3 Days of Design 2023

Scandinavian design festival 3 Days of Design celebrated ten years in Copenhagen first week of June. It was sunny, well organised and lots of fun. Besides the usual suspects of Scandi brands this week was packed with Italians like Moroso, Foscarini, Poltorna Frau, etc, etc.

With almost 300 design exhibitions and events this is the mega event in Northern Europe, just before summer hits. Today we will look at conversations and trends from this design festival.

Trendhunter on the prowl. Captured by @chris1million.

But where to start this report? Maybe with something that we all know…

Trend 1 – they love the old classics

A majority of the brands participating in this design event, and especially the Danish brands, are obsessed with old classics. OBSESSED. Almost all brands start their presentation with “so we have been running this factory for three generations and we have been working with Wegner/Mogensen.” Almost everyone does this. And it’s like a seal of approval. If you have worked with Börge Mogensen, then you are a proper brand.

This picture is from Fredericia and they actually had a nice new collection with only one (!!) new piece by Börge Mogensen. A bookshelf.

Fritz Hansen and their installation at a palace. Looking pretty with the classics.

Gubi with wonderful lamps by Finnish (!!) Paavo Thynell. Wonderful, look at the details. Can we design this kind of lamp today?

Even old porcelaine matched together with a midcentury brand like Vitra and Eames.

And Alfredo Häberli updated the colours of the chairs for Warm Nordic. By Hans Olsen from the 50s.

FDB Möbler from the 50s but in new colour.

Relaunch of a light for Astep. Italian – but still a relaunch, and for a Danish brand.

And of course Finn Juhl which is ALL about relaunches.

And finally – the new products here didn’t necessarily have anything to do with mid-century classics – but the setting did. Michael Anastassiades made a beautiful setting with vintage pieces. His lamps were new, but the setting matched the tone of the city.

Trend 2 – reds

I wanted to say that the colour trend of 3 Days of Copenhagen was inspirered by Wes Anderson. And when I look at the official press pictures from the brands – it might be so. Yellow, green, a light blue… But on site I saw a lot of reds more than these muted pop colours. First out Hay.

Maybe a bit more Wes Anderson? At Fogia.

Red table at Raawi.

The glass and colour combinations at Helle Mardahl was amazing – as expected.

I liked how Plus Halle worked with different kinds of red here with these tables.

Trend 3 – hospitality

Copenhagen was obviously filled with talks about where the future is for the design industry. The building and architectural industry is very worried about where the money is. Are we building new offices after the pandemic? One clear indicator was that how people are looking toward the hospitality solution. Restaurants and hotels. We might hold back on consumerism but we will still spend money on leisure.

As a result we see sofas like this (by Norr11). It was originally launched as a public space sofa, but now with a new edition with higher seat so it fits a dining scenario.

Most obvious was how Normann Copenhagen renovated their showroom. built walls, added room numbers and setting so that everything actually looked like a hotel. This is the future. This is where the money is.

Hotel mirror…

Trend 4 – minimalism vs organic

I started seeing it already in Stockholm in February. There is a longing for good old minimalism. But still at the same time you have something really messy and organic. Basically the opposites. Either or. Here lamps by Jonas Trampedach.

And almost an obsession for benches. I see them everywhere. Here again at Norr11.

Straight lines in a minimalistic way by Handvärk.

Straight lines at Fredericia

Angles at Pholc

Minimalistic and sculptural at File under Pop.

One of my favourite Danish designers Birgitte Due Madsen. Minimalism in the angles.

Also a favourite – Our Society at the exhibition Formland did at Magasin du Nord.

Minimalistic cabinet at Reffen by Atelier Axo

And this all in opposite to the organic feeling of these…

The straw installation by Colin King at Audo.

This lamp by Motarasu. You buy it as a paper circle and then fold it yourself.

These door and cabinet handles by Spaces Within.

The glass design by Helle Mardahl

Almost everything at wonderful gallery Yoonede.

And of course Tableau. Here the piles of soil represents the opposite of minimalism. To me, anyway.

Also at Ferm Living. They had things made by their own design studio but also invited Norwegian Anna Maria Öfstedal Eng. The original version was made in wood, then scanned for 3D printing in aluminum.

Last two pictures are from Ukurant. Refshaleöen or Reffen is slowly establishing itself as the new “young area”. This is the Alcova of Copenhagen. Ukurant always curate and select interesting talents. It is easy to fall in love with the raw branches in the chair by Matthias Gschwendtner. Under that is Norwegian Mathias Malmt.

From my perspective this organic thing feels much younger, energetic, curious and exiting. More future oriented…

Trend 5 – sustainability

Copenhagen and 3 Days of Design have two players that are unique. I was wondering how to start this section with sustainability. But I think I have to start with these two.

Copenhagen and Denmark have LDC or Lifestyle and Design Cluster. Perhaps one of the worst names in history. But what they do is unique. Every design festival they manage to do a curated exhibition with Danish established brands mixed with prototypes and small scale initatives. And everything is about sustainability. You can find for instance Fritz Hansen next to a new design graduate. Easy to get an overview and always a good selection.

On an equal level, Denmark has Mater. The design brand Mater totally drives the sustainable evolution. Totally. Specifically on a material level. The take prototypes, for instance materials made of ground coffee beans and make that into functional furniture. They are amazing. Leaders.

First two picture from the exhibition by LDC. A new find was Click’nTile. They make tiles out of recycled plastics that you can interchange. A LEGO-like plastics but all sustainable. Works for kitchens or what room you need. Fun.

Mater. Amazing. Focus this year was on a collaboration with Tetra Pac and Arla where they take the milkboxes and make furniture out of it. It is such a nice and innovative brand.

Continuing with other examples. Raawi really tries to be more sustainable and this year I saw pieces made of cork – and that is nice.

German carpet brand Nomad used candy wrap in their carpets for a new effect.

This was nice. I have seen it on internet before. Franch TipToe made a kind of plank material of recycled plastics – but managed to get it transparent. Interesting and unusual.

Etage Project. Always nice. Here carpets made of recycled materials.

Icelandic Folk Reykjavik made products of recycled materials. Here a spare green marble together with recycled aluminum. It is a lamp.

Favourites from before. Reevein Studio make everlasting flowers made of recycled materials. The polkadot pattern is new. Found at the exhibition by Formland at Magasin du Nord.

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