 19th century are arranged then that is a bonus from a visit to the group. Design studios here at Frederiksgade 1 include the showrooms of Getama; the design company File Under Pop; One Collection and Please Wait to be Seated. All opened their doors for 3daysofdesign. On the upper floor was O&D - the designers and craftsmen Christian Dyrman and Jasper Overgaard - and they are set to establish their Copenhagen base here. Their chairs, stools, two-seat sofas and tables were all on display.
the cafe and gallery at Atelier September in Gothersgade in Copenhagen
As a complete contrast I headed to the end of Store Kongensgade and turned up Gothersgade to number 30 - Atelier September. This is a relatively-new gallery space launched last year by Jonas Trampedach in what had been the display space for his mother’s antique shop. Here now there is a gallery space on the raised ground-floor level, several steps up from the street, and with workshops below for the production of tables, stools and lighting designed by Jonas. I hope the photographs here say it all. The very distinct sense of very real style is perhaps more French than Danish or perhaps if Danish then closer to the art World of Copenhagen in the 20s ... or to what I imagine the art world in Copenhagen in the 1920s to have been like.
The gallery is reached through a cafe on the street frontage. I have always said that I try not to make this blog one of those sites that is an endless account of where the blogger had coffee but I had a coffee while Jonas had to go out to collect a friend from somewhere. Could not resist for once taking a photo and posting it. Top marks not just for the ceramics but also for the coffee in the mug.
Hjem by Pernille Egeskov
The last stop of the day was at Nikolaj Plads 9. This was a collaboration between Fritz Hansen, Dinesen and Georg Jensen Damask and was an event specifically for 3daysofdesign. Normally I am wary of art installations and that is despite the fact or possibly because I am an art history graduate. But this work by Pernille Egeskov was stunning and thought provoking and certainly merits a separate review.