Browsing the Copenhagen flagship of Danish design brand Hay, I’m certain I know how a bird feels when it flies past a great set of twigs. Suddenly it’s clear that my nest is incomplete—I need the sky-blue chopping block, the cow-splotched vase, the pastel shower curtain. Thankfully, these items have been produced for humans, so there are many, and they’re available beyond the confines of the Danish HQ.
But for those in search of a serious dose of design, a trip to Copenhagen should be in the cards.
Over the city’s annual 3 Days of Design festival last month, co-founders Mette and Rolf Hay invited their friends and collaborators to experience the brand’s distinct hospitality. Everyone was invited to the Lindencrone Mansion, where Hay showcased its new collection over multiple floors and held talks in the spacious courtyard. (The 18th century-building’s Rococo detailing played well with the brand’s own thoughtful whimsy.) Ana Kras spoke about the creation of the new Bonbon Shade, a hand-threaded lantern that she first dreamed up ten years ago, while George Sowden discussed his epic experience in product design, from a bubbly 90s mint-green calculator to today’s sleek multicolored coffeepot.
At a Thursday night dinner celebration in a former library, octopus carpaccio was served in light pink swirl bowls, and the ceiling was hung with a variety of lights, the Bonbon glowing next to George Nelson’s Saucer Bubble and Ball Bubble pendants. Mette ran into a friend on the way into the venue; her Copenhagen is full of connection, so it follows that her recommendations for an ideal city stay would be full of places founded by her creative circle.
Here, the spots to shop, eat, and see art—the Hay way:
Where to Shop
HAY is sold in stores worldwide and online but while you visit Copenhagen, we love to invite guests into our two-story flagship, HAY House, at ?stergade 61 in the heart of the city. We want to give our customers the feeling that they can “explore” our store—just like we do when we go to a fair or a market. The store carries our full assortment: lighting, furniture, the HAY Kitchen Market product, and much more.
Holly Go Lightly
A hands-down, must-visit concept store in Copenhagen! Fashion has always inspired me and I love a trip to Holly Golightly, where the use of color, pattern and decor is truly unique. The store's owner, Barbara Maj Husted Werner, does a fantastic job of curating a selection of both emerging and established brands like Dries Van Noten, Marni, and Crista Seya, to name a few.
Paloma Vintage is one of the best vintage stores in the world for unique and very fun secondhand finds. I'm always impressed with their selection—from chic 70’s-era garments to antique jewelry. You can shop their cute boutique in central Copenhagen or visit their Instagram page.
This colorful exhibition space and store sells vintage and contemporary furniture and other finds in a charming apartment in Christianshavn. Last summer, the top floor of The Apartment became available for guests to rent by the night and I'm very excited for the store's pop up to open on Bredgade 28 (on one of Copenhagen's main streets) this summer.
The Ganni store in Copenhagen is another must-visit. The clothes take their inspiration from the women of Copenhagen—and between the fun use of colors, prints, and shapes, the designs are endlessly delightful. Ganni co-founder, Ditte Reffstrup, is a powerful and talented women who I admire endlessly.
Where to Eat
This super-cozy and chic restaurant is the perfect date-night spot. The Nordic-Japanese fare is eclectic and delectable and the atmosphere is laidback and airy, and features amazing design pieces from Jean Prouvé to Le Corbusier.
Set in the beautiful Charlotteberg gallery, the chef and owner of Apollo, Frederik Bille Brahe, uses some of the freshest and most simple ingredients to produce some of the most delicious dishes. In the summer, I like to sit in the brick-and-ivy courtyard with friends for a post-work meal and glass of wine.
Featuring an impressive and expansive natural wine list and a very fun and relaxed atmosphere, this is one of the few restaurants in Copenhagen open late. Riccardo Maron, the former sommelier of Michelin star restaurant 108, takes his inspiration from his North Eastern Italian roots.
Where to See Art
Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket Museum
In addition to fashion, I seek a lot of design inspiration from the art world. The Glyptoteket is a stunning museum featuring the personal collection of Carl Jacobsen, the son of the founder of the Carlsberg Breweries. I can step into the Glyptoteket's Winter Garden and feel completely transported.
A very cool contemporary art gallery in Copenhagen's up-and-coming Meatpacking district, V1 was the first Scandinavian gallery to exhibit many street art pioneers, like Shepard Fairey. Today, the gallery has an impressive roster of well-known artists and they exhibit art in all forms-- painting, sculpture, multi-media. I'm looking forward to Danny Fox's solo show, Doped, Roped and Horoscoped, opening at V1 on June 7th.