Copenhagen, Hovedstaden, Denmark
What do the Lily and the Egg have in common? They’re both chairs designed by Arne Jacobsen. His modern furniture, along with designs from other Danes, including Hans J. Wegner and Film Juhl, bring style and elegance to living rooms and the hotels around the world. The timeless appeal of Danish design – which has long followed the philosophy of “form follows function” – has ensured its enduring success, and it defines the country’s aesthetic, from the famous silver work by Georg Jensen (browse the well-known Danish silver shop for the largest collection of antique Jensen – just part of the remarkable selection) to the simple efficient lines of Lego blocks. Danish architects have also made their stamp on the world, including John Utzon, who designed the Sydney Opera House. -Copenhagen’s own Opera House, an eye-catching glass-and-steel structure by Henning Larsen that opened in 2005, is a prime example of the city’s progressive style. So is the cubist KobenhavnKoncerthuset (Copenhagen Concert Hall) by Frenchman Jean Nouvel, which is swaddled in blue fabric “skin” that projects dancing images of performers.
To peruse the best of Danish design under one roof, visit the sleek, glass-panelled Dansk Design Centre, with changing exhibits that feature everything from the legendary artichoke lamps by PoulHenningsen to stylized housewares.
Copenhagen’s hotels also offer an excellent overview of the Danish aesthetic. The hotel D’Angleterre , which has been accommodating guests since 1775, displays old-water elegance and hospitality. Sumptuous surroundings are marked by sparking chandeliers, marble floors, and an aristocratic air that reflect the hotel’s origin as a 1594 manor house. Its excellent location adds to its appeal – steps from the Stroget, the capital’s famous miles-long pedestrian shopping boulevard, and at the top of the Nyhavnharbor area with its cafe- and restaurant-lined canal. The Copenhagen’s Admiral Hotel introduces another angle on old-meets-new: Originally an 18th-century grain warehouse, the building has been smartly renovated and has inspiring views of the Opera House.
At the other end of the hotel spectrum is the Radisson Blu Royal, designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1960 and replace with his furniture. Even the heavy door handles were created by him. The most famous room is 606, which looks just like it did when it opened, with all the original furnishings. For the price of a cocktail, you can bask in Jacobsen’s aura in the First Hotel Skt. Petri, a revamped Modernist hotel with minimalist decor – and a hopping bar.
BEST TIME : May – Sep for nicest weather.