48 Hours in Copenhagen – Elle Canada


by : EVE THOMAS Nov 23rd, 2022
Soho House Copenhagen
Scandinavian style doesn’t compromise. Whether designing a dress or plating a meal, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right, which means: beautiful, intentional and timeless (though perhaps not always cheap – but then, most Scandinavians are happy to get what they pay for). And it’s all proudly on display across Copenhagen.
We hit the Danish capital for the global launch of Swedish luxury electric vehicle brand Polestar’s first SUV – itself an ode to marrying form and function. Then we navigated the city’s famously orderly streets, with their strictly designated lanes for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, to seek out the best in Scandinavian and Danish design.
A post shared by Villa Copenhagen (@villacph)

Opened in 2020 across the street from Central Station, in a five-storey, century-old Neo Baroque building that used to house the Danish post office, Villa Copenhagen is a hub for tourists and locals alike. This, thanks in large part to its buzzing light-filled courtyard designed by Shamballa Jewels, elegant T37 bar and lauded Kontrast restaurant. Rooms are serene and hygge-friendly, all muted colours, linen bedheads and furniture from Danish design stars like Ole Wanscher and Nanna Ditzel (plus Skog toiletries that will leave you smelling like a Swedish forest, in the very best way). The ridiculously Instagrammable lap pool is bookable by the hour and heated from the hotel’s energy runoff, plus you’ll find – what else? – a private sauna at one end. Even the staff uniforms are covetable, co-created with eco-conscious Copenhagen design studio Sur Le Chemin.
A post shared by Restaurant Meille (@restaurant_meille)

The effects of Noma’s Nordic wave continue to be felt far and wide throughout the country, in both cooking style and Michelin stars. Find a quintessentially Danish dining experience at jewel-sized spot Meille, where fermented vegetables, fresh seafood and local meats come together atop handcrafted ceramics in minimalist dishes that are experimental without being pretentious (think preserved wild mushrooms, cauliflower foam or powdered clouberries). On a budget? Try the three-course lunch menu. Splashing out? Add the caviar option and a five-course wine pairing.
A post shared by Soho House Copenhagen (@sohohousecopenhagen)

Soho House members (and their lucky guests) can check out one of the club’s newest global properties, and its first in Scandinavia. Occupying a former customs’ house and ferry terminal, Soho House Copenhagen boasts a spacious waterfront terrace as well as an outpost of Venetian restaurant Cecconi’s, which serves Northern Italian inspired dishes using Scandi ingredients, like wood-fired langoustines and northern shrimps with aioli. They also do a fantastic Dark and Stormy with a twist – Aquavit! Interiors are a playful nod to the world-famous facades of nearby Nyhavn, and the art collection showcases works from 38 artists born, based or trained in Denmark. In typical Soho House style, artworks err on the side of provocative, with standout pieces from Elmgreen & Dragset and Fryd Frydendahl.
A post shared by Designmuseum Danmark (@designmuseumdanmark)

You’ll know when you’re close to this must-see museum. As you approach the grand building, once an 18th-century rococo-style hospital, the shop windows on either side of the street start to fill with incredible antiques and modern furniture, no doubt catering to visitors enamoured with Scandinavian decor. The museum itself, renovated over two years and reopened in 2022, is a crash course in both Danish creators throughout the ages as well as those currently experimenting with industrial design, fashion and furniture making – especially through the lens of social justice and environmental issues. (A recent exhibit showed biodegradable potato starch urns and dishes made from Noma’s discarded seashells.) Once you’ve had your fill of Denmark’s design royalty – Arne Jacobsen, Verner Panton, Hans J. Wegner – be sure to have a coffee and kanelsnegle (cinnamon bun) in the courtyard garden, then check out the predictably stylish gift shop for graphic totes and Thora Finnsdóttir ceramics.
A post shared by ILLUM (@illumcph)

Whatever’s in style in the rest of the world, Danes seem to maintain a silently agreed upon uniform: natural fabrics, functional workwear, all in endlessly interchangeable earth tones. Stroll along Strøget, the city’s dedicated pedestrian shopping street (and one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe), to find both devastatingly stylish Danes as well as the brands that clothe them, from international luxury labels to Scandinavian chains to niche boutiques. Stop into Illum department store for a food court with aerial views of the city and a Muji shop stocked with Danish goodies like tinned fish and local gin. There’s also a mix of international and Danish brands in every department, including Marlene Juhl Jørgensen jewelry, Hanne Bloch swimwear and Tromborg cosmetics. (Also good to know: Non-EU residents can get their tax-free refunds right at the store.)
A post shared by Curated Copenhagen (@curated_copenhagen)

Sisters Mille and Rikke Israelsen run this online shop full of rare posters and prints, with 100-plus works also on display IRL at the picture frame workshop Framing People in the Nørrebro neighbourhood. Vintage posters tend to be for museum exhibitions e.g. Annie Albers at Josef Albers, Shichiro Enjoji at Galeria Trece, which makes for a dizzying international mix of fonts, languages and artistic styles. Prints are eminently collectible, with signed and numbered pieces by Danish artists Charlotte Hanmann and Hans Berg spotted recently. Original drawings and paintings can also be bought (and framed), though there’s no guarantee of what will be in stock when you visit – but isn’t that half the fun?
Polestar 3 B (16) Snow, Performance Pack
When you step inside a sleek Polestar 3, the Swedish luxury EV company’s first SUV, you’re encouraged to read the fine print. Literally. Sustainability declarations are written onto the seats (noting the C02 footprint of materials used), and it’s only one small part of a larger mission to prioritize transparency and the environment without sacrificing style.
This includes replacing PVC with “bio-attributed” MicroTech upholstery (made using coniferous tree pulping byproducts), as well as using  traceable wool and leather sourced from Bridge of Weir, a Scottish company with strict animal welfare standards and a commitment to reduced carbon emissions. Polestar has also enlisted blockchain technology to trace materials in the supply chain, like mica and nickel, registering carbon emissions from the mines to the production line. Their ultimate goal: the Polestar 0 Project, a completely climate-neutral production car.
Other typically Scandinavian touches are all worked seamlessly into the design: air purifiers, next-level speakers, sensors that warn when a bag or bassinet has been left in the back seat. As CEO Thomas Ingenlath noted at the global launch, SUVs currently have a bit of a bad rep (especially in parts of Europe) when it comes to fuel usage and even aggressive design: “We wanted to keep the good, get rid of the bad, and reinvent the SUV for the electric age.”
The Polestar 3 is currently available for order and first deliveries are set for fall 2023.
Read more:
48 Hours in Madrid
Tunisia Is the Land of Sea and Sand
Far and Away: Visit Newfoundland’s Fogo Island Inn
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