Those lucky enough to be in Milan this week for the Salone del Mobile know that there is more going on than one can possibly see. One exhibition we'd put on the itinerary is "Danish Chromatism," designed by architects GamFratesi, which shows off contemporary and traditional design from 30 Danish companies. You might expect wood furniture in modern shapes, you know Danish Modernism-type stuff, but there's more happening.
The architects say their exhibit was inspired by Josef Albers and reinterprets the classic Danish aesthetic through color.
Participants (some of them direct competitors) include Fritz Hansen, LEGO, Libratone, Peter Klint, Royal Copenhagen, Stelton, and 8000c.
Head on over to the Triennale Design Museum to see it in person, you lucky devil. It runs April 9-14.
On November 17, Parsons The New School, in partnership with the Danish Design Centre and Consulate General of Denmark, presented “Living the Legacy—Designing the Future.” Translated: Eight Danish rising stars talked about their award-winning work, sustainability, design thinking, and you’re like, “Whatever…just show me cool stuff.” Fine.
You should know about these three Danes:
1. Mads Kjøller Damkjær, co-founder of Copenhagen Parts, creates brilliant, bad-ass bike accessories. Magnet/LED-combo bike lights look stealth, work well, and can be removed before grabby hands can steal them.
There’s CP’s Bike Porter, too—a sleek aluminum alloy handlebar / basket hybrid that can hold up to 30 pounds of dog, laundry, or beer.
2. Amanda Betz. Her Shayk pendant light is origami to the 10,000th power—okay, not really. The 24x19 honeycomb-ish lamp made of high tech synthetic paper comes flat-packed so you can change up the dimensions for a personalized fancy fixture.
3. Troels Grum-Schwensen's Grip Table is oh so Nordic—simple, sculptural, and totally functional. The magic lies in the long aluminum beam extrusion that holds up the tabletop. You choose where the legs go, no tools necessary. Just slide and lock them in place and, voila… super long table.
Copenhagen's noma is one of the most talked about restaurants in Scandinavia. Chef Redzepi revives traditional Nordic cooking techniques in regional and overlooked ingredients of the type Vikings might have tasted after battle: bone marrow, moss, wild berries. It's the number one restaurant in the world on the S. Pellegrino survey for 2011. And naturally, Anthony Bourdain is a big fan.
It was redesigned in mid 2012—and Copenhagen's Space got the gig. Space has been behind some of the more sublime restaurant designs we've run across in recent years. The designers often leave a bit of the worn and rough edges on a refurbed space to contrast with modern clean lines and the comfort of a timeless leather chair. The designers had only three weeks to work while the noma crew was at the London Olympics, but they turned out a space that's unpretentious, yet special, where the focus is placed on the unusual offerings from the kitchen.
Cool, sophisticated grey replaced a warm, almost too casual wood in the original version. The rough columns of the original warehouse remain, but they're done in an icy white now. The floor was replaced with wider oak panels to enhance the rustic feel. The philosophy is to let the food star in the show. Space partners Peter Bundgaard Rützou and Signe Bindslev Henriksen say, "After quite a long initial sketching period, we all came to the conclusion that it seemed forced and pretentious for a place like noma to do something too conceptual or formally upscale...it is important that the space is not perceived as a superficial layer between the customer and the actual food experience." With a tasting menu that starts near $300 before wine, that seems like a wise design decision.