Danish Design in Copenhagen

Photo: Daniel Rasmussen

Arne Jacobsen, Finn Juhl, Poul Kjærholm, Hans J. Wegner, Nanna Ditzel, and Kaare Klint. Mater, Cecilie Manz, & Tradition, Normann, and many more. The list of genius design talent, iconic and in style, to scout for in the Danish capital is endless. 

For decades, the Danes have exerted ‘national design power’, producing heaps of inspiring architecture, timeless interior, and award-winning design to improve life. Some even say that the Danish approach to design is part of the local DNA as its citizens, ever since the post-war period, have fostered a meaningful and accredited design culture in all walks of life, including lifestyle, welfare, and sustainability, of course.  

In Copenhagen there are traces of original Danish design on every street corner: In public places and spaces, at cultural institutions, venues, hotels, restaurants and bars, independent shops, etc. – even the local’s beloved bikes might be of Danish design origin. Here, you can explore Danish design on guided design tours, sleep and eat in it, tour the coolest of showrooms and flagship stores, and simply indulge in that ever-growing number of people who appreciate the timeless local design language.  

In other words, Copenhagen is seeping Danish functionalism and aesthetics and these days it is an absolute must-visit destination for design lovers worldwide.

Facts about Danish design

For a few facts about Danish design traditions and an overview of key design events in Copenhagen in 2022/2023, check out the specifics below. 

Did you know that

  • Danish design is known all over the world for its sleek, simple lines and sophistication. 
  • Simplicity, functionality, and elegance have been - and still are - the basic aspects of Danish design, yet nowadays much combined with sustainability.  
  • Organic and natural materials often feature in Danish design, reflecting a solid relationship to nature. Wood, cotton, and wool often feature too, as do house plants. 
  • Often-used colours are neutral and monochromatic – bright, warm whites with black and tan - and with pops of colour added as accents. Plush pinks, Gray-blues, and colours rooted in nature, like e.g., kvan, are also popular in Danish (and Nordic) design.  
  • Furniture, lighting, architecture, fashion, and jewellery are areas in which Danish designers excel particularly well. 
  • A must-visit venue for anyone exploring Danish Design in Copenhagen is the Designmuseum Denmark located in Bredgade and relaunching in June 2022.  
  • As design and architecture go hand in hand in Denmark, add the BLOX building and the inspiring Danish Architecture Centre on the harbour front to your local design bucket list too. 
  • The world’s first real design hotel happens to be The Radisson Collection Royal Hotel designed in 1960 by the legendary Danish designer and architect Arne Jacobsen. 
  • Mid-century pieces of Danish Modern design are seen as coveted art pieces and nowadays often sold at staggering prices at international auction houses.  
  • The 3daysofdesign on 15-17 June 2022 is open to design lovers from near and far and is a brilliant way to meet creators, be inspired, and enjoy the Danish capital of design.  
  • In 2023, Copenhagen will bear the official title as UNESCO World Capital of Architecture, but already it holds the unofficial title as one of the world’s coolest Capitals of Design. 

Danish design in Copenhagen - information for the press

Keen to learn more about Danish Design in Copenhagen? Here's all that you need to know:

Danish Modern - a design movement
Danish design at restaurant Scarpetta in Copenhagen
Meet the New Generation of Bold Danish Designers
Normann Copenhagen
10 must-know Danish design brands in Copenhagen
10 must-know design brands in Copenhagen
Danish design in Copenhagen's restaurants
A love for Danish design and food combined - restaurant Noma
Design hotels in Copenhagen
Sleep in style in Copenhagen - The Darling
Design Trail: 3 must-visit design gems north of Copenhagen
Finn Juhl's House at Ordrupgaard

Design Events in Copenhagen

Copenhagen Light Festival
Visit Copenhagen

The annual Copenhagen Light Festival in February transforms the city’s quiet and cold winter darkness into an amazing celebration of light art, lighting design, and illumination. It presents a wide range of light-based designs, such as sculpture, installation, projection mapping, events, and illumination all of which are created by both established and upcoming light artists, designers, and students from home and abroad. Enjoy the city’s landmarks in unusual, light-based installations and join the locals on either the popular 2, 5, or 10km festival trails or off-shore from a canal boat. 

Danish design in Copenhagen - ATBO

At 3daysofdesign on 15-17 June 2022, Copenhagen plays backdrop to a festival, where design lovers meet to see, network, and experience amazing design. The event takes place in showrooms, shops, streets, workshops, and backyards across Copenhagen, and everyone is invited to join in. Enjoy a curated selection of noteworthy Danish and international brands within the realm of lifestyle, design, furniture, lighting, and interior design. See previews of new products before they’re launched, meet the designers behind them, and hear about new trends forecasted for the future. This is a must-go design event for the media, editors, bloggers, buyers, architects, and designers and for anyone with a love of democratic approaches to design. 

Mater - part of the New Generation of Bold Danish Designers

The curated exhibition Circular Furniture Days during 3daysofdesign (in June) is another must-go event for anyone interested in pursuing the sustainability agenda further. Presented by the Lifestyle & Design Cluster, a network under the Danish Ministry of Higher Education & Science and the Danish Ministry of Industry, Business & Financial Affairs, the idea is to promote innovation and sustainable growth, primarily in small and medium-sized interior and furniture companies and in the creative industries. Expect, therefore, to discover a curated selection of brave and forward-thinking Danish brands that dare take proud design traditions into the future, design talks with sustainability experts, and more. 

Design to improve life
Daniel Rasmussen

The INDEX Project is a Danish non-profit organization that promotes design aimed at the improvement of life worldwide. It is also the creator of the biennial INDEX Award, the world's biggest design award, which in 2022 takes place on 15 June. Established in 2002, the initiative focuses on promoting and mobilizing design that solves real needs in society and on design to improve life. Guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the award also celebrates diversity, inspires hope, and acts as a catalyst for ground-breaking innovation. So far, the initiative has inspired more than 10,000 proposals for design to improve life in more than 94 countries.  

Copenhagen views - UNESCO World Capital of Architecture in 2023
Pierre Mangez

And finally, in 2023 Copenhagen bears the title of the official UNESCO World Capital of Architecture. Throughout the year, the city will, therefore, be packed with exciting events, exhibitions, and initiatives highlighting not only unique Danish architectural traditions and strong positions but in particular how architecture from a global perspective can help create a more sustainable future for all.

Get the latest on the Copenhagen programme here and on the UNESCO World Capital Architecture here.

Go-to individuals or organizations within Danish design 

For more on Danish design, feel free to contact the below local experts:

The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
Associate Professor at the Institute of Architecture and Design, Mr. Nicolai de Gier, 

Designmuseum Danmark
Head of Communications, Ms. Nikolina Olsen-Rule, 

Brancheforeningen (association) Design Denmark
Head of Communications, Ms. Kristine Lauritzen, 

CEO: Signe Byrial Terenziani,   

Lifestyle & Design Cluster (sustainability within design & furniture business)
CEO Betina Simonsen,  

Photo: Martin Heiberg
Giuseppe Liverino

Senior Manager - Press & PR