Wednesday 7 June 2023 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Wednesday. 7/6/2023

The Monocle Minute
On Design

Image: Mathias Eis

The magic number

For the next three days, the Monocle team is in Copenhagen for the 3 Days of Design festival, where leading creatives and design brands are showing off their latest wares. We admire the impressive catalogue of &Tradition, enjoy a one-off farmer’s market hosted by Frama and check out the latest offerings from Georg Jensen, Louis Poulsen, Atelier Axo and Koyori, as well as lights from All the Way to Paris (pictured). But first, here’s Nic Monisse on Denmark’s design culture.

Opinion / Nic Monisse

Building on the past

When it comes to design, Denmark could be a country at a crossroads. It’s a nation with a celebrated 20th-century design and architectural heritage – you can barely take a step in Copenhagen without bumping into a light, chair, table or building by Arne Jacobsen, Verner Panton, Jørn Utzon or Bodil Kjaer. But it’s also a country with an impressive array of established contemporary designers – think Cecilie Manz and Bjarke Ingels – as well as emerging creatives and brands that are still trying to make a name for themselves.

It’s a tension that’s on display at 3 Days of Design, in which exhibitions are held in buildings across Copenhagen. The furniture fair kicked off today and runs until Friday, with some showcases open over the weekend too. Nearly every established showroom and gallery that I dropped into, from Carl Hansen & Søn’s to Kvadrat’s, featured not only works from the studios’ archives but also pieces by young designers, who they have tasked with breathing new life into their brands.

It shows a broad appreciation that design isn’t static and the industry can’t afford to rest on its laurels. This was the attitude that led to the launch of 3 Days of Design in 2013, in the hopes of breaking the mould of trade-hall-based design fairs and dispersing the action across the city. It also speaks volumes of the country’s appreciation for design and is why its capital is one of Europe’s – and the world’s – design hubs. This explains why Japan’s Koyori has chosen to show its new work at 3 Days of Design (see below) rather than at other fairs. “The Danish people love well-designed products, particularly timber ones,” says Koda Munetoshi, Koyori’s executive director. “People here understand its value.” For more companies that share this appreciation, read on for Monocle’s highlights from 3 Days of Design.

Nic Monisse is Monocle’s design editor. For more from 3 Days of Design, tune in to ‘Monocle on Design’.

Design News / &Tradition, Denmark

Full house

A defining feature of Denmark’s annual 3 Days of Design festival is the opening up of private and by-appointment showrooms and galleries to members of the public. This year, Danish brand &Tradition is giving visitors access to an entire building that it owns on Kronprinsessegade for an event called Under One Roof. It’s a showcase of the brand’s catalogue, with the five-storey building’s various rooms dedicated to different products and designers. On show are classics from the archives, such as Verner Panton’s 1968 Flowerpot lamp and Jørn Utzon’s JU1 lamp from the late 1940s, alongside contemporary pieces from Spanish artist and designer Jaime Hayon (pictured, bottom), graphic-design studio All the Way to Paris and Space Copenhagen, which has curated a room to resemble a designer’s studio.

Image: Mathias Eis
Image: Mathias Eis
Image: Mathias Eis

Those seeking a moment’s respite can recharge at &Tradition’s Lille Petra café, which has an exclusive dish by chef Søren Westh for the duration of the festival and a pop-up shop stocked with design books and limited-edition items, including a new scent by French perfumer Antoine Lie called Mnemonic by &Tradition.
&Tradition’s ‘Under One Roof’ is at Kronprinsessegade 4, 1306 Copenhagen. Visit for more information.

Design News / Frama, Denmark

Market values

Danish furniture and homeware brand Frama runs a showroom, shop and café in a 19th-century former pharmacy in Copenhagen’s Nyboder neighbourhood. For the duration of 3 Days of Design, this wood-panelled space has been transformed into “Il Mercato”, a farmers’ market filled with seasonal crops such as strawberries, rhubarb, peas, leek, asparagus and beetroot. “We’re in an industry that’s quite materialistic,” says Niels Strøyer Christophersen (pictured, bottom), Frama’s founder. “So we always try to come up with an excuse to do something besides selling furniture.”

Image: Mathias Eis
Image: Mathias Eis
Image: Mathias Eis

On show are a number of new pieces, including Frama’s expanded Farmhouse Table series, with trestle legs made from thick, oiled oak – but the focus is on the experience of “Il Mercato” as a whole. “Somehow the product launches and how we display them feel secondary,” says Fredrik Aartun, the company’s brand development manager. The initiative, he explains, chimes with Frama’s passion for what design can do: bring people together, for example, and present a beautiful meal.
Frama’s ‘Il Mercato’ is at Fredericiagade 57, 1310 Copenhagen. Visit for more information.

Words with... / David Thulstrup, Denmark

Out of the shadows

Copenhagen-based David Thulstrup is an award-winning architect and designer whose work strikes the balance between Denmark’s rich architectural heritage and modern design language. His namesake studio works across residential architecture, restaurants, retail, hotels, furniture and lighting. His latest foray with Georg Jensen, however, stands apart from the rest of his portfolio. Named after a word referring to an area of partial shadow, Penumbra saw Thulstrup work with the iconic Scandinavian silversmiths to create a striking object for the home that is being presented for the first time at 3 Days of Design.

Image: Mathias Eis

Tell us about your relationship with Georg Jensen and how you partnered on this new project?
As a Dane, I’m very proud of Georg Jensen. It’s a heritage brand and, while a lot of brands have outsourced their traditional skill sets, Georg Jensen has maintained it. I was super happy when Ragnar Hjartarson, Georg Jensen’s creative director, called and said that he wanted to create an object where functionality was not the first thing that you thought of when you saw it. It was interesting because it wasn’t just about making another tray or another vase; it needed to be sculptural and practical.

Tell us about the design of Penumbra. How did it evolve?
With everything I design for the home, I think about my own home and what purpose I would want a piece to have in that environment. I just bought a new dining table and I wanted an object that could simply stand on that table and be beautiful. I looked at the archives of Georg Jensen and found an oval shape, which I used as a starting point for the Penumbra. I knew that I wanted to create a modern piece that still respects Georg Jensen’s heritage, so it had to have this geometry. There’s a strictness to Georg Jensen pieces and that is apparent in this oval shape. I also love how Georg Jensen plays with volumes and shadows. The work ultimately developed to become one piece defined by three parts: two ovals, hovering millimetres apart, are set into a very strict rectangular case.

You worked with Georg Jensen’s silversmiths. What role did their craftsmanship play in the evolution of the design?
They consider everything, from the thickness of the silver to its oxidation. The Penumbra consists of a box and two ovals, and the silversmiths had to solder these three pieces together. To do this, you have to heat the silver to 700C. It’s difficult because the silver could sag at that heat and stick together – and that would be four months and thousands of hammer marks’ worth of work gone.

How do you hope that the Penumbra will be used?
Standing on a beautiful table where it will be admired every day. I also hope that people interact with it and give it a function, whether that is as a tray or a flower bowl.

Visit Georg Jensen at Amagertorv 4, 1160 Copenhagen. For more interviews with outstanding creatives at 3 Days of Design, tune in to ‘Monocle On Design’.

Around the house / Louis Poulsen, Denmark

Bring to light

Denmark’s Louis Poulsen is among Scandinavia’s oldest, continually operating lighting brands in Scandinavia. At 3 Days of Design, the brand, which was founded in 1874, is transforming its showroom in the 18th-century buildings of Copenhagen’s Arsenal into a showcase called The First House of Light. The exhibition will feature new takes on, and releases of, classic works by iconic designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Verner Panton.

Image: Mathias Eis
Image: Mathias Eis

The highlight, however, is Louis Poulsen’s collaboration with emerging homeware brand Heven, founded by Breanna Box and Peter Dupont. The Danish company tapped the Brooklyn-based duo to pay homage to its Pale Rose collection – and the work of Poul Henningsen and Vilhelm Lauritzen – by creating one-off mouth-blown glass versions of lights such as the the PH 5 pendant. “A lot of the glassblowing methods that we used for the pieces are very old techniques,” says Dupont. “But we used them to make works that are a little bit fun and modern.” For a heritage brand like Louis Poulsen, it’s an appropriate marriage of the classic and the contemporary.
Louis Poulsen is at Kuglegårdsvej 19-23, 1434 Copenhagen. Visit for more information.

Around the house / Atelier Axo, Denmark

Spot the difference

To celebrate its first international design collaboration, Copenhagen-based multidisciplinary studio Atelier Axo has taken over a former industrial building in the Danish capital’s Refshaleøen district. Here, the brand’s founders, Rose Hermansen and Caroline Sillesen (pictured, Sillesen on left), are presenting the new Anton cabinet, designed with Italian furniture brand Vero. Crafted in wood veneer, it features two cabinet components of different heights, placed on a wide rectangular board. “We wanted to play with proportions and offer something different and original but with a clean, simple expression,” says Sillesen.

Image: Mathias Eis
Image: Mathias Eis
Image: Mathias Eis

The cabinets, which are skilfully handmade at Vero’s production facility in Puglia, come in four glossy colours: oiled oak veneer, plum red, dusty green and blue. For the event, the pieces have been placed along the building’s plastered brick walls, creating a compelling contrast between the raw interiors and sleek designs. “We chose this place for that very reason,” says Hermansen.
Atelier Axo is at Refshalevej 211, 1432 Copenhagen, during 3 Days of Design. Visit for more information.

Around the house / Koyori, Japan

Furnished with love

Koyori is making its debut in the Danish design scene as part of its mission to promote traditional Japanese manufacturing. The Japanese furniture brand is introducing collaborations with Danish-Italian duo Gamfratesi and Paris-based designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec at 3 Days of Design. Koyori’s installation is the gallery-like Ørgreen Studios, an inspired take on the traditional Japanese home that features classic elements of Danish architecture. “We wanted to create a contrast between this quintessentially Scandinavian space and elements of classic Japanese interiors,” says Gamfratesi’s Enrico Fratesi (pictured, on right, with Koda Munetoshi, Koyori’s executive director), who co-designed the installation.

Image: Mathias Eis
Image: Mathias Eis

The gallery has been divided into sections through panels of rice paper and changes in surface height and texture via grand timber steps and a white-pebble floor finish that resembles traditional karesansui gardens. The brand’s new releases are dotted throughout the space and include a handsome rectangular table and matching armchair in solid wood, part of Gamfratesi’s Miau series. The Danish-Italian duo are also behind the Edaha chair, which is defined by soft, curved shapes that give it a delicate expression. The Bouroullec brothers’ designs are also on display and include two wooden tables created using high-precision cutting and joining techniques.
Koyori is at Ørgreen Studios, Overgaden Oven Vandet 58A, 1415 Copenhagen during 3 Days of Design. Visit for more information.


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