No city has been more central to the development of contemporary design than Copenhagen. The hometown, not only of hygge, but of midcentury masters like Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner, and Arne Jacobsen, the Danish capital was an important launchpad for an aesthetic featuring clean lines, functional furnishings, and a neutral palette, that today is inextricable from our idea of modernism.
The Copenhagen of today is still a seedbed, nurturing a new generation of forward-thinking designers creating the brilliant spaces of tomorrow. Here are five standouts that every lover of design should know.
Headquartered at St. Paul’s Apotek, a 19th-century pharmacy in the historic neighborhood of Nyboder, Frama’s elegantly minimalist contemporary creations contrast sublimely with original dark-wood paneling and antique details. The multidisciplinary studio is celebrated for its stoneware, furniture, lights, and custom-built kitchens that incorporate natural materials, simple geometry, and a general appreciation of durability. Frama pieces can be found at select retailers from New York to Malmo to Taiwan, and the company has a hand in numerous projects, from Kream Concept Store to a permanent installation at Palais Thott, the French embassy in the heart of Copenhagen.
Since its launch in 2005, Space Copenhagen has gained a global reputation for its high-profile interior work on restaurants like Noma, widely considered the best restaurant in the world, and Geranium, by Bocuse d’Or winner Rasmus Kofoed, as well as work on hotels like New York’s 11 Howard. The company, whose Billeder Swoon Chair for Fredericia Furniture is pictured in the lead image, was recently pegged to renovate the iconic SAS Royal Hotel, designed by Danish master Arne Jacobsen and now known as the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel.
Speaking of 11 Howard, that hotel also houses the first international outpost of Studio Oliver Gustav, the designer’s eponymous boutique and exhibition space that’s headquartered in Copenhagen’s Nyhavn district. A creative consultant with a focus on aesthetic development, art, and design, Gustav is celebrated in the Danish capital and beyond for his unique and limited-edition pieces that make striking use of light and shadow, surfaces, and scale, as well as his home collection of dyed hemp and linen sofas and armchairs.
Founded in 2006, KBH Københavns Møbelsnedkeri is known for its elegant, handmade wooden tables, chairs, and cabinetry, which take a contemporary spin on Danish design classics. KBH pieces populate rarified design spaces throughout Scandinavia and beyond, from restaurants like Noma and Les Trois Cochons, to a prototype prefab cabin in upstate New York by the renowned architectural firm BIG.
Established in 2015 by an architect, a boat builder, and a theater producer trained in carpentry, Fokstrot is a truly multidisciplinary company, comprising a diverse team of designers and craftsmen, as well as in-house joinery, metal, and molding plants. This enables a wide range of high-profile projects in interior and exhibition design, scenography, and architecture, from the Copenhagen Islands, a series of free-floating manmade islands that double as public event spaces, to an Elizabeth Peyton exhibition by the French Academy at Rome’s Villa Medici, to the conversion of a historic 1947-era car ferry in Svendborgsund into a two-story multifunctional housing project on the water.