3 Days of Design, Copenhagen’s annual design festival, has grown exponentially in the last ten years. The theme for 2023 was “Where Would We Be Without You,” a concept that was explored in a myriad of ways by Scandinavian design brands, artists, curators, and architects.
Some looked into the heritage of Scandinavian design, such as Frederica Furniture’s celebration of Nanna Ditzel, while others delved into questions of material and resource. The broadness of the theme is the point, of course, and it allowed Scandinavian design brands to really dig into their own DNA to highlight their strengths. The result was a festival that felt both cohesive and expansive; just like Scandinavian design!
Here are the best designs, exhibitions, and collaborations we saw during 3 Days of Design 2023:
Kristina Dam Studio: Sculpture Exhibit at the Vintage Bar
Kristina Dam Studio, a Danish design studio with a focus on “Sculptural Minimalism” has created an exhibition space at The Vintage Bar on Højbro Plads, housed in a classic Copenhagen apartment – a historic one, in fact, as Hans Christian Andersen used to stay there on trips to the city. The key pieces in the exhibition are the new Outline Bar Chair as well as new sculptures by Kristina Dam.
Kristina Dam Studio’s Bauhaus and Japanese-inspired pieces sit perfectly in the charming gallery space; the contras highlights the studio’s commitment to classic silhouettes in natural, high-quality materials.
Swedish design brand Massproductions is known for their straightforward, sometimes raw design approach. Gridlock, a modular shelving system that comes in three finishes, is a great example of their design language, while highlighting how they’re ready to move away from singular furniture pieces and instead begin to construct their own fully realized spaces.
Gridlock is, to some degree, something we’ve seen before, but the lines and proportion are unexpected enough to make it exciting. We think we’ll be seeing this system all over cool work spaces and design-driven homes very soon.
Eilsersen: “Time for Change” Exhibit
When you think Eilersen, perhaps you think of their history making carriages? Or perhaps you think of the natural wood and muted tones that are common to their pieces. Now, Eilersen wants to change all that. Their exhibition “Time for Change” is all about mixing color, pattern, and texture, as well as mixing new and vintage pieces.
Style by Pernille Vest and including handmade lamps by Catherine Raben Davidson of CRD Studio, among other emerging designers, the exhibition is an exploration of classic silhouettes and playful textiles. It’s impossible to walk around without a smile on your face! Furniture aside, the spacious showroom in the centre of the city is worth exploring for the built-in stained glass artwork.
Danish kitchen brand Reform typically works with designers and architects to create modular kitchen fronts. With the Atelier Collection, they’ve moved into kitchen accessories: handles. They asked four artists to create handles from four materials (metal, glass, wood, ceramic) and the results are as different as the artists themselves.
The ceramic, Barbara Hepworth-style organic shapes from Yukari Hotta are completely enchanting, and the Venetian-glass style blobs from Nina Norgaard are wonky and charming, ideal for adding some personality to your kitchen.
Fredericia Furniture is one of Denmark’s most storied production houses, and while their heritage pieces are incredible, we love to see new designs as well. In addition to celebrating what would have been Nanna Ditzel’s 100 year birthday with an exhibition and talks about the renowned Danish designer, Fredericia had a number of new releases that are both exciting and totally in-line with their focus on craftsmanship, quality, and timeless silhouettes.
The Gomo Lounge Collection by Portuguese designer Hugo Passos, Niveau Table Series by Danish designer Cecilie Manz, and Pioneer Collection by Danish designer Maria Bruun all offer totally unique, new pieces that fit perfectly into the Fredericia Aesthetic. The Pioneer Collection, in particular, is a playful and geometric take on the simple stool that absolutely bound to be a design classic.
Danish textile company Kvadrat has collaborated with French designer Inga Sempé on “Sketches,” a collection of curtains based on Sempé’s drawings. The textiles employ an interplay of yarn to create a graphic and textural look in each piece that’s still delicate.
“I have always liked subtle changes in normal systems. As I walk through the streets of Paris, I look for tiny changes that turn what looks normal into something lively,” explains Inga.
These curtains are available in a number of classic colours, making them an easy way to add depth and tactility to any space.
One of the most talked-about exhibits of the festival, “The Weight of Wood” seeks to explore the history and importance of wood as a resource, as well as the density of wood as a material. Christian Hammer Juhl and Jade Chan, founders of Christian + Jade, were commissioned by Dinesen Lab to run a year-long research project, bringing in artists for a residency in which they would explore uses of wood. The resulting exhibition, curated by Christian + Jade, takes a walk through what wood means to the world of design.
Dinensen, a Danish brand who produces top-quality floor boards, used this year’s festival as a change to dive into their own most-used material, as well as showcase emerging artists and designers.
The exhibition was interactive and tactile, bringing true “weight” and a sense of joy to an often overlooked element of design: the raw materials themselves.