The Candy-Like Pendant Lamps I Spotted at Copenhagen’s Design Festival Are Sure to Sell Out
Plus a paper fiber–wrapped speaker, a reissued bentwood chair, and more.
Published Jun 14, 2023 3:00 PM
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Rarely is the best part of a design fair the fluorescent-lit convention center with endless rows of booths. So I was delighted to learn that nothing of that nature was to be found at 3daysofdesign—Copenhagen’s 10-year-old annual festival that took place June 7–9. In fact, the lighting was pretty exceptional in the showrooms, galleries, and art academies that brands exhibited at instead. As an editor with a deep appreciation for the meticulous craftsmanship and striking minimalism that defines this design capital, I felt like a kid in a candy store for three straight days.
As I made the rounds to as many of the 280 exhibitors I could squeeze in (with frequent bakery breaks, of course), it became clear that this year was about keeping up with the classics, like 150-year-old Danish heritage brand Fritz Hansen, as much as it was making discoveries, like Copenhagen-based newcomer Fora Projects. Out of it all, these are the top seven shows I will remember months from now.
I started the trip with a bang, touring Fritz Hansen’s exhibition at the grand Charlottenburg Palace, home of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Talk about full circle—many of the most iconic Danish designers, from Arne Jacobsen to Poul Kjærholm, attended or taught at the school.
After convening in the sunny courtyard filled with Skagerak’s outdoor teak furniture, we made our way to the first gallery, which highlighted Jacobsen and Kjærholm’s classic chairs. Creatively deconstructed in cubic frames, one of these was not like the other: the PK15 chair. The last chair Kjærholm ever designed, it involves an extremely challenging steam-bending technique. He typically worked with steel, which is what you’ll see in his popular PK12 chair that this one echoes. But in September, for the first time since 2004, the ash and wicker design will be in production once again.
The show wasn’t entirely about looking back; as we entered the different rooms, pieces by such contemporary designers as Jaime Hayon, Sebastian Herkner, Cecilie Manz, Vico Magistretti, and KiBiSi were presented.
Hay’s glorious flagship, known as Hay House, is where I first fell in love with the colorful brand six years ago. To return during 3days was extra exciting because of the many new products introduced. Mid-August will see debuts of lighting and chairs and bar carts, all of which I can only describe as playful-chic.
Hay has continued its collaboration with design duo Muller Van Severen, and the Arcs collection welcomes a trolley and mirror with the same scalloped shape you’ll recall from the existing candleholder, vase, and lamp. The round mirror would be an excellent addition to a powder room.
When giving an old lamp a facelift, one would typically switch out the shade. But with the new Apex lamp, designed by John Tree, it’s all about the interchangeable base. From clamp to freestanding, the powder-coated cutie can float around every surface in your home.
While I had of course seen the Apollo lamp before, I had no idea that the inspiration was an oil lamp spotted by Mette and Rolf Hay at Copenhagen’s chic Apollo Bar. It’s now offered in a chandelier and sconce by Studio 0405, both wonderfully wiggly.
As a huge fan of the brand, going to Gubi’s newly refurbished showroom and seeing all the gorgeous furniture under one roof was like going to church. Magnificent doesn’t even begin to describe the sprawling warehouse space right on the water. While most of the newer pieces had been shown at Milan Design Week, Gubi’s buzzy collaboration with Noah was officially introduced.
Inspired by coastal life, it doesn’t get beachier than the MR01 chair—it’s literally made out of sailing rope (talk about weatherproof). For a limited time, the low-slung seat will be offered in four new colors, including bright blue and sunny yellow, in addition to a five-piece capsule collection. Towels, totes, swim trunks, and more are available now.
I’ve happened upon Helle Mardahl’s endearing blob-shaped glass vessels on the Internet countless times, but seeing them in person, hundreds of them at that, hit different. Sweeter than candy (hence, the new collection is called Candy Series), rows of lidded jars reminiscent of perfume bottles filled a lavish tiered vanity; bowls, cake stands, and stemware populated a walk-in bar illuminated by imperfect glass orb pendant lamps; and rows of wineglasses cascaded down a round dressing table shaped like a wedding cake. I loved the glass bubble details on the blocky stools, which were seemingly there just because.
The installation was inspired by The Grand Budapest Hotel, but to me, it was straight out of the upcoming Barbie movie. I left wanting to live inside the jolly, over-the-top world Mardahl had created.
Reform is known for its cabinetry, but the hardware was the star of the show this time. The brand commissioned four artists and designers to create knobs and handles, each celebrating a different material. On the showroom’s wall was the finished product, but on tables in front were all of the materials, sketches, and prototypes that filled the makers’ studios in the design process. Their creations were so deeply personal, which made the experience of touching each knob feel like I was shaking hands with the maker.
Nina Nørgaard worked in glass, Yukari Hotta in clay, Alberte Tranberg in metal, and Maria Bruun in wood. I was especially struck by Tranberg’s ability to make a harsh metal pipe look elegant and refined. I would, without hesitation, install these on every drawer in my dream kitchen.
I didn’t know I needed a woven paper–fiber speaker until stepping into Bang & Olufsen’s immersive installation. Designed by Danish-Italian duo GamFratesi, the Beosound A5 speaker was the focal point in a room with walls entirely wrapped in raffia. The space even smelled like raffia! Music was, of course, blasting, and visitors could put on a record from a collection curated by Danish composer and producer Kasper Bjørke.
The device could have been mistaken for a chic lunchbox rather than a portable speaker. And like all of Bang & Olufsen’s products, everything from the built-in charging pad to a solid Danish oak handle was as high quality as it gets.
Louis Poulsen lamps are such a design classic that they can almost be inconspicuous. However, such was not the case at its 3days exhibition. Brooklyn-based homewares and fashion brand Home in Heven reinterpreted icons from the Pale Rose collection in a louder, zanier vein. The result was one-of-a-kind glass lamps with swirls, horns, and tentacles galore. While some were subtle with just a tonal marbled pattern, a few looked almost extraterrestrial.
A mirrored folding screen divided the little ivy-covered house in the middle of a courtyard, which created trippy illusions of repeating reflections. The collection will be sold at auction, and most of the proceeds will be donated to charity.