Monday, June 12, 2017

Scandinavia 2017 - The Danish Design Museum - Overawed

After spending a few minutes browsing the small art fair in the inner courtyard we entered the museum proper. The first few galleries featured artifacts manufactured in the last 5 years or so and almost seemed to be advertisements for the companies that produced them. "At least we didn't pay for this" I thought to myself.After weaving our way through these we got to the good stuff.

Danish Modern, anyone that grew up, as I did, in the 60's probably remembers the groundbreaking, elegant, sensuous and spare furnishings and objects where form and function met to create a stunningly beautiful whole. The museum treated us to room after room of wood bent into shapes that seem almost impossible and cloth molded into furnishings that are breathtaking and whimsical all at once. Walls filled floor to ceiling,with row after row of brightly colored pop art posters assault and delight the eye. A glass and chrome grand piano with its small, round bench balanced on a twisted pipe of steel reinvents the instrument. The familiar and unfamiliar blending, sculpture meeting music making function.

A narrow gallery showcases chairs housed in white cubicles stacked 3 high along it's walls. The cubes focus the viewers attention on the form of the chair. Boards, which pull out from slots in the walls, provide information about the pieces on display.

There is an amazing costume collection. Standing in showcases are richly embroidered gowns hundreds of years old in a remarkable state of preservation. A heavily beaded flapper dress is shown lying flat as the weight of the glittering beads would make it impossible to hang. Street dresses from the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's show the simple yet stylish Danish fashion eye. A magnificent black gown, it's long, almost mandarin sleeves trimmed with black and white feathers beckons us back for a second look. "I can see that on the red carpet" remarks a young girl to her friends giving me hope for the fashion sense of the next generation.

The curves of the more intricate yet still simple 18th century furnishings in the collection show the historical influence of the stripped down pieces which revolutionized modern design. Thoroughly sated, my soul refreshed, a common feeling after a particularly satisfying museum exerience, we returned to the Copenhagen streets.

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