For a serious dose of creative inspiration, make your way to Copenhagen, where icons of furniture design, including Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner, once wandered the streets. Here Kasper Iversen, editor of Houzz Denmark, walks us through design-focused things to do in the Scandinavian city, including a boutique hotel in an amusement park and a street where you’re likely to spot famed Danish seats, aka the Wishbone, the Swan and the Egg.
‘It’s practically impossible to visit Copenhagen without stopping by Tivoli Gardens (I wouldn’t recommend missing it, at least). The 175-year-old amusement park is in the centre of the city and is an ideal stop, whether you fancy a few relaxing moments surrounded by flower beds and fountains or you feel like a ride on one of the world’s oldest wooden roller coasters. Of course there’s no rush to leave, as the gardens don’t close until around midnight. But if you’d really like to spend the night, get a room at Nimb, which is right on Tivoli’s grounds.’
‘For the best view of the city, visit the restaurant at Tarnet, which sits atop Copenhagen in more ways than one: not only is it located in the city’s highest tower, it’s also perched above Christiansborg Palace and the Danish parliament. Public access to this space – where the food, furniture, decor, dinnerware and cutlery are all Danish – wasn’t granted until 2014. You might recognise Christiansborg Palace from the famed Danish TV series Borgen. It’s where all the political drama takes place.’
‘If you’re looking to buy modern art or designer furniture, Bredgade – or Broad Street – is the place for you (yes, I’m recommending an entire street). Have a stroll and explore the quirky antique shops, impressive art galleries and numerous stores offering pieces by both famous and yet undiscovered Danish furniture designers. Bredgade is also where you’ll find the flagship store of the famous furniture maker Carl Hansen, plus the iconic auction house Bruun Rasmussen – the Danish equivalent of Sotheby’s.’
‘You might already have an idea of why the country of hygge and Scandinavian simplicity is famous for design, and maybe you can even recognise a couple of famous Danish designer chairs. But what’s really the story behind the Scandinavian design boom? And why does the DNA of Danish design have a lot in common with Japanese design? You’ll learn all this and more at Designmuseum Denmark. Don’t forget to pop into the museum shop: the ideal place to find stylish souvenirs.’
‘Furnished with recycled wooden chairs and orange lamps from the Seventies, Café Dyrehaven is both charming and casual in its own quirky way. It’s also a great place for a traditional Danish lunch with a modern twist – if you haven’t had Danish rye bread yet, this is the place to give it a go. Overall, this café is unpretentious, a hotspot for locals and a place to immerse yourself in true Danish hygge.’
‘There are plenty of good cocktail bars in Copenhagen. Stylish, quirky, cosy and hidden bars are easy to find, but only very few – if any at all – have such an authentic atmosphere as Brønnum. Located next door to Copenhagen’s Royal Theatre, Brønnum’s old rooms have served as a café, bar and restaurant for more than 125 years, welcoming all kinds of people, including famous Danish musicians, artists and writers such as Hans Christian Andersen. A few decades ago, the building was actually converted into the theatre’s ticket office. But today, fortunately, the space has been renovated and reopened as an old-school cocktail bar with a contemporary touch. Pop the champagne and let the party begin!’
Looking for style in the Spanish capital? Check out our design lover’s guide to Madrid.