City Guide: Copenhagen, Danish by Design

Copenhagen; the city of bicycles, with the best restaurant in the world, Noma, and once home to the iconic designer Arne Jacobsen and famous poet and author Hans Christian Andersen .  Also considered one of the greenest capitals in the world, this wonderful small city is a great escape for design aficionados and creative types alike. 

City of Bicycles

City of Bicycles

 STAY

The Radisson Blu Royal Hotel (Hammerichsgade 1)designed by famous architect, Arne Jacobsen himself, is located close to the main train station.  Swan and Egg chairs grace the lobby and  room 606, which still remains intact in its former glory, just for those who would like to take a step back in time to enjoy the original furniture, wood panels and Arne Jacobsen's futuristic drop chairs. 

 The Admiral Hotel (Toldbodgade 24 – 28), a converted 18th century warehouse is another great place to stay.  Originally built as a granary this building once stored up to 30 000 barrels of grain.  The building itself has been sympathetically restored giving a sense of history within its walls and most rooms still boast wooden beams that add to the charm and character of this establishment.  For cultural enthusiasts it's conveniently located in Nyhavn, very close to the Royal Palace, Amalienborg and the Royal Theatre.  

Radisson Blu Royal Hotel

Radisson Blu Royal Hotel

 SHOPPING AND DESIGN INSPIRATION

Shopping may seem expensive in Denmark. However, even if you are window shopping for design inspiration only, it is definitely worth every minute.

Strøget the longest pedestrian shopping area in Europe houses many great design hangouts.  Illums Bolighus (Amagertorv 10) boast an array of designer furniture, from the Penguin rocking chair by Ib Kofod Larsen to the Artichoke light by Poul Henningsen.  Right next door you can find Royal Copenhagen's Flagship Store (Amagertorv 6)  with wonderful window displays, but the real treasure is having lunch or just a cup of tea in the Royal Café (Amagertorv 6) in the back courtyard.  The interior is a mixture of eclectic, vintage BoHo Chic with quirky elements, royal portraits and wall murals; or as the owners like to call it “Funky Baroque”.  With beautiful chandeliers and hip waiting staff, you get to drink your tea and eat your lunch on beautiful hand painted porcelain from Royal Copenhagen.

Royal Copenhagen Flagship Store edited

Royal Copenhagen Flagship Store edited

A stone's throw away located in a beautiful 1896 art nouveau building is Hay (BS Studio, Nytorv 9).   Their philosophy is sustainable design and high quality at affordable prices.  Well worth a visit for a new take on mid century furniture, modern lighting and quirky candlesticks.

Hay

Hay

Once you start wandering off the beaten track into some of the little lanes, you will find other gems for design inspiration and perhaps something that just might fit in your suitcase to take home.  Stilleben (Niels Hemmingsens gade 3) is one of these gems and is filled with ceramics, textiles, accessories, jewellery and graphic prints.  They are also the people behind the popular series, ”Omaggio” from Kähler.  As well as their own designs they also house other artists' and upcoming designers' works.

Stilleben

Stilleben

Mant (Læderstræde 30), is a sweet little shop with wooden toys, tea-towels, food bits, plants and fantastic little Cubics filled with scenes from Copenhagen.  Great if you're looking for a little souvenir to take home.

Scandinavian fashion is something not to be missed on your trip to Copenhagen and Danish Fashion House Bruuns Bazaar (Kronprinsensgade 8 & 9) ticks all the right boxes for grown up sensibility that is sexy yet classic.

In the western part of the city you will find Designer's Zoo (Vesterbrogade 137).  Here, a myriad of inspiration from the moodboards of designers to their workshops, all included under one space. Unique one off pieces that will make your dinner guests’ talk and you even get to see some of these items in the making.

Normann Copenhagen (Østerbrogade 70), is Scandinavian style at its best.  From furniture, clothing, fabulous lighting to award winning design objects and cardboard structures.  This store is all you would need to inject a little Scandinavian design, with a twist of humour, into your home.  Not to mention it's a feast for your eyes.

Normann Copenhagen

Normann Copenhagen

For lovers of antiques and all things French then look no further than Fil de Fer (Kongensgade 83).  Here you can find vintage cafe au lait bowls, chandeliers and old French industrial lamps.

Last but not least you should visit Jolander (Store Kongensgade 74), a little shop filled to the brim with all sorts of interesting items, from new ceramics to scarves, vintage quilts and distressed frames filled with vintage postcards.  This little shop also showcases Danish designer Rie Elise Larsen's beautiful folded lampshades, which are a mixture of quirky English style and modern Scandinavian.

Royal Smushi Cafe

Royal Smushi Cafe

 VISIT THE DESIGN MUSEUM

Design Museum, Bredgade 68

A visit to the museum is an amazing window into the history of Danish design and should not be missed by designers and enthusiasts alike.  Formerly, the first public hospital in Denmark, the Design Museum is located in one of Copenhagen's finest rococo buildings.  It was renovated and refurbished in the early 1920's by architects Ivar Bentsen and Kaare Klint.   It's the largest museum for Danish and international design in Scandinavia, with exhibitions of 20th century Danish applied arts and industrial design.  Currently, also showcasing post war British textiles featuring Lucienne Day’s print ‘Calyx’.

Design Museum

PARKS

If a well earned respite from the city's hustle and bustle is what you need then the King's Gardens (Øster Voldgade 4), the country's oldest royal garden, is a great place to have a sandwich and chill in the company of the famous statue of Hans Christian Andersen.  For a more abundant array of flora, a short walk will take you to the Botanical Gardens (Gothersgade 128).  Rich with beautiful flowers, singing birds and the magnificent Palm house built in 1872-74.  From a romantic iron spiral staircase to tropical and subtropical climates this is one visit that won't disappoint.

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

EAT

As one would expect from a European capital, finding a place to eat that suits all palates and budgets is not that challenging.  However, if Danish is what you're after then there a few places to consider. Le Glace (Skoubogade 3) is Denmark's oldest Konditori and is just the antidote for tired feet.  Sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee and a delicious Danish pastry.  For something more substantial why not try a traditional Smørrebrod, an open Rye bread sandwich, at Told and Snaps (Toldbodgade 2).  With it's old fashioned wooden panels and pub like feel it's a great stop for lunch.  Situated close to Nyhavn in one of the basement restaurants it offers only the best fresh and homemade ingredients.  You can choose from a variety of toppings such as Icelandic barrel matured pickled herring with capers and onions, or roast belly of pork with red cabbage sauerkraut.  To accompany your Smørrebrød try one of the organic beers, or be a true Dane and have a glass of  Schnapps.  Very traditional, very Danish and very delicious! 

La Glace

La Glace

If design wasn't all you set out to see in Copenhagen, take one of the many canal boats in Nyhavn where you can see most of the usual sights whilst travelling on water.  This is still one of the best ways to see and enjoy the city.  Otherwise, if sunny, join the locals, grab a beer and soak up the atmosphere along the harbour walkway in Nyhavn (Nyhavn, Netto-Bådene).

Nyhavn

Nyhavn

Words & Photography by Rochelle Cootetaken from Summer Issue 2013 of Heart Home magazine.