Copenhagen Design Week Highlights History of Danish Design
By James Ruggia
September 20, 2011 11:08 PM
Danish design is revered for its sleek lines and simplicity and its functionality. The vision that inspired classic Danish design of the 1950s and 1960s is thriving in Denmark today. On Sept. 1, during the Copenhagen Design Week, the Danish non-profit design organization INDEX announced the five winners of its international “design to improve life” competition. The total prize sum of over $700,000 is the world’s largest monetary design award. The five winning designs and the People’s Choice Award design represent work of designers from Chile, India, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S.
The international design week focused on how design can help solve local and global challenges, and plans for the next Copenhagen Design Week are set for 2013. In the early 1950s, the idea of using design to improve people’s lives was an integral part of innovative Danish design. Architects and designers in postwar Denmark were concerned with, for instance, creating affordable quality furniture enabling the average Dane to live better. Today, original Danish Modern furniture and household objects fetch large sums in shops and at auctions.
Finn Juhl would have turned 100 on Jan. 30, 2012. His design legacy is alive throughout the world, but nowhere as much as at Ordrupgaard Museum in Charlottenlund, just outside Copenhagen where his home is preserved just as he left it -- filled with furniture of his own design and artwork by the contemporary artists of his day. The home is open to visitors on weekends and holidays year-round. In Ordrupgaard’s shop, you can buy Finn Juhl-designed items such as the Circle Bowl and the Turning Tray. For more information, visit www.ordrupgaard.dk.
At Trapholt museum in the city of Kolding, the “Anniversary Exhibition -- Finn Juhl 100 Years” (Jan. 11 through December 2012) will focus on the sculptural qualities of Juhl’s designs and highlight his sources of inspiration. Trapholt has Denmark’s largest collection of 20th century Danish furniture and also offers a visit to the summerhouse of another Danish Modern star, Arne Jacobsen. For more information, visit www.trapholt.dk.
The Finn Juhl Institute is a new organization backed by major players in Danish design. Its English-language website (www.finnjuhl.org) will be ready for 2012. Famous designs by Finn Juhl and the other Danish Modern masters -- Arne Jacobsen, Kaare Klint, Mogens Koch, Børge Mogensen, Verner Panton, Jørn Utzon, Hans J. Wegner and many others -- can be viewed at the permanent exhibition at Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen. The museum also has plans to mark Finn Juhl’s centennial. Finn Juhl’s Pelican chairs can also be seen in the rooms of the female-only Bella Donna floor at the newly opened Bella Sky Comwell Hotel, Scandinavia’s largest hotel. For more information, visit www.bellaskycomwell.dk or www.visitcopenhagen.com/see-and-do/architecture. For general destination information, visit www.visitdenmark.com.