Last weekend I found myself in Copenhagen exploring one of Europe’s biggest cities. Home to Carlsberg, a mermaid and many delectable pastries shops. Many people will question the decision to go to a cold Scandinavian country in late October when Belfast’s weather itself is less than desirable, but I have never been one to pick the obvious travel destination. Nor am I a sun worshipper seeking to spend my holiday sitting beside a pool.
As arguably Europe’s current top destination for design Copenhagen had been on my radar for a while, a self-professed coffee aficionado I have been avidly drinking Coffee Collective whenever I can and ogling the beautiful logos on bottles from Mikkeller. Cereal guides and Kinfolk inspired streets aside the main reason I wanted to explore Copenhagen was for its gigantic reputation in the creative world.
Scandinavia and Denmark in particular have been at the forefront of the contemporary design movement for a long time now. From the retail giants of Scandinavian design ‘Ikea’ to the soon arriving Sostrene and Grene in Belfast and the nordic inspired Kaffe O it is clear the influence that they hold.
My first point of call in the city was the Danish Design Museum, a stunning representation of the countries design led thinking, blending periodic architecture with an impressively curated display. The museum is infamous for its large collection of chairs marking the advancements of Danish design. Showcasing the nations desire to improve and modernise, drawing influence from other cultures, designers and artists to develop, improve and recreate objects of design. Walking through the curates it was immediately noticeable the impact of Japanese minimalism and the ethos of ‘wabi-sabi’.
‘Wabi-sabi’ is a Japanese world view focused on accepting transience and imperfection. It recognises and celebrates the beauty that exists in the imperfect and incomplete.The outputs of ‘wabi-sabi’ were clear in the innovative use of space architecturally throughout Copenhagen. However it was another prevailing philosophy originating from the Danes that I wished to learn more about.
You will have no doubt seen mentioned and read in articles on health and wellbeing of a principle called ‘Hygge’. Hygge has no direct translation, but roughly hygge is thought of as a state of contentment. It is way of life, and pursuing it is the pursuit of living well. The attitude of hyyge is intrinsic in Danish culture and can be seen in every aspect of life.
Each café, bar, store and apartment we visited had cultivated their own variation of hygge. As creatives and designers, I believe we can adapt the principles of hygge into our work.
The creative industry is one of change. We are constantly tweaking and refining adverts, tinkering with ideas and helping to move your brand forward. Sometimes this can seem like an overwhelming and scary experience. We understand this and aim to create an atmosphere that makes any piece of creative work fun and relaxing.
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