Chairs at Milan Design Week

Recycling a Good Idea : The Denmark Pavilion

Photo: VisitDenmark

Recycling, circular thinking and design for disassembly come together at the Denmark Pavilion on the Champs Élysées this year.

The pavilion came into being as a radical idea centred on one of the most important Danish design innovations, the Danish chair, combined with waste from the beer industry, offcuts of wood, and discarded nets from the fishing industry, and an idea of creating a building that could have a second life. Initially intended for The Denmark Pavilion during the Tokyo Olympics 2020, thanks to COVID 19, the chairs ended on quite a different journey and have since offered literal seats at the table of New York Climate Week, Milan Design Week and Roskilde Festival. 

Now premiering to the public in a new form at the Paris Olympics – how’s that for recycling? – the Denmark Pavilion exists to demonstrate a revolutionary way to build a temporary structure and create a design that has more than one life after it. The initiative has been developed by the Danish Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs and VisitDenmark in collaboration with philanthropic association Realdania, and is subsidised by The Trade Council. 

What if we Created…Something From a Beer Keg?  

The material for the chairs which make up the Pavilion’s walls comes from a sustainability innovation developed by the Carlsberg brewery. Architects Lendager Group, known for their resource-savvy designs, had just worked within plastic innovation with the brewers, discovering a way to develop beer kegs from plastic. This gave a great benefit: not just in allowing beer to stay fresh for 30 days versus 7 with a traditional aluminium keg, but also creating kegs that could be compressed after use, helping with waste collection and transport.  

They started to think about what could happen next to the kegs, and wondered: what if a keg could be made into the seat part of the chair, with the frames made from offcuts of wood from the design industry that otherwise would end up in landfill? Wouldn’t that, with Denmark’s interior design and beer heritage, make an iconic statement for a Pavilion celebrating the nation?  

Giving it a Second, Third and Fourth Life 

It was also important that the Pavilion should have a second life. While many Olympics projects promise a future life after first use, it’s rare that the full potential has been achieved. With this chair-based pavilion design, with chairs stacked and arranged to create walls and shelves, there was a clear way to repurpose the building after use.  

After the Tokyo Olympics, over a thousand chairs were donated to Denmark’s Roskilde Festival, where they are finding a new life at this music festival which has a strong focus on environmental and social sustainability. The chairs have also been used to build structures at Milan Design week, Bornholm’s Folkemøde, Climate Week in New York and an exhibition at DesignMuseum Danmark. 

In this iteration of the Denmark Pavilion at the Paris Olympics, the chairs have been used once again to show the design’s versatility. As Niklas Nolsøe at Lendager architects says, the firm has rewritten the dogma that form should follow function: form instead follows availability of materials.   

Inside the Denmark Pavilion 

The interior and exhibition architecture has been created by Copenhagen-based architects BRIQ, along with the concept and content creation, focusing on telling a story that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the everyday wonders of Denmark. As you walk through the exhibition, you will see the materials that have gone into its creation, from shredded plastic beer kegs to fragments of the chairs, chair backs and finally chairs being used as shelves in the exhibition.  

BRIQ has engaged in an extensive collaboration with VisitDenmark not only designing the exhibition architecture, but also in the concept development and content creation with a primary focus on quality of life. 

The pavilion is designed as a cultural hub and meeting place where visitors can learn more about Denmark’s famous quality of life, including gaining an insight into the work methods and products of innovative Danish companies working with new sustainable solutions. The aim is to invite exploration, entertain, and spark a dialogue on forward-thinking ways of dealing with problems of today, while sharing stories around Denmark’s innovative solutions within design, food, green transition and health.  

In close collaboration with VisitDenmark, BRIQ is also curating and planning a cultural program of concerts and talks to take place during the Olympics, as well as curating and co-developing eight video installations for the exhibition.  

Discover the wonder of The Denmark Pavilion on the Champs Élysées during the Olympic Games 


The Denmark Pavilion is open to the public 26 July–11 August; 11am-10pm (except August 1, from 11:00 to 16:00). Admission is free. 


To stay updated re. What’s On at The Denmark Pavilion, go to: SoMe hashtag: #denmarkpavilion2024 


Media attending the Olympic Games are more than welcome to visit The Denmark Pavilion and to contact the press team for further details. Please reach out to PR & Press Manager Lasse Emil Kristiansen at or +4531415390. 


Download images and videos from The Denmark Pavilion in Paris and from our extensive Denmark media database here: 


During the Paris Olympics, visitors from around the world can enjoy a free visit to a small piece of Denmark at Champs-Élysées. Here, they can encounter Danish ideas that contribute to creating a better life and a better world. VisitDenmark, in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, leads this initiative, which is supported by Realdania, the Consul George Jorck and Wife Emma Jorck Foundation, and The Trade Council. 

Anne Villemoes

Kommunikations- og udviklingsdirektør

Anna Orlando

PR & Press Manager, Italy & France

PR & Press Manager, UK

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