Discover architecture designed for life

4 min read
Photo: Mathias Brandt

Danish architecture may have a history of simplicity and functionality, but its modern iterations are much more substantial than you might think. When you see Copenhagen’s incredible structures, you’ll be able to spot the essence of the local culture within remarkable and creative designs.

The central tenet of Copenhagen’s architecture is that it should be designed for life. Every building is made to get as much use as possible, with many intended to serve multiple purposes. The entire city is planned with usability in mind, which is a large reason why cycle paths are so prominent and efficient throughout town.

Besides being functional, local architecture also sports an alluring aesthetic, as the designers have managed to meld every important aspect of each building together into a single impressive creation. For example, you can find a waste management building that also functions as a ski slope, while other buildings block wind from natural swimming areas. Copenhagen, at its core, is dedicated to people, right down to its designs.

Architectural front-runner

Photo: Astrid Maria Rasmussen

It’s clear why Copenhagen is considered a front-runner in architectural design in the modern era. Unique designs have been pushing the limits of what buildings can offer in a way that helps both residents and visitors alike, with modern buildings set next to centuries-old churches, palaces, and state buildings. It’s this blend of old and new, of cobbled streets and steel-and-glass office buildings that makes it an interesting place to visit.

Photo: Astrid Maria Rasmussen

Copenhagen harbor is clean enough that people can swim in it, but that’s just the beginning. Architectural powerhouses have designed structures that make swimming in the harbor easier and more enjoyable. For example, Kastrup Sea Bath is a delightful snail-shaped structure in the sea, carefully placed to protect against wind, so you can enjoy a swim whenever you like.

Photo: © EFFEKT Architects, SydkystDanmark

Copenhagen’s approach to architecture and design is largely what has pushed it to the forefront of the global design scene. The city has become a paragon, thanks to its prioritization of craftsmanship, creativity, and democracy of design. A human-centric approach is refreshing in a world that predominantly seems to care about building as much as possible, for as cheaply as possible, before anything else.

Immerse yourself in local designs

When you visit Copenhagen, you’ll want to embrace these creative and human-centric designs firsthand. Plenty of local hotels, especially boutique establishments, are designed using Danish-made decor, so you can be surrounded by the best the locals have to offer—whether you want something classic or more experimental.

Photo: Daniel Rasmussen

The Danish commitment to functionality is present throughout many of its accommodation options. For example, when you stay in the Audo, you’ll find a hotel residence, of course, but the design also includes a design showroom, a shop, and an entire restaurant. It’s easy enough to frame your entire experience around Danish design, considering how much it permeates everyday life.

Photo: Visit Copenhagen

Shopping in Copenhagen can also put you in the midst of local designs. Concept shops are quite common, and you’ll find them implemented in buildings that may have previously been used for something like a bank. Of course, you’ll find showrooms specifically for Danish designs that display brilliantly crafted Danish and Scandinavian pieces, many of which you can take home.

Bring something home

Impressive designs throughout Copenhagen are nice to look at and appreciate, but you may want to consider bringing a piece home with you. Having cutting-edge design in your home is a great way to spruce up any kind of space. Whether it’s a piece of furniture, interesting textiles or a work of art, you won’t have to look far to find something that will look perfect in your home.

Photo: Visit Copenhagen

Some of the local boutiques will have you feel as if you’re stepping into another world, such as the grand atmosphere found in studios like Oliver Gustav’s. The carefully curated selection of art here is for sale and reflects a unique style that is certain to create a stunning focal point in your home.

Photo: Hay House

Many of the design showrooms in town embody a more traditional approach to Danish design and cultural expression. While you’ll still find new twists on items, plenty of traditional-style furniture, lighting installations, and apparel can be found easily enough around town. Fortunately, variety is quite common in boutiques, so you won’t have to travel too far to find a design that fits your own life.

Photo: Daniel Rasmussen