Design is deep-rooted in the Danish DNA. Arne Jacobsen’s stacking chairs are ubiquitous and this celebrated designer embraced everything from
spoons to the model settlement of Bellevue. The Sydney Opera House
made Jorn utzon famous‚ but he also designed boats‚ a light-filled
church and a starkly beautiful nature center. in the postwar era‚ Danish
Modern furniture was all the rage‚ and though it’s gone out of fashion
here‚ it’s alive and well on its home ground.
Ann Videriksen‚ a Danish architect who now lives in Los Angeles‚ tries
to explain this record of excellence. “We were fortunate in being so
poor after the war‚” she suggests. “Frugality became a way of life. We
are a small country‚ with few natural resources besides our wits‚ and the
move from agriculture to industry didn’t come until the 1940s. So we are
still in touch with our roots.”
Beyond the monuments and showrooms of Copenhagen is a land of
simple pleasures: clean air‚ small towns and intensely green landscapes.
Most of the 16 million Danes live close to the sea‚ and the intricate
coastline is longer than that of the united States. Bridges link the major
islands, and ferries reach the rest‚ allowing escape into seemingly
remote areas a few hours drive from the capital. Den Fynske Landsby‚
an engaging outdoor museum of rural life‚ is located just south of
Odense‚ on the big island of Fyn. An old lady spins wool on the doorstep
35 Half-timbered farmhouses with thatched roofs from all over the island‚
barns and a windmill punctuate the fields of barley‚ wheat and rye.