Now if you are a design aficionado and someone tells you: Let’s got to the Republic of Fritz Hansen – what do you think is the natural reaction? Exactly, a brief scream and waves of excitement overtaking your mind. Next reaction is the absolutely reasonable question where you can apply for the citizenship of the Republic of Fritz Hansen (by the way I am still waiting for a response). But I digress. It was during my last design tour in Copenhagen that I had the amazing opportunity to step into the sacred halls of the Republic of Fritz Hansen and delve into timeless design pieces by renown masters such as Arne Jacobsen, Hans J. Wegner or Poul Kjaerholm.
The Republic of Fritz Hansen is situated on the outskirts of Copenhagen in a somewhat brutalist Bauhaus building with lots of concrete and glass setting a perfect scene for the timeless design pieces dwelling in its walls. Beside the offices, the building hosts a large museum and showroom as well as some production facilities where talented employees make prototypes of classic pieces like the Egg Chair with new materials according to customer orders. I was pretty much in love with the kilim version of Arne Jacobsen’s Drop chair!
Walking through the building was a design pleasure in itself. The museum holds some of the finest and rarest design chairs from the mid-century period that are either still in production or ceased to be produced. Some iconic pieces included the Bellevue chair by Arne Jacobsen from 1934 or the China chair by Hans J. Wegner from 1944. This was real eye-candy! But we have also seen some new interpretations of classic models – for example a new colour range of the famous Series 7 chair (a collaboration between Fritz Hansen and Arne Jacobsen and dates back to 1934) created by the Israeli-Danish artist Tal R (I will blog about his studio soon). I loved the candy like colours as we were using those chairs during our lunch break in the Fritz Hansen canteen (ok, can we all have such a canteen please!?).
After our visit at the Republic of Fritz Hansen we headed back to the city center and passed a part of Copenhagen entirely designed by Arne Jacobsen – residential buildings and a petrol station (Skovshoved petrol station) were design landmarks of everyday life. And that is exactly what I love about Denmark. Here design seems not be seen as something elitist, it is rather seen as natural component of the Danish identity and everyday life.
Photography by Igor Josifovic, first image via the Republic of Fritz Hansen