We’re back in Copenhagen today to explore some of my highlights from last month’s visit to 3daysofdesign. The festival which is open to the public takes place every year, celebrating the best in Nordic design. With so many showrooms full of the most exquisite, minimal design its impossible not to feel overwhelmed by it all. In fact, you really need five days in the city to gear yourself up and wind down afterwards!
With this, my very first visit to Copenhagen, the stakes were high. I landed the night before, checked into design hotel SP34 and headed out to dinner with friends ahead of a jam-packed day. And just as well I packed decent walking shoes because after a full day of 9am-10:30pm studio visits and meetings, I was done! By Friday mid-afternoon I was already flying back to London with a head full of inspiration.
Soothing interiors and calm, muted spaces offset the feeling of chaos as we made our way around the city. Not surprisingly, textured lime and chalk painted walls provided the backdrop for many collections with shades of light grey and subtle beige proving to be most popular. Darker palettes also came through, presenting a moodier, sophisticated aesthetic such as the New Works showroom. Among the many topics of conversation during the festival, the most common thread throughout was sustainability, mindfulness and collaboration.
Senses by Louisa Grey & Frama
You just can’t come to 3daysofdesign and not see the Frama Studio. Set inside a former 19th Century apothecary, the ‘Senses’ collaboration between London interior designer Louisa Grey and Frama’s founder Niels Strøyer Christophersen takes you on a sensory journey. With influences of Japanese culture, the studio aimed to push back against our busy lifestyles, presenting a remedy for overload with restorative spaces in which to reconnect with nature and our inner selves. You were encouraged to slow your pace as you make your way around. It was impossible not to feel affected by the experience, as you take in the sounds, scents and textures.
Niels and Louisa talked about their common ground with a shared focus on wellbeing and natural, sustainable materials. The beautiful, old bones of the building are left raw and exposed in contrast to Frama’s contemporary collection. There is a room for meditation featuring a Japanese Zen garden in miniature with carefully selected quarry stones. Another room explores sound alongside the latest scent from the St Paul’s Apothecary collection. Beyond this, a room to bathe and relax with a Japanese wooden bath as its crowning glory.
With glimpses of beautifully arranged grasses and a curated selection of Frama’s ceramics, this was a place I’d have happily stayed in all day.
Frama Studio | Fredericiagade 57, 1310 Københaven.
Karimoku Case Study at Kinfolk Gallery
I think the word ‘Kinfolk’ would be enough of a highlight to leave it there, but then I think this new launch absolutely deserves an explanation.
The Japanese thread continues with the launch of a new collaborative collection, Karimoku Case Study. This contemporary lifestyle brand unites both Nordic and Japanese design sensibilities. Showcased within the sanctuary of the Kinfolk Gallery, the collection is the result of a partnership between Japanese furniture manufacturers Karimoku and architectural studios Norm Architects and Keiji Ashizawa Design.
In short, it was a dream. Inspired by shrines, temples and gardens of Japan, the interiors were cocooning and warm. You got a sense of the space both in the layout and in the way Norm Architects and Keiji Ashizawa have explored and used negative space within the collection. The large, open rooms had been treated with DetaleCPH lime paint to introduce a quiet texture on which to present the collection. Respective values connected through nature and traditional craft come through in the furniture which is elegant and understated. Woven veneer wall art highlighted those connections and the importance of craft.
The gallery was also dressed with pieces from like-minded co-exhibitors including Kvadrat upholstery, Sørensen Leather and floral design boutique Tableau. Keep your eyes peeled for slightly left-field floral design folks, tonal coloured displays are leading on from dried grasses…
*all photography © Monica Grue Steffensen.
Kinfolk | Amagertorv 14, 1160 Københaven.
Form & Refine Launch at Hotel Charlottenborg
Having discovered Form & Refine on Instagram a few months before their official launch (you may have seen their Alcoa vases in my feed) I was excited to see them as part of the Hotel Charlottenborg installation. Set inside the Kunsthal Charlottenborg (not pictured) the halls were turned into a hotel experience using a collective of design brands.
Visually New Nordic in style, sustainable practices guide the collection by the use of materials and in supporting the smaller communities that produce them. Form & Refine aim to reduce their C02 footprint whilst celebrating time honoured materials from around the world. Be it Scandinavian wood or Bolivian wool. With a focus on craft and traditional skills, they employ local workshops to produce their designs.
The Alcoa vases (a favourite of mine for their graphic shape and matte surface) are produced in the ancient clay region of Alcobaça in Portugal where I made a visit to a family-owned ceramics factory last summer. I’d put money on the Origin lounge chair becoming a future classic too. Made in Danish ash from the forest of Damsbo, the backrest and seat almost float on its frame. Isn’t it beautiful?
The &Tradition Village
I’ve noticed lately how showrooms are evolving into more immersive and relaxed spaces. The new home of &Tradition is a gorgeous example, nestled inside a historic mansion dating back to 1913. Named ‘The Village’, it encompasses a showroom, gallery space and The Courtyard cafe, an oasis of lush, informal planting in which to meet for lunch or coffee. Visitors can experience new and classic designs pieces from the collection at their leisure within ‘The Home of a Collector’ and take in all the period features of the building. What more could you want?! The ‘Novelties’ exhibition in the upstairs gallery space showcased the popular classics, including my favourite – the 1968 Flowerpot lamp designed by Verner Panton. A new release, the Elefy chair from Spanish designer Jamie Hayon was also on display, inspired by the large, curved form of the elephant.
&Tradition | Kronprinsessegade 4, 1306 Københaven.
Take me back already! Have my highlights left you feeling a little more zen now? Perhaps it’s giving you food for thought with your own home? It definitely has for me – I’ll be dipping my hands into lime painting my office in the coming weeks and I’ll be working on a ‘how to’ piece if you fancy trying it for yourself. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for more on The Audo, an incredible residential workspace and restaurant created in collaboration with Menu Design. You. Will. Love.