There’s much more to Danish design than plastic bricks. For evidence, just pop into the Made in Denmark exhibition at the Vienna Furniture Museum.
- Follows Danish design through the 20th century, with a focus on furniture, tableware, silver, toys, and jewellery
- Includes iconic designs from the likes of Arne Jacobsen and Kaare Klint
- Lego workshop on Sundays
- Runs Sept 25, 2019 – Jan 12, 2020
- Just need a normal museum entrance ticket or, for example, a Vienna Pass
- See also: Vienna Furniture Museum visitor & tickets info
Danish design from 1900
You know a concept has worth when it enters the general vocabulary. And so it is with “Danish design”, that particular functional style developed in Denmark around the middle of the last century.
Seen most prominently in furniture and architecture, the approach gave the world such wonders as Arne Jacobsen’s egg chair and Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House.
The exhibition at the Vienna Furniture Museum, in cooperation with the Grassi Museum of Applied Arts in Leipzig, does not, unfortunately, include a full-scale reconstruction of that iconic Australian landmark. But it does feature around 220 items (including 65 pieces of furniture) that trace the evolution of Danish design through the 20th century, with emphasis on the 1950s and 1960s.
Those decades, in particular, produced such joys as Poul Henningsen’s artichoke lamp, first designed for a Copenhagen restaurant in 1958 and still made by Louis Poulsen.
Or there’s the Ant chair by Arne Jacobsen (that man, again), first conceived for use in a Danish canteen in the early 1950s, and still available from Fritz Hansen.
The exhibition has both on display.
Of course, as Newton famously said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. Which is why curators, Sabine Epple, Marlene Ott-Wodni and Markus Laumann, also address those movements that predate that mid-century explosion of talent.
So, for example, you see furniture arrangements from Art Nouveau-era designers, Thorvald Bindesbøll (1846-1908) and Johan Rohde (1856-1935), or the famous 1933 Safari chair by Kaare Klint, whose work saw him recognised as the father of modern Danish (furniture) design.
Naturally, Danish design did not stop developing at the end of the 1960s, so the exhibition goes on to explore more recent iterations, such as the integration of modern design approaches with traditional Danish pragmatism and preferences for natural materials.
And no such exhibition can be complete without a mention of those plastic bricks. If your fingers are already twitching, then turn up on Sundays between 2pm and 5pm for the Lego workshop.
Dates and tickets
Made in Denmark runs from Wednesday, September 25th, 2019, to Sunday, January 12th, 2020.
You only need a normal entrance ticket to access the exhibition (or use a sightseeing pass).
How to get to the museum
The Vienna Furniture Museum sits close to the U3 subway line that runs under Mariahilfer Straße. Follow the directions at the end of the main museum page.
Address: Andreasgasse 7, 1070 Vienna