Art and design is part of the Danish way of life. In Danish cities there is a unique balance between heritage architecture, future-forward landmarks and warm-lit contemporary interiors. The Danish Modern movement helped shape the world of mid-century modern living. And in 2014, Denmark celebrates the centennial of the birth of two of the great masters of 20th-century Danish design as well as the famous Danish CoBrA painter Asger Jorn.
Hans J Wegner and Børge Mogensen
Deft woodcraft, elegance and comfort – there is something timelessly appealing about many of the great classics of 20th-century Danish furniture design. Open almost any international design magazine today and you are almost sure to see examples of pure-lined Danish Modern interior pieces. In 2014, Denmark celebrates the centennial of the birth of two of its most legendary furniture designers, Hans J Wegner and Børge Mogensen, with exhibitions at the nation’s leading design museums, not least Design Museum Danmark in Copenhagen, which in 2014/15 will reorganise its collections to give emphasis to 20th century and contemporary design.
Great Danish architects
Some of the world’s most iconic 20th-century wonders were designed by Danish architects, such as the Sydney Opera House (Jørn Utzon) and La Grande Arche in Paris (Johan Otto von Spreckelsen). Today, a whole host of leading Danish architectural studios are creating new urban spaces and millennial civic landmarks that transform the waterfront of Denmark’s major cities, blending in with the historic skylines. Among the new developments in 2014, the city of Aarhus inaugurates its new prehistoric and anthropological museum, Moesgaard Museum, designed by the Danish Henning Larsen Architects (creators of Copenhagen’s Opera House).
The Asger Jorn Centennial
Postwar Danish visual art is back in review in 2014 as the nation celebrates the centennial of the birth of Danish CoBrA painter Asger Jorn. Framed by the pared-down aesthetics of mid-century Danish design, the avant-garde expressionism of the international CoBrA movements was vivid, spontaneous and graphic. Major retrospective exhibitions are featured at the Museum JORN in the scenic town of Silkeborg in central Jutland and at the National Gallery in Copenhagen.
Danish arts and crafts
With the rise in interest in back-to-nature Nordic cuisine, Danish arts and crafts are also experiencing a renaissance. Not least earthenware. Many of Copenhagen’s top restaurants serve their creative cuisine on handcrafted ceramics by some of the nation’s leading artisan craftspeople. A leading Danish dinnerware company, Kähler Design, has even opened its own showcase restaurants in Aarhus and Copenhagen. In 2015, the Danish Ceramic Museum, Grimmerhus, will reopen in a new purpose-built edifice that cuts into a waterside cliff close to the town of Middelfart.