At this year’s 3daysofdesign festival in Copenhagen, Design Milk had a lot of ground to cover. The city was buzzing with excitement, offering design lovers a smorgasbord of exhibitions, installations, and impeccably styled showrooms to celebrate – and discover – Danish design both old and new. However, there was one location that we kept going back to throughout the three-day festival: the Fritz Hansen Pavilion. The Danish brand tapped on architecture studio Henning Larsen to design and build the Nordic-inspired structure to commemorate Fritz Hansen’s 150th anniversary. After debuting its design, it had another reason to celebrate, its award of Best Exhibition by 3daysofdesign.
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The Fritz Hansen Pavilion sits in the middle of the Grønnegården, the gardens at Designmuseum Denmark where many festival goers were already excited to visit after the museum’s two-year closure for major renovations. The building is quintessentially Danish, highlighted in its simple but refined architecture and use of natural elements. The transparent facade, made with laminated timber and translucent polycarbonate, allows natural light to stream through while offering glimpses of the lush garden just beyond.
“Celebrating the 150 years anniversary of Fritz Hansen, we wanted to create a spatial experience that makes a sustainable home for the furniture it exhibits. A facilitator for the design of Fritz Hansen. Built in solid wood, the Pavilion is inspired by the garden it is situated in, creating a hybrid space with fluid transitions between inside and out,” says Eva Ravnborg, Market Director Denmark, Partner at Henning Larsen.
Inside the pavilion is a showcase of Fritz Hansen’s most iconic designs, both past and present. Rarely seen designs from its archives are displayed up on a wooden case while sneak peeks of future collections are placed in situ amongst various vignettes To further commemorate the 150th anniversary, Fritz Hansen is launching an anniversary collection which consists of the Egg, the Swan, Series 7, Lily, and PK61 – all rereleased in exclusive new materials like Norwegian marble, Vanir wool (conceived by Raf Simons for Kvadrat), and a chestnut leather.
Additionally, two newly released pieces, the PK0 A chair and PK60 coffee table by designer Poul Kjærholm, make their grand debut. They will be part of the products released later this fall.
When we asked Marie-Louise Høstbo, Head of Design at Fritz Hansen, how the company creates new designs and collections while staying true to the DNA of the brand, she says, “At Fritz Hansen, we have 150 years of history and data to look back upon and every time we start a new project it’s in respect to history. We reflect on the pieces in the archives. We use the huge amount knowledge in the company; we have a product development team where people have been working at Fritz Hansen for more than 20 years. Having this core of knowledge that we can use for different purposes is really wonderful when we start new projects that hopefully will be timeless and stand out for a long period of time.”
Marie-Louise also holds the title of the first Head of Design at Fritz Hansen, which is a remarkable achievement, one that she credits to the collaborative nature of how she likes to work. “I like to share. Sharing my knowledge and also being generous to take in other people’s knowledge and this dialogue and collaboration is of key importance to me. I’m trying to open this collaborative way of working and creating a foundation from which we can share. I love learning new skills, not necessarily doing them myself but learning from others who are skilled in this sector of design.”
The Fritz Hansen Pavilion still stands, even after the conclusion of 3daysofdesign, to serve as a space for summer schools, exhibitions, and workshops until mid-Autumn. Afterwards, to highlight the importance of circular design thinking, the structure will be dissembled and its materials reused for the future reconstruction of the Fritz Hansen HQ.
Photos by Laura Stamer for Fritz Hansen.