Based on the philosophy that good design should be experienced rather than just viewed, Copenhagen has gained an entirely new and different exhibition platform for Danish and Nordic design. Design Werck is an informal meeting place where design firms and designers can exhibit their products; meet customers, colleagues and members of the press; get inspiration; organise events; and share knowledge. The idea is to reach out to both private and professional customers, and to create a common gateway to the export market.
Design Werck, which houses 30 exhibitors in a charming listed building on Quintus Bastion at Holmen in Copenhagen, is the brainchild of Birgitte Bjerregaard, who for many years has promoted Scandinavian design aimed at the export market, first through a number of publications and exhibitions, and now from a fixed base in the Danish capital.
‘The new project builds on the experience we have acquired, partly through work with the export-oriented Design from Scandinavia publication, which was started by my mother, publisher Kirsten Bjerregaard, in 1967, and partly through co-operation with the tourist organisation VisitDenmark, with which our activities include establishing a mobile home filled with Danish design. The house was a centre-piece during the London Olympics, and was followed by a tour to a number of German and Swedish cities,’ explains Birgitte Bjerregaard, who – with Design Werck – is realising the dream of visualising the concept of Scandinavian design.
‘We have filled the 500 m2 showroom with lifestyle products in terms of furniture, lighting, carpets, wooden flooring, outdoor furniture and handicrafts, representing 30 permanent exhibitors. The different brands are mixed together, meaning that the showroom is decorated like a home, with the products included in recognisable contexts: living room, kitchen, dining room, playroom, study, patio etc.,’ explains Birgitte Bjerregaard, who has tried to emphasise the Danish term ‘hygge’ (cosiness) in the concept.
Design Werck, which has received financial support from the Danish Arts Foundation (Statens Kunstfond), also houses a wine bar and enables exhibitors to invite customers for a meal. The idea is that the exhibitors should feel a sense of ownership and use the common showroom facilities in a very open and welcoming way. The exhibitors include both small producers and artisans, such as Thors Design,
Anour and Wallume, as well as a series of very well-established brands, such as PP Furniture, Vola, Blå Station, Askman Furniture, Zero, Boform, Andersen Furniture, Hørning Parket and Morsø Jernstøberi.
‘The main idea is to showcase good design and to demonstrate the special aptitude for design
that Scandinavians have in their DNA, and also to give a number of innovative companies an
opportunity to exhibit in Copenhagen on reasonable terms,’ explains Birgitte Bjerregaard. Along with her husband and business partner, radio journalist Ib Schifter Schou, she has new initiatives in the pipeline, some of which they have kept secret until now.
In addition to the permanent design exhibition, Design Werck will host thematic exhibitions, workshops, events and shows.