Arne Jacobsen and the Swan, Hans Wegner and the Wishbone Chair and Finn Juhl and the UN - Danish design icons and masters well-known to design-interested Americans. They are among the great Danes who paved the way and introduced the US to the timeless, classic and simple Danish modern design – still thriving in New York today.
Danish Modern design was first introduced to the New Yorkers and the rest of the US back in 1952, when Danish architect and furniture designer Finn Juhl was chosen to design The Trusteeship Council Chamber at the United Nations in New York. In April this year, the Chamber was reopened after a grand three-year renovation, introducing the Danish design classics of tomorrow with Danish designers Kasper Salto and Thomas Sigsgaard, who won the competition to redesign the Chamber, leading the way.
The original design of The Trusteeship Council Chamber at the United Nations in New York, 1952, designed by Finn Juhl.
The Chamber in April 2013 after the three year renovation process, designed by Salto & Sigsgaard.
Now a new book, Finn Juhl – A Living Legacy at the UN, documenting the restoration process and the history of the Chamber has been published by Strandberg Publishing. The book is available in both English and Danish.
But it’s not just Finn Juhl and the iconic UN-building that represent Danish design in New York. At the New York City Architecture and Design Film Festival last week, the Danish documentary “The Human Scale” about renowned Danish architect Jan Gehl opened the festival on Wednesday, October 16. Jan Gehl is widely known for his great sense of designing cities around people instead of automobiles and he has been a great source of inspiration to the city planning of New York, including the replanning of Broadway and Times Square.
Danish architect Jan Gehl, widely known for designing cities for the people.
“Danish design is well-known due to great architects and designers like Finn Juhl, Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner. Current Danish designers and architects are without a doubt building on their legacy, but are also very much coming into their own. At the moment, there’s a lot of positive talk in New York about Danish design and architecture, generated from the opening of the UN Chamber back in April,” says General Consul of Denmark in New York and Ambassador to Denmark, Jarl Frijs-Madsen and continues:
“Danish design is known for its genuine quality and sense of being classic and timeless. That is valuable and the Americans like those characteristics. The ‘Nordic Cool’ wave has definitely also played a part in keeping Danish design interesting, but with contemporary young designers like Salto and Sigsgaard and BIG being introduced to the New Yorkers and the American market in general, Danish design is riding on a wave of its own.”
Details from the renovated Trusteeship Council Chamber at the UN, New York. On Sunday October 20, 2013, a special VIP-screening at the Architecture and Design Film Festival of the just finished documentary “Finn Juhl – an Original in Danish Design” about Finn Juhl and the renovation of the UN chamber, produced by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, DR, took place.
Apart from the mentioned projects, Danish interior designers are also making a name for themselves in New York. For example, designer Thomas Juul-Hansen is responsible for designing all the interiors of One57, the new luxury high-rise and the highest residential building in Manhattan to be finished in 2013.
The Danish Modern of TomorrowWith architects such as Jan Gehl and Bjarke Ingels (founder and CEO of BIG Architects), a new side of Danish architecture and design has been introduced to the New Yorkers.
“Jan Gehl has brought a sense of Copenhagen to New York, “Copenhagenization” so to speak, as the outlay of the Danish capital is very including – it’s designed for the people. New York has been inspired by that and for example implemented bike lanes, projects like CitiBike and the closing off of traffic from Broadway and Times Square,” explains Jarl Frijs-Madsen.
The young Danish architect Bjarke Ingels already has great success in both Denmark and across the globe with his fast growing company BIG. The company’s New York office opened in 2010 with just three employees in order to oversee the development and upcoming construction of West 57th, a new residential building in Manhattan. The office has now grown to 70 employees. BIG is involved in a range of large-scale projects in the States, like the restoration of the Smithsonian Campus in Washington DC and Pier 6 of Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York.
Danish architecture company BIG has been asked to design Pier 6 of Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York.
“Bjarke Ingels has really managed - and continues to manage – to catch the spirit of the time and do each project in a unique and contemporary way, always incorporating the environment and sustainability,” adds Jarl Frijs-Madsen.
Sustainable Design In Denmark there’s also a continuous focus on sustainable design, which clearly shows in the Danish founded INDEX: AWARD – the world’s largest cash design award focused on sustainable design and design that improves life.
This year, the city of Copenhagen won a prize for its Copenhagen Climate Adaptation Plan, and Copenhagen has also just received the WWF’s most prestigious award, Gift to the Earth, for having the world’s most ambitious climate and renewable energy targets.
“Denmark has an official design policy, a design center; you can almost say that design is part of our DNA. But within the last years, Denmark has also managed to incorporate sustainability and renewable energy in its design and city planning. This has spread to New York, because Danish design is also involved in rebuilding New York after Sandy. Through the competition Rebuild by Design both BIG and COWI North America as part of Ocean and Coastal Consultants has made it to stage two of the international competition,” says Jarl Frijs-Madsen.
Danish designers Kasper Salto & Thomas Sigsgaard in the new Council Chair for The Trusteeship Council Chamber at the United Nations in New York.