3daysofdesign is Denmark’s annual design event. Since its inception in 2014, the event has broadened not only in terms of its purview but also in terms of its international acclaim. From this year’s iteration, it is clear that it has cemented Denmark's place on the international design map.
Of course, the minimalist style of Scandinavian design, which emerged during the 1930s, has always been a point of reference for designers, as it sought to promote simple designs that were sustainable, affordable and inspired by the nature and climate. The main idea, initially, was to improve daily life. The designers who rewrote history with their innovative designs were the likes of Alvar Aalto, Poul Henningsen, Arne Jacobsen, Hans J Wegner, Borge Mogensen and Verner Panton.
Installation view at Kinfolk Gallery, space designed by Norm Architects, furniture collection Kinuta, designed by Keiji Ashizawa Design for Karimoku Case Study
A lot of the principles that were hand-carved in wood, so to speak, by the above designers are nurtured and visible today in the designs and even in the ideologies that hail from Scandinavia: solid, thoughtful craft, beautiful, natural materials and a sleek, unencumbered minimalism.
The new Paustian showroom, located in a former bank on Niels Hemmingsens Gade
The obsession with high quality materials has found its contemporary footing in the work of designers and brands alike in the form of sustainability. Indeed, if there was an underlying theme of this year’s 3daysofdesign event, that would surely be it. Sustainability under the guise of recycled or reusable materials, extremely low CO2 footprints, local production and a slew of various eco-certifications.
Ocean Chair designed by Joergen and Nana Ditzel, produced by Mater
Some examples include Snohetta’s S-1500 chair, which is made from old fishing nets with a frame of recycled steel, with a nod to its Norwegian past by using a design by Bent Winge from the 1960s. Another example with a similar philosophy is the Ocean Chair, originally designed by Joergen and Nana Ditzel in the 1950s and produced by Mater, now reincarnated thanks to the usage of 960 grams of plastic waste. Kvadrat has released a collection, which was designed by Margrethe Odgaard, uses 45% recycled wool. “The idea was to create both an honest and environmentally friendly textile with a poetic feel by recycling material from Kvadrat’s own production,’ explains Odgaard. At the Dawn Exhibition, even the paint was natural. Matteo Brioni, an Italian architect, incorporated the usage of natural clay from the wall paint to the plastering of surfaces to use as a floor surface covering.
Soft Chair designed by Thomas Bentzen for TAKT
HAY's pop-up co-working space installed inside Copenhagen's Lindencrone Mansion
The other Scandinavian obsession, that with striking craft and groomed minimalism, has also been displayed during the event. Two self-defined technology and detail nerds Christian Dyrman and Jasper Overgaard of Overgaard&Dyrman, for example, exhibited the prototype of their Circle Chair. They were inspired by circular geometry and the chair is the manifestation of the merge between relentlessly meticulous handcraft with CNC technology.
Circle Chair en situ by Overgaard & Dyrman
Another handsomely sumptuous nude nubuck armchair and sofa from the Kunst collection by Karimoku. They remain very focused on the pursuit of their original concept of “high-tech and high-touch, made in Japan.”
Nude nubuck chair from the Kunst collection by Karimoku
The Københavns Møbelsnedkeri, while only conceived in 2006, also has a history of traditional techniques. They maintain a ‘concept to completion’ ideology, which is exercised in their studio and workshop space. Surprisingly, in the post-industrial campus of the Københavns Møbelsnedkeri, houses “creatives, craftsmen, rock bands and Michelin chefs,” as they describe it. The Restaurant Alouette is where the designs made in the workshop make for an incredible dining experience.
Sofa designed by, manufactured by and presented at Københavns Møbelsnedkeri
Aside from the craft, the materials, the history, the legacies and 3daysofdesign showcased the Nordic, stylish, eclectic fearlessness that we could all learn a bit from. It’s the interior-design equivalent of Danish street-style: it looks effortless and carefree, but hours have been spent on perfecting this visual. Moreover; it’s not just a look. It’s an attitude. Deal with it!
Interactive installation "Puzzle House" by Bjarke Ingels/ BIG and Simon Frommenwiler/ HHF Architects in the garden of the Swiss Embassy in Copenhagen. Photo by Kaspar Würgler