Where design is spelled with a DK

Scandinavian design is famous for fulfilling its purpose without compromising on aesthetics, and Denmark has been at the forefront of this movement since it emerged in the 1950s. Its history actually lies in socialist politics, the idea that stylish objects shouldn’t just be affordable to the wealthy. The climate is also a factor; long, dark winters mean that minimal and bright functional design is appreciated. Minimal does not mean cold and empty, though. Here, the concept of ‘hygge’ (roughly translating into ‘cosy’) is an important design element. Big names such as Arne Jacobsen and Poul Henningsen have dominated the scene, but it is possible to get the Scandinavian look on a budget.

Rud Rasmussen Workshop

The Rud Rasmussen furniture workshop was declared a Danish Industrial Heritage Site in 2009. Inside, ‘art furniture’ is made with love and according to the motto ‘quality over quantity’. The attention to detail in the process of making each individual piece of furniture by hand is unique. There is even an on-site drying cellar where the wood is left for at least six months to avoid any further drying out and warping after the joiners get to work. Their own furniture collection is small but classic, ranging from children’s furniture – the Grandchild Chair is particularly sweet – to coffee tables. Rud Rasmussen also make furniture from world-renowned Danish designers; Hans J Wegner’s Shell chair, designed in 1963, will be recognisable to visitors. Inside the original workshop is the showroom where experts are on hand to guide you through the history and craft involved. The Prince of Wales even visited last year and paid tribute to the sustainable element of the small-scale manufacturer. Well, if it’s good enough for royalty …

Norrebrogade 45, 2200 Copenhagen N


Open: Mon-Fri 10-4


Designmusuem Danmark 


Founded in 1890, Designmuseum Danmark (formerly known as the Museum of Art and Design) was intended to inspire manufacturers and craftsmen, and so is a must-see for fans of Danish design. As well as Jacobsen and Henningsen, the design archive also displays major European works and Chinese ceramics. In the Print and Drawings Collection it’s possible to view original sketches by Danish artists, including early furniture designs. Danish posters, past and present, are on display in the Poster Collection and their subject varies radically. Some are simply advertising cultural events while others are loaded with political meaning. Rare posters by foreign artists such as Matisse and Chagall are also on display. The museum garden is open to visitors and is a lovely spot for a picnic in the sun or visitors can enjoy a traditional Danish menu at the museum’s newly renovated café. 


Bredegade 68, 1268 Copenhagen K


Open: Tue-Sun 11-5, Wed 11-9

Admission: adults 75kr; season ticket 200kr; groups (min. 10)/pensioners 50kr, children under 18 free , students free on presentation of a valid student ID


The Design Society


The Design Society café is where the designers of tomorrow meet to discuss their plans for the future. The Design Centre, where it is located, is itself is a powerhouse of Danish design; the Danish Design Centre and the Danish Fashion Institute both reside in the building. The focus here is on sustainability and the future. The INDEX Award was launched in 2002 and was initially intended to boost Copenhagen’s reputation in the design world but has since become the biggest sustainable design award in the world. The design must ‘improve life’ in one of five different categories and winners receive €100,000 to invest in their product. The café serves a traditional Danish breakfast and a lunch menu of ‘minis’- mini hamburger anyone? Grab a window seat, relax with a glass of wine and watch the hustle and bustle of H.C. Andersens Boulevard go by.


H.C. Andersens Boulevard 27, 1533 Copenhagen K


Open: Mon-Fri 8-6, Sat-Sun 10-6




When it comes to shopping for items that will fit in your suitcase, Normann is the place. Granted, they do sell beautiful furniture, but they also sell reasonably priced items that won’t require shipping to get them home. From practical items such as shoehorns and toilet brushes to cutlery and cognac glasses, all aspects of home life are covered. The tea egg, at 100kr, would make the perfect gift for any aficionado of aesthetically pleasing Danish design whilst the larger pieces of furniture can cost over 24,000 kroner. If it is the true Danish sensibility of home life you are after, then stock up on vases and candleholders and get your ‘hygge’ on. 


Østerbrogade 70, 2100 Copenhagen Ø

Open: Mon-Fri 10-6, Sat 10-4


Bruun Rassmusssen Auctioneers


Alternatively, bargain hunters should head to Bredgade where since 1948 Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers have been selling high quality pieces of Danish design, art, jewellery and antiques. Of course since then the internet has moved auctioneering online and into the globalised market, but there are still eight traditional auctions a year which are extremely popular. All items are available to view in their auction houses.


Bredgade 33, 1260 Copenhagen K



Royal Bar


This may be one of the most tragic losses to Denmark’s design landscape in history. Yes, the hotel, which was designed by Arne Jacobsen for SAS airways, still stands tall in the Copenhagen skyline, but most of the original interior has been replaced. Finished in 1960, for nine years it was the only skyscraper in Copenhagen. It is easy to spot thanks to the largely adhered to 6-storey rule for the rest of the city’s buildings. Clearly influenced by his other work at the time as a landscape architect, most of the interior was green in colour, with his famous Egg and Swan chairs dotted about. Room 606, otherwise known as the Arne Jacobsen suite, is not the only room to have had its original design preserved. Hotel guests are welcome to view room 606 when it is free, but those not staying at the hotel should still make a stop at the Royal Bar and enjoy their A.J. Cocktail. The hotel still nods heavily towards Danish design and the spiral staircase leading from the lobby is stunning. 


Hammerichsgade 1, 1611 Copenhagen V


Open: Mon-Wed 11-midnight; Thu-Fri 11am-2am; Sat noon-2am; Sun noon-midnight