5 Aha Moments at Copenhagen’s Design Festival 2024

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There are always heaps of sofas, chairs, decor, and lighting at design festivals—editors (ahem) are looking for trends to report on, designers and buyers are checking out what’s new to incorporate into their projects or stores, and non-industry folks are, perhaps, just taking in the vibes. Earlier this month, at Copenhagen’s annual fair, 3 Days of Design, I was doing the same. There were tons of beautiful hardware and plenty of cool pendant lamps, but I kept returning to the exhibitions and showrooms that displayed ingenious, unconventional applications of products and materials often meant for other uses. Here are five that caught my eye. 

Cabinetry Crafted From Flooring

I poked in early on to see the new Dinesen apartment by celebrated architectural designer John Pawson, which had the serenity and light of a Scandinavian chapel. On display was his latest addition to the brand’s stable: the Made to Order Pawson Furniture Collection. The Dining Series was originally designed in 1992, but updated in 2024 with Dinesen Oak in the shadow gap. The Lounge Series is completely new and made from solid Douglas fir in Denmark with upholstery from Kvadrat. 

While showstopping in its own right, I couldn’t help but marvel even more at the kitchen tucked away in the back corner. It’s outfitted in Garde Hvalsøe’s Layer cabinetry, designed by Baks Arkitekter, which is crafted in Dinesen Layers Oak. When opened, you can see the internal solid reinforcement, which is actually floorboards turned sideways. The simple steel worktop is inspired by the one in Pawson’s own kitchen.

Acousting Panels Created With Plants


Courtesy of Søuld

After boating over to Refshaleøen, a former industrial site that’s now home to several artist studios and even Noma Projects, I ended up on another boat anchored in the harbor. This is where I found bales of eelgrass used by Søuld, a Danish manufacturer creating environmentally friendly products made from the seagrass. While traditionally employed for thatched roofs on the Danish island Laesø, Søuld is crafting acoustic designs with it, and there are loads of benefits: It can also be used for thermal and moisture absorption; is naturally renewable; is resistant to fire and mold; and stores carbon. The brand has been active in Europe for some time but is finally expanding in North America through a partnership with Spinneybeck.   

Tile as Door Molding 


Photography by Mariell Lind Hansen

Kaufmann Keramik joined forces with Copenhagen-based interior design practice Studio Force Majeure to display a selection of its recently designed tile. The brand has worked with superstar German designer Sebastian Herkner for some time, and several of his styles were on display, including a new ceramic bench that fits snugly around fireplaces. But what I thought was extra compelling were the studio’s applications of his shapes: the slanted Acqua as edges of a mirror or adorning the lower half of a wall, the Sahel room dividers as entryway walls, and the Soap as table leg jewelry. But the most intriguing use was of the Soap shape around a doorframe just like molding, an elegant and striking alternative to wallpaper or wood trim. 

Upholstery Made From 100% Ocean-Bound Waste


Photo courtesy of Casper Sejersen

This year’s ReThink exhibition is Kvadrat’s sixth iteration of its Design Projects. The 12 participating creatives were all particularly interested in sustainability and pushing the boundaries of materials, whether using recycled textiles, renewable materials, or circular resources. While the international group was compelling as a whole, I was drawn to the Octopoda, adorned with interiors-applicable Sport upholstery, designed by Patricia Urquiola. Beyond the colorful sea-inspired hues, Sport is the first of its kind: a recycled polyester upholstery textile woven from 100% ocean-bound plastic waste, all collected just off the coastlines and on remote islands in Thailand. Being able to touch and feel it in person affirmed that it wasn’t at all rough and would actually be quite nice to sit on. 

A Cement Planter That Can Grow Itself


Photography by Sébastien El Idrissi Studio

Copenhagen’s Østerbro neighborhood is leafy, quiet, and relaxed and home to my favorite bakery. It’s also where I visited a small-group furniture exhibition called A Calm Place, put together by newly formed platform and online store Objective Studies. It aims to illustrate the link between Danish home culture, which prioritizes nature and natural materials as well as flexible spaces, to today‘s global design landscape. Sebastien El Idrissi’s Stack Planters can do just that: stack to create deeper soil for certain greenery or trees, particularly useful in hot climates. Made of fiber cement (I’m a fan of the Brutalist-esque material), the planter can be placed on casters to be wheeled around. 

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