In Copenhagen, a Design Fair Forges On

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Design, Copenhagen, Furniture, Design fairs

With social-distancing guidelines in place and plenty of free hand sanitizer to go around, Copenhagen served as the setting for what was arguably the world’s first major design fair to take place mid-pandemic. Staged September 3–5 in showrooms throughout the Danish capital, 3daysofdesign was unexpectedly bountiful—with dozens of launches demonstrating the nimbleness of this robust industry. 

Lighting proved to be one especially strong category. In three Instagram-worthy wooden cabins situated within a grassy field, Lyfa, a Danish company that shuttered in the 1990s, made its bright relaunch. With an archive spanning over a century, Lyfa made its fresh start with 50 different pendant, wall, floor, and table lamps—all of which were re-conceived under the watchful eyes of the husband-and-wife design duo behind GamFratesi. Of particular note was a playful matte-painted steel and solid brass Up/Down pendant. Designed by Bent Karlby in 1959 as part of his Mosaik series, the pendant emits light in two directions thanks to its dual conical appendages.

The relaunch of Danish company Lyfa took place within three scenic cabins. Photo: Courtesy of Lyfa

The Mosaik Up/Down pendant by Bent Karlby, designed in 1959 and relaunched by Lyfa. Photo: Irina Boersma

Thinking along similar historical lines, Louis Poulsen reached into its own archives, emerging with the layered PH Septima by Poul Henningsen. The design’s dramatic presence is defined by seven etched and transparent glass shades, which have been retooled for better balance. Notably, the pendant was last seen as a prototype in 1928.

The PH Septima pendant light by Poul Henningsen for Louis Poulsen. Photo: Courtesy of Louis Poulsen

Elsewhere, Umanoff, a brass and walnut pendant light by Arthur Umanoff, was among introductions by Menu. The brand selected The Audo, one of the week’s buzziest venues, as its headquarters and showroom. Another hotel, Hotel Herman K, which also happens to share an owner with furniture brands Paustian and Warm Nordic, turned some of its interiors into an exhibitions space. Furnishings from both brands filled the hotel, thanks in large part to their collective owner.

Furnishings by Warm Nordic and Paustian were on view in the lobby at Hotel Herman K, as part of a 3daysofdesign initiative. Photo: Courtesy of Paustian

Paustian pieces in the penthouse at Hotel Herman K.Photo: Courtesy of Paustian

Lamps and lighting options aside, Silhouette, a collection of mirrors available in oval or rectangular shapes by OEO Studio for Fredericia, showed products made out of wood and glass. Slim and understated in classic Danish style, the oiled walnut frames could easily slip into just about any interior. Also from Fredericia, the Sequoia pouf by Space Copenhagen offers flexible comfort while paying homage to the Sequoia tunnel tree, a bored-through American redwood that allowed cars to pass through. Upholstery options include sheepskin—a fluffy luxury seen more than once at this year’s fair.

An oval Silhouette mirror, designed by OEO Studio for Fredericia. Photo: Courtesy of Fredericia

The Sequoia pouf by Space Copenhagen for Fredericia is seen here alongside the Ditzel lounge by Nanna and Jørgen Ditzel. Photo: Courtesy of Space Copenhagen

Finally, at the Kvadrat showroom, an exhibition canceled last spring finally made its debut. “Knit! by Kvadrat,” the fourth in a series and originally planned for Salone del Mobile, explored the untapped potential of knitted textile as revealed by 28 designers. The colorful presentation of how far textile boundaries can be pushed was also a fitting message of resilience.

An unexpected green-tinted transparent glass base supports the reclining seat of Coalesce by Studio Truly Truly. Featured in “Knit! by Kvadrat,” the lounge chair is upholstered in the Gentle 2 knitted textile by Kvadrat. Photo: Luke Evans

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