After a lack of events, inspirational trips and fairs, I am so happy that since our Milan design trip earlier this year everything seems to be back to normal. Some brands might have found new ways during the pandemic to inform their audiences online. I can tell you though that nothing is more satisfying than seeing and feeling a product for real, let alone the making process! Earlier this month I was invited to Copenhagen to join Carl Hansen & Son on a trip down memory lane together with Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects
Danish master architect Vilhelm Lauritzen has created several of the most iconic buildings in Copenhagen and this year its studio Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects celebrates 100 years birthday. To honor the architect and his influence on Danish design and architecture. Carl Hansen & Søn brings some of his most notable designs to life: The new VLA26 VEGA chair which originally was designed for the Vega Hall and the re-born Foyer Collection originally designed for the Radio House from 1945.
On the first day of our trip I got the chance to visit several buildings designed by the architect, and got to see both the original and new design pieces. While on the second day we gotta visit the Carl Hansen factory, more about that in my next post. I already showed a lot during our trip on my Instagram which I collected in a ‘Carl Hansen’ highlight and for you who love Pinterest have a look in my Carl Hansen Pinterest album I will be uploading more images in that particular album in the coming days.
Vega Music Hall – Vega Chair
As a music lover I couldn’t have wished for anything better than starting our tour with a visit to the famous Vega concert venue in Copenhagen where my all time favorite band Placebo performed just a few days earlier. The building from 1956 sets the original stage for the re-launched Vega Chair. Head of Design at Carl Hansen & Søn, Mads Holm Raabjerg and Anne Møller Sørensen, partner at Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects guided us through the building.
Vega was originally created by Vilhelm Lauritzen as a universal meeting place for the labour movement, but the modernist building was transformed into a concert venue in 1996 after an extensive restoration and has since then set the tone for the cultural life of Copenhagen. Lauritzen designed everything for the building with great perfectionism – from the chairs, tables, wood panels, friezes and chandeliers to the fixtures, door handles and sockets. For Lauritzen, it was the small details that made the biggest difference, bringing the whole space together.
Vilhelm Lauritzen’s uncompromising attention to detail is evident both in the building and the stackable VLA26 Vega Chair, of which the legs for example are elegantly finished with wooden feet that give the chair exceptional craftsman-like detail.
VLA26 Vega Chair
The VLA26 Vega Chair shows Vilhelm Lauritzen’s signature style – a functionalist design that is almost effortlessly simple and timeless, but still with a very clear character. The chair has the classic uncompromising Lauritzen details, only a few details were changed to meet modern regulations. The chair was beautiful exposed to us with soft light spots and a small musical performance.
The Vega chair is an elegant mix of steel, wood and textile or leather. The precise upholstery on the seat and the back gives the chair a slender and refined look. For a more reduced appearance, the chair is also crafted without upholstery, bringing the tactile oak into full focus. The dynamic curve of the back of the chair gives it a distinctive character.
Pictured below, the original Vega chair on the left and the new Vega chair on the right.
The Radio House – Foyer Collection
Our next stop was the iconic Radio House, originally designed in 1945 for Danmarks Radio at a time when radio was a new and modern technology. The heritage-listed building was created using exclusive materials, including Greenlandic marble and teak hardwood.
All furniture and lighting were custom-designed for the interior. This was also the case with the Foyer series, which Lauritzen designed for Radio huset’s magnificent foyer. The Foyer series still adorns the iconic Radiohuset, which today houses the Royal Danish Academy of Music.
Consisting of a bench, a sofa and a lounge chair, the series has been recreated by Carl Hansen & Son in close contact with Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects and with great respect for the original design. All of which are characterised by a unique interplay between the oak frame and the upholstered seats and backrests, which almost seem to float. The series is meticulously upholstered in fabric or leather. It requires time-consuming precision and craftsmanship to upholster the seats and backrests, which feature handmade buttons. The foyer bench pictured below is my favourite from the collection.
The amazing Terminal 1
I am well aware of how special this trip was and how many normally closed doors opened to us, especially when visiting Terminal 1, Copenhagen’s original airport build in 1939. The airport terminal has tactile, visual, and aural qualities, but was not an expensive building like the Radio House. It was made from cheaper, more industrial materials. The striking brass banister on the staircase and the Greenland marble cladding at the entrances are exceptions. Several of the walls are clad with Junker’s beech parquet.
The terminal building was listed in 1998, and one night in September 1999, the entire building was moved on coupled flatbed trucks 3.8 km across the apron and the runways to its current location. Today the terminal is used to receive VIPs in the airport and there is a special room for royalties, and for the occasion we were allowed to see that special area. Most impressive I thought was the, 12 cm thick only, curved ceiling in the main hall, and the beautiful curved stairs.
Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects HQ
On top of that we also visited Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects HQ where we got a peek into the archives and some of Vilhelm’s original drawings and watercolour paintings. Next to the models department where finished projects were shown and where the team was working on models for the 100 years celebration. In the modern Headquarter of Vilhelm Lauritzen beautiful references to the design style of the architect were present as seen in the picture below.
This blogpost is written in collaboration with Carl Hansen & Son, thank you so much for the invite and the amazing two days!
Images ©vosgesparis except for Images 1,6,10,17,22 via Vilhelm Lauritzen and Image 9,15,16 via Carl Hansen & Son