Monday, 25 April 2016

Copenhagen Cool

An illustrated map of Copenhagen by Philip Kennedy

Shortly after arriving in Copenhagen, I was commissioned by Image Interiors & Living to write a guide to buying design in the Danish capital. Here's a fairly comprehensive list of places to find contemporary, classic and vintage design in a city made for interiors shopping, along with an amazing illustrated map by fellow CPH resident Philip Kennedy (above, click to enlarge). If you find yourself in Copenhagen, happy shopping!

Strøget, Copenhagen's main pedestrianised shopping street, home to Illums Bolighus and HAY House

World-class museums, friendly people, a booming food culture and a compact – not to mention beautiful – city centre: there are tonnes of reasons to visit Copenhagen, but none surpasses its design scene. Easily one of Europe's most design-savvy cities, it is home to countless designers and architects, from one-person operations and independent collectives to major studios whose work is found and admired the world over. But whether they work in the field or not, the Danes live and breathe design, and it's clear in the countless design stores you can enjoy in their capital city. Don't believe me? Look no further...

Illums Bolighus, Copenhagen's leading design department store HAY House, Danish brand HAY's flagship store in Copenhagen

Indre By, Copenhagen's inner city
The centre of Copenhagen is dominated by picturesque harbours, stately government buildings, swarms of cyclists and great retail. This is the first stop for any visitor, not least one looking to buy some design. Two of Copenhagen's big hitters in terms of design shopping are found along Europe's first pedestrianised shopping street, Strøget (above). The first is Illums Bolighus (1, pictured above left), an interiors-focussed department store founded in 1925. Its four floors of Scandinavian and international brands features lots of contemporary work, but it might be the classics you enjoy seeing in the flesh. An Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair, Poul Henningsen lamp or set of classic Iittala glasses, anyone?! Come back to the present in HAY House (2, pictured above right), the flagship store of the Danish brand making an increasing impact worldwide with its furniture, stationery and cool collaborations. And just round the corner you'll find further contemporary work, much of it by emerging Danish designers and small studios, in Stilleben (3, below). Founded in 2002, Stilleben is a great place to pick up a super cool souvenir in the form of a colourful piece of ceramics, some unique jewellery or a striking art print.

Stilleben, an amazing independent design store located in Copenhagen's inner city

While these and many other shops provide that clean, minimal aesthetic you expect in Scandinavia, nearby GUBI (4, pictured below left) and Rue Verte (5) are great places if you're looking for something a little more lux. Think deep colours, rich textures, and opulent materials such as velvet, crystal and brass. Or if it's reading materials you'd like to stock up on, hit up Cinnober Bookshop (6, pictured below right) across from Copenhagen's Round Tower for a great selection of books as well as super cool stationery.

GUBI Store in Copenhagen Cinnober art and design bookshop in Copenhagen

Vesterbro, the city's creative quarter
Once a part of the city known only for its slaughterhouses and red light district, Vesterbro has been totally transformed into a hip and trendy neighbourhood full of art and design studios, shops, bars and restaurants. Eat and drink in the Meatpacking District (and if there's an event on, call into Space10 [9], IKEA's recently opened innovation lab), and go shopping for your home and kitchen in Istedgade's DANSK Made for Rooms (10, pictured below). Meanwhile, there are two fantastic cooperative-led shops on Vesterbrogade, Designer Zoo (11, next picture down) and Workshop Viktoria (12). The latter is a ceramic workshop with a small shop space selling the work of all those working in the space behind, while the former sells work from designers and craftspeople of all disciplines based all over Denmark, with six of their designers working on site (you can peer into their workshops from the shop itself).

DANSK Made for Rooms, with two branches on Copenhagen's Istedgade

Designer Zoo, a shop and workshop space in Vesterbro, Copenhagen

North of the lakes, Østerbro and Nørrebro
Østerbro has long been an affluent and family-friendly part of Copenhagen, so it's a fitting home for the Normann Copenhagen (13, pictured below) flagship store. An unassuming shopfront leads into a big airy space filled with all the products you know and love from their range. Meanwhile, Nørrebro is the city's most up-and-coming neighbourhood. Easily the city's most diverse and multicultural area, it is increasingly the best place to eat and drink in Copenhagen too, with an amazing selection of bars and restaurants, a number of which have been set up by former Noma talents.

Normann Copenhagen's flagship store in Østerbro, Copenhagen Normann Copenhagen's flagship store in Østerbro, Copenhagen

For contemporary design head for Stefansgade (14) and Jægersborggade (15) including cooperative store Design Kollektivet (pictured bottom right) and interiors shop Høj (pictured bottom left). If antiques are what you're after, Ravnsborggade (16, pictured below) is a street famous for its antique and second-hand shops, and a great spot to grab a drink too. And if it is the old rather than the new that you'd really like to get your hands on, flea markets in Denmark are frequent and bountiful, and could be just the right place to pick up some nostalgic toys, mid-century furniture or second-hand bargains. (with the help of a translation app) will give you daily listings for flea markets, and you can search by map to see what's happening closest to you.

Antik and Kunst on Ravnsborggade, Copenhagen Ravnsborggade, a great place to find antiques in Copenhagen

So whether it's the big brands and Nordic classics you're after, or if you're in the market for new products from emerging designers, you'll find all of it and more in Copenhagen. If you have time and energy left, the city also offers great architecture, a little mermaid and one of the world's oldest amusement parks, but if you've given time to the city's many design stores then you've seen it at its best.

Høj interiors store on Jægersborggade, Copenhagen Sine Lindholm in Designkollektivet on Stefansgade, Copenhagen

Illustrated map by Philip Kennedy. Images: 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 8 | 9&10. All other images by the author.