One of our highlights from Copenhagen Design Week 2009 was a well-curated exhibit of new Danish design titled It’s a Small World. The show asks itself how Danish design is reacting to the challenges wrought by globalization, climate change, and technology, and the result is a rather extraordinary and intriguing attempt to encapsulate the energy of contemporary Danish design.

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The exhibition comprised six sections and four themes, and featured projects that glorified both the human scale and the extended ego. It was enough to make your head spin as fast as the spinning car-wash-like columns on display. [For a more worked-out explanation of the themes, see] The takeaway? When it comes to conceptualizing a small exhibition, less is more.

“What do you think that is?” “I think it’s a car wash.” The speaker is Tine Vindfeld, a project leader at the Danish Architecture Center. Like the rest of the crowd, she’s looking at a group of spinning whirling dervish type forms that are clustered in a corner of the room. The project is called Fringe Project No. 10 and it’s by two designers and artists, Henrik Vibskov andAndreas Emenius. The columns are supposed to provide a “Soul Wash” to visitors moving among them.

Images from Lundgaard + Trandberg’s Royal Danish Playhouse showed a theater that utilizes harbor water as part of its cooling system. According to local designer Mikkel Sonne the structure also stores heat energy from the bodies sitting in the auditorium during performances.

Local textile designer Astrid Krogh showed SunTiles, a form of solar panel textile that can be threaded into a screen or blind.

Though there was nothing particularly sustainable about them, Louise Campbell’s digitally generated perforated steel stools were gorgeous and featured metal woven into hard macramé forms.

Meanwhile, local architecture firm showcased facades that are angled to prevent glare while allowing plenty of natural daylight into their projects.

Søren Ulrik Petersen and Claus Molgaard collaborated on Swingtime, a seat that doubles as a swing. The point, explained Petersen, was to help the sitter tap into their inner child.

And lastly, Ole Jensen and Claus Molgaard collaborated on a sofa bed that features several mattresses and small pillows in a bamboo frame. The project seemed perfect for inviting lots of people over to stay, although the hardness of the mattresses ensures they won’t be staying too long…

The exhibit It’s a Small World will be on at the Danish Design Center, 27 HC Andersen Boulevard, in Copenhagen until the 31st of January 2010.

+ It’s a Small World