Scandinavian "road trip"

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scowsa
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Scandinavian "road trip"

Postby scowsa » Sat Jun 16, 2007 4:29 pm

Like many modernists, we had Scandinavia on our “travel listâ€￾ and recently spent 10 days there. For those with the same aspiration, here are some brief notes – general and then specific for Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki -- along with a link to photos.
General reflections:
· As expected, modern design is everywhere, with a range of stores (including vintage) at different price-points. R.O.O.M., with branches in two of our cities, is a nice mid-priced example and it also sold the Habitat line of products.
· What particularly stood out in interior design (compared to the U.S.) is the use of bold, modern wallpaper on a feature wall, plus a lot of bold fabrics.
· Most single-family homes are in the suburbs and amongst these -- from what we saw -- MCM/modern architecture is pretty rare. The striking modern architecture in cities was in new museums, libraries, offices and some apartments.
· Green influenced thinking is very evident. Infrastructures supporting the use of bikes as commuter transport; sea-based windmills; payment for supermarket bags; every toilet having low/high flush; and hotels using key cards in a slot that turn off lights on exiting.
· Lots of good coffee and not a Starbucks in sight!

Copenhagen
· Flight in had great views of the Öresund Bridge (4.9 miles long) from CPH to Malmo, Sweden, which amazingly begins as a tunnel that comes out on an island where the bridge starts. The radical Turning Torso skyscraper in Malmo (Santiago Calatrava) was also clearly visible.
· Newer modern architecture in waterfront apartments and offices, plus the downtown “Black Diamondâ€￾ - a library, concert hall, bookshop, café, exhibition space and restaurant.
· Modern and classic modern (e.g. Poul Henningsen) lighting everywhere, in stores, hotels and visible through apartment windows.
· Arne Jacobsen chairs everywhere, in cafes, restaurants and hotels and the Ant Chair shape used in posters. We visited his Bellavista housing complex (1931-38) north of Copenhagen, which includes a theater, a restaurant and beach cabanas.
· That was on route to the Louisiana Museum of modern art, an MCM style building by Jørgen Bo and Vilhelm Wohlert, in a beautiful setting and with a café full of Jacobsen and Saarinen furniture.

Stockholm
· The most stunning setting of the three cities with its many islands, and with elevations that provided great views.
· The best vintage shopping city, mainly thanks to the Stadsmission (church charity) chain, with us buying ceramics and lighting.
· Our coolest hotel, endorsed by Wallpaper mag (but good value on Swedish terms) in the Sodermalm (“SoFoâ€￾) neighborhood, which has an NY East Village feel.
· In the Café String all of its secondhand chairs and tables can be purchased.
· Museum of Modern Art (Rafael Moneo) on the “museum island,â€￾ is a cool space with Eames tables and Jacobsen chairs in its café, plus funky kids’ chairs.
· The Svenskt Tenn store has an amazing display of the (new to me) Josef Frank textiles from the 40’s.
·
Helsinki
· A different feel from CPH and STK, given its Russian roots. Also more Beaux Arts style buildings.
· A trip to Aalto’s house (1935) in the suburbs. The tour guide specially references Aalto’s desire for it to have a warmer feel that the “newer modern house designâ€￾ at the time (maybe van der Rohe’s 1928 Barcelona Pavilion?)
· Other Aalto sights -- his cube-shaped, glacier-white Finlandia Hall (1962;) the Academic Bookstore, with its cool skylights and “Aalto Café;â€￾ the Artek store -- the showroom for the furniture company he founded in 1936.
· Four Marimekko stores in downtown, including one that had clothing.
· Saarinen designed the railway station in 1906, with the interior ceiling giving a hint of emerging modernism.
· The Temppeliaukio Church (‘The Rock Church’) built into a solid rocky outcrop in 1969 has a surprisingly modernist feel inside, given its beams and windows.

Photos, by city, at

Other links of interest
R.O.O.M.’s online store

Josef Frank textiles

Feel free to ask any questions.

Connie
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Postby Connie » Wed Jun 20, 2007 10:40 am

Thanks for the report and the wonderful photos.
I’m from northern Germany where many people spend their summer vacations in one of the Scandinavian countries. I know Stockholm, not Helsinki, and my DH is from Copenhagen, so I visited the city quite often during the last 20+ years, and I love it. What I like most is the combination of "really old" and "strikingly modern", often side by side. People grow up with good design and are open to modern architecture.

As for the rare MCM/ modern single family homes – you can’t expect to find mid-century modern architecture that looks like the one you have in the U.S. But there are definitely lots of modern Danish homes built in the middle of the last century, like this one:

https://www.home.dk/sag/110L1023

It also shows that not all people in Denmark live among good design. :|

Connie

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Postby Connie » Wed Jun 20, 2007 10:51 am

Just found another one: https://www.home.dk/sag/110L0124 from 1956

and one of Arne Jacobsen's rowhouses: https://www.home.dk/sag/156-5119, also from 1956

and this one, a typical Danish home: https://www.home.dk/sag/153T9682

That's Danish modern!

Had to add this one - love the kitchen: https://www.home.dk/sag/154T7495.

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scowsa
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Postby scowsa » Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:14 pm

Thanks, Connie.

Note that when I wrote "Most single-family homes are in the suburbs and amongst these -- from what we saw -- MCM/modern architecture is pretty rare," I specifically included "from what we saw."

I don't doubt it exists in Scandinavia and, as we know, a visitor to LA or New York could equally spend time in each city and not see a MCM/modern home unless he/she knew what specific neighborhoods to visit.

If you do get to Helsinki one day, don't miss the Aalto House -- it's only a 2O min tram ride from the town center.

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Connie
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Postby Connie » Sat Jun 23, 2007 3:08 am


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scowsa
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Postby scowsa » Tue Jun 26, 2007 5:35 pm

Have been framing a Jacobsen related poster we picked up on this trip, for a career retrospective that took place in the Lousiana (Denmark) museum that we visited.

The poster features a graphical image of a gas station he designed outside Copenhagen and we were sorry we did not get to see this cool building "in the flesh."
Image

More images at

scowsa

Connie
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Postby Connie » Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:58 pm


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scowsa
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Postby scowsa » Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:38 am


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Postby rockland » Fri Jun 29, 2007 3:58 pm

http://www.arne-jacobsen.com/neobuilder ... 70208.html

where have i been?
that is the most incredible thing i have seen in some time...
wow. vertical subway tile...hard edge/round form...


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