Denmark has a long tradition for close links among design, societal development and culture. A consistent emphasis on quality design and form-giving has been an essential feature in the establishment of the Danish welfare society over the 20th century. Even in times marked by economic recession and social challenges, as in the years between the two world wars, design has been a high-priority value-creating factor, as evident in the innovative residential and school architecture of that era.
There was an awareness of the value of living in quality architecture, surrounded by quality utilitarian objects and furniture, and the understanding that design was a means to realizing the “dream of the good life” that was on the political agenda. Design has continually served as the material parallel to the welfare state. And design has been the persistent approach in matters large and small.
In a sense, design awareness has spread across generations and social backgrounds. Quality design objects are found in virtually all homes: from PH lamps to Margrethe bowls. And all Danes have gone to schools furnished with quality design or frequented public institutions featuring design classics of an often-iconic character. In the public space, the urban space equipment is generally of a consistently high quality, as are the signage, the station buildings, the metro and Copenhagen Airport. Design on every scale.
Museum Director at Design Museum Denmark since 2011 Adjunct Professor at University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Studies for Design Culture Board member of Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK), Lifestyle and DesignCluster and Danehøyskole in Norway, Oslo. Author to a number of articles and books about design and architecture, e.g. “Kaare Klint” (Aschehoug 2007), “The Danish Architcture” (Gyldendal, 2009) and “Watercolors by Finn Juhl” (Strandberg Publishing 2015/Hatje Cantz 2016).