In a country where winters are long and people indulge indoors, interior design becomes a high priority. Held at the Danish Design Centre during Copenhagen Design Week 2011 last month, an exhibition called ‘Danish Design Past and Present’ showcased decades of Danish craftsmanship. With renowned furniture designers like Arne Jacobsen, Kaare Klint, Hans J Wegner and Verner Panton, to name a few, Danish design has a long tradition, that from the start, focused on functionalism, a respect for materials, and humanity. Seen above is ‘Ellert’, an eco-friendly electric car for two designed by Ray Innes and manufactured by El-Trans in 1985.
‘PH5’ lamp (1958) by Poul Henningsen is an absolute classic. Beautiful and functional, it was originally made from glass, but is now made from recyclable aluminum and designed for a democratic and socially aware era.
Designed back in 1985, ‘Air Titanium’ is still the world’s lightest spectacle frame, weighting in at less than 3 grams. Created by design firm Dissing+Weitling, the glasses are made from titanium and have no soldering or screws. The are flexible and extremely durable.
Torben Vestergaard Frandsen’s LifeStraw (2005) allows for drinking from virtually any water source.
Pil Bredahl’s ‘OTO100’ cardboard tube storage was created in the year 2000 and manufactured by Muuto. It is a playful variation on traditional rectangular bookcases, and is made from 8 recyclable tubes varying diameters that fit into each other to optimize space and transport. The furniture also engages the user into a creative DIY project.
Katrine Colette and Vigga Svensson designed the eco-friendly children’s clothing Katvig back in 2003. The classic Danish clothing brand, with a logo that looks like a yummy apple, uses organic cotton and recycled polyester as part of their environmental strategies.
PAPCoRN is a biodegradable set of dishes and cutlery designed by Anne Bannick and Lene Vad Jensen, in 2003. Manufactured by Jysk Vacuum Plast A/S, the set is made from renewable and compostable sources like wheat, maize and lactic acid.
Designed by Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen, ‘Imprint’ chair (2005) is made from cellulose fibres and recycled pet. After nine years of developing the material, they ended up using a bio-composite mixture of 90% Cellupress (cellulose fibers taken from the forest industry’s thinning wood) and 10% PET as a binder.
Organic and futuristic, ‘Handmade’ chair (2005) was designed and manufactured by designer Niels Hvass. It is made from a fiber composite and is an experiment in function and new forms.
Berendsen‘s ‘Hygiene Line’ was developed by Knud Holscher Design in 2009, and are typically used in a workplace bathrooms. The range includes everything from soap dispensers to air fresheners and feature anti-bacterial surfaces and help reduce water consumption.
Philip Bro Ludvigsen, a tutor at the Danish Design School, created a series of lampshades for LE KLINT called ‘UnderCover’. The idea is to allow the user to change their lamps into different patterns and colors by simply swapping out the inner shade.
From past design classics to innovative new creations, Danish people live immersed in a fantastic design culture that has a very particular approach to life, based on user-friendliness, democracy, and always with people in mind. Think Human!
Photo © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat