Situated amidst rising rubble at Nordhavn – the up-and-coming industrial port area north of Copenhagen's city centre – and standing proud and tall to overlook the harbour is The Silo. Surrounding the once purely functional structure is essentially one contintous, active construction site. As far as the eye can see, foundations are being poured, existing structures are being converted into usable buildings and new structures are being erected around the clock.
While approaching this concrete monolinth, one is taken by surprise as wind blocked by the silo's solid, windowless facades sweeps by and the sounds of drilling and hammering beat away the memory of Copenhagen's charming city centre only a few kilometers away. Replacing the concrete walls at ground level, glass windows make visible the quiet sanctuary which housed Danish™ and Frame's Re-Framing Danish Design exhibition during 3 Days of Design.
Within The Silo's old grain storage area – beneath ceiling-suspended steel chutes – sits two very diverse interpretations of the same ten acclaimed objects from the realm of Danish design: Hans Bølling's Tray Table for Brdr. Krüger, Kaare Klint's Safari Chair for Carl Hansen & Søn, Plateau by Søren Rose Studio for DK3, Børge Mogensen's J39 for Fredericia Furniture, Arne Jacobsen's 7 Series chair for Fritz Hansen and Tongue Chair for HOWE, Cecilie Manz's Caravaggio for Lightyears, Montana system by Montana, The Fiber chair by Iskos-Berlin for Muuto and handpainted Nordic Antique wallpaper by Zilmers.
Asked by Frame to partake in the Re-Framing Danish Design exhibition and bring their diverse backgrounds to the [tray] table, designers Niek Pulles of the Netherlands and Sebastian Herkner of Germany took on the challenge of reinterpreting a set of ten Danish design objects with their international perspective.
For Increasing Details, Sebastian Herkner began by identifying ten concepts which make these pieces tick – simplicity, craftsmanship, sustainability, functionality, modularity, self-explanatory, mobility, poetry, transfer and irony – and expanded the specific elements, leaving them up for inspection by curious onlookers. White steel frames geometrically snake across the seats and surfaces of the ten objects. Embedded into the frames at highly considered points, are magnifying glasses which extract and focus attention on a crucial point. Acting as portals into Studio Sebastian Herkner's analytical and detail-oriented eye, the lenses celebrate a single moment on each of the designs.
Magnified moments include the void between Montana's variably sized and stackable shelving units, the texture of Muuto's Fiber chair's recycled surface, the mobile folding frame which supports the trays of Brdr. Krüger's Tray Table and the fittings of Carl Hansen & Søn's Safari Chair. The layers upon layers of hand painted detail which breathe life into Zilmer's Antique Nordic wallpaper, clean metal spun edging of Cecile Manz's Caravaggio lamp and J39's beautifully woven seat crafted from paper rope. The slender, engraved channels within the Pataeu Table's wooden top as well as the steel base these channels receive are highlighter. The dynamic silhouette of Arne Jacobsen's Tongue chair and curved, laminated seat of Series 7 are noted and expanded for public appreciation.
Just beyond Herkner's analysis debuts Pulles' collection of rebels where he explores the human connection with Danish design. Transformed with hairy textures, monster truck wheels and latex-veneered surfaces, the collection of Danish design objectsis far from recognizable upon a swift glance. As promised, Niek Pulles gave each piece his identity, shocking the exhibition's visitors – which also included original designers – 'in a good way', leaving them definifely surprised by his – in some cases drastic – alterations.
With a pink base colour and finger-like surface texture, Arne Jacobsen's Tongue chair transformed into a large-scale human tongue while the once-sleek 7 Series chair is also texturized with extruded foam fingers. Laser cutting voids and layering of Zilmer's Antique Nordic wallpaper offered a new approach, with a finishing touch of more layers of neon spray paint. The seat of Muuto's Fiber chair turns the fibers into a three dimensional and tactile version. Replacing casters for monster truck wheels, Brdr. Krüger's Tray Table could roll away with a remote control, realizing every child's flight of fancy. A bath of marbelized paint gives the Caravaggio lamp by Cecille Manz a new look. Carl Hansen & Søn's Safari Chair acquires a pyramidal foam seat for additional comfort and Montana's efficient system of stacking is turned every which way, which expandable glue holding its boxes and packing spaces in an irregularized spatial arrangement. Now vibrantly hued with irridescent car paint, DK3's solid wood tops are veneered with latex to feel like human skin. Also known as The People's Chair, the J39 embodies a human quality of hair with frozen strands formed by dripped wax coating the woven rope seat.
If you didn't get a chance to see the exhibition during its debut, you can see Re-Framing Danish Design again during Northmodern which will run from 13 August until 15 August 2015.
Photos Anders Hviid