For a serious dose of creative inspiration, make your way to Copenhagen, where icons of furniture design, including Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner, once wandered the city’s streets (if nothing else, you’re likely to sit in some really good-looking chairs). Because the Danish capital is practically synonymous with style, we’ve zeroed in on its most aesthetically pleasing attractions for our second design guide with Houzz – a home renovation and design platform.
Here, Kasper Iversen, editor of Houzz Denmark, walks us through a slew of design-focused things to do in Copenhagen, including a stay at a boutique hotel in a legendary amusement park, as well as a stroll down a street where you’re likely to spot famed Danish seats, like the ‘Wishbone’, ‘Swan’ and ‘Egg’ chair.
STAY/EXPLORE Nimb Hotel and Tivoli Gardens
Bernstorffsgade 5; Vesterbrogade 3
‘It’s practically impossible to visit Copenhagen without stopping by Tivoli Gardens (I wouldn’t recommend missing it, at least). The 175-year-old amusement park is in the centre of the city and is an ideal stop, whether you fancy a few relaxing moments surrounded by flower beds and fountains or you feel like a ride on one of the world’s oldest wooden roller coasters. In fact, Tivoli’s century-old roller coaster is one of just seven attractions in the world that is still operated by a brakeman on each wagon. Of course there’s no rush to leave, as the gardens don’t close ’til around midnight. But if you’d really like to spend the night, get a room at Nimb, which is right on Tivoli’s grounds.’
Christiansborg, 1218 København K
‘For the best view of the city, visit the restaurant at Tårnet (the Danish word for tower). This eatery sits atop Copenhagen in more ways than one: not only is it located in the city’s highest tower, it’s also perched above Christiansborg Palace and Danish parliament. Public access to this space – where the food, furniture, decor, dinnerware and cutlery are all Danish – wasn’t granted until 2014.
And oh yes, you might recognise Christiansborg Palace from the famed Danish TV series ‘Borgen’. This is precisely where all the political drama takes place.’
1260 København K
‘If you’re looking to buy modern art or designer furniture, Bredgade, or Broad Street, is the place for you (yes, I’m recommending an entire street!). Have a stroll and explore the quirky antique shops, impressive art galleries and numerous stores offering pieces by both famous and yet undiscovered Danish furniture designers. Bredgade is also where you’ll find the flagship store of the famous furniture maker Carl Hansen, plus the iconic auction house Bruun Rasmussen – the Danish equivalent of Sotheby’s.’
EXPLORE Designmuseum Denmark
‘You might already have an idea of why the country of hygge and Scandinavian simplicity is famous for design, and maybe you can even recognise a couple of famous Danish designer chairs. But what’s really the story behind the Scandinavian design boom? And why does the DNA of Danish design have a lot in common with Japanese design? You’ll learn about all this and much more when visiting Designmuseum Denmark. And don’t forget to pop into the museum shop – the ideal place to find design souvenirs.’
EAT Café Dyrehaven
Sdr. Boulevard 72
‘Furnished with recycled wooden chairs and orange lamps from the 70s, Café Dyrehaven is both charming and casual in its own quirky way. It’s also a great place for a traditional Danish lunch with a modern twist – if you haven’t had Danish rye bread yet, here’s your place to give it a go. Overall, this cafe is unpretentious, a hotspot for locals and a place to immerse yourself in true Danish hygge.’
August Bournonvilles Passage 1
‘There are plenty of good cocktail bars in Copenhagen. Stylish, quirky, cosy and hidden bars are easy to find, but only very few – if any at all – have as authentic an atmosphere as Brønnum. Located next door to Copenhagen’s Royal Theatre, Brønnum’s old rooms have served as a café, bar and restaurant for more than 125 years, welcoming all kinds of people, including famous Danish musicians, artists and writers such as H. C. Andersen. A few decades ago, the building was actually converted into the theatre’s ticket office. But today, fortunately, the space has been renovated and reopened as an old-school cocktail bar with a contemporary touch. Pop the champagne and let the party begin!’
Looking for style in Spain’s capital? Check out our design lover’s guide to Madrid.
Featured image is Designmuseum Denmark; photo by Christian Hoyer