Danish Design for Modern Living

  • Blue Fluted Mega Plate Royal Copenhagen

    There’s no doubt the Danish are doing a lot of things right when it comes to contemporary design. To understand more about its nuances and some of its most iconic products, we spoke to Royal Copenhagen Creative Director Niels Bastrup.

    While Denmark may be on the other side of the world, when it comes to a design sensibility we find ourselves feeling a definite kinship despite the distance. From local design leaders such as Norm Architects and Cecilie Manz to the myriad of up-and-comers regularly gracing our pages here at est, it’s clear the Danish have a masterful take on contemporary design.

    With this in mind, we at est say it’s high time to move past a loose grouping of Danish design into what might have once been referred to as ‘Scandinavian style’. Instead, we celebrate the global relevance of modern Danish design, particularly here in Australia.

    Produced in partnership with Royal Copenhagen

    When considering the evolution of a style it’s crucial to look to the local design leaders as driving context. An icon of classic Danish design, Royal Copenhagen has endured as one of the country’s most beloved brands for over 240 years. Uniting its significant heritage with a demonstrated passion for local craftsmanship, Royal Copenhagen continues to put its best foot forward as a leader in dining and lifestyle design, led by Creative Director Niels Bastrup.

    “Danish design is often different in its simplicity” Bastrup points out when describing the Danish difference. “Its balance [is] between being democratic = pragmatic and sensible and of great shape and still saturated with a grand and exclusive zest for life”. The global renown of Danish designers has helped further define their local style, he adds. “Many great Danish designer names have paved the way for beautiful contemporary products of a high aesthetic look, and thereby won international acclaim and created the concept of ‘Danish Design’” he says.

    As a titan of local design, Royal Copenhagen have evolved alongside the industry in Denmark, while remaining committed to nurturing Danish craftsmanship and emerging design talent. “Royal Copenhagen is a design-driven company, built on craftsmanship and design traditions” says Bastrup. “Our uniqueness and intellectual properties lie in our design.” For Bastrup and his team, design will continue to be their competitive advantage moving forward, with the high standard of craftsmanship the company are known for continuing to characterise their collections. This respect for the materials and craftsmanship is a consistent marker within the Danish design leaders, and no doubt has played an enormous role in the global appetite for their design.

    Take porcelain for example; while it may once have conjured up ideas of stuffy, chintzy designs, Royal Copenhagen demonstrates its high quality, handcrafted aesthetic, with a range of new collections that Bastrup describes as desirable symbols for an “up-to-date and quality-conscious lifestyle”. While the designs may look very different from their predecessors 245 years ago, the collections continue to be made and painted entirely by hand. 

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    A definitively Danish dining set up, featuring Royal Copenhagen pieces
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    Blue Fluted Mega Rectangular Tray Royal Copenhagen

    Uniting the best of local craftsmanship with innovative design continues to be Royal Copenhagen’s (and many other local brands) calling card. Take the Blue Fluted Mega collection; one of the best-selling and most successful collections from the brand in recent years. Created on the basis of the shape from the original Blue Fluted service, the contemporary collection has struck a chord worldwide for the way it unites the “nostalgic and romantic” according to Bastrup. “This decoration is rooted in people’s minds and it is very Danish” he explains. “Blue Fluted Mega adds, through a slight transformation, more modernity and design to the same overall expression”.

    The popularity of Blue Fluted Mega proves the desire for Danish design isn’t all about the minimal, starkly modern design aesthetic sometimes associated with the local scene – there’s certainly a passion for the warmer, character-filled pieces that reference the historic charm of the country. 

    As Bastrup describes it, the philosophy of “caring for the past in a way that leads into the future” perhaps best captures why Danish design stands out. There is a clear regard for the craftsmanship and care that goes into every piece, while also referencing a curiosity and innovative spirit for the future. “You could say ‘everything is sacred’, but then again, as long as the founding spirit is with you, nothing is sacred when you want to take yourself and what you care for from one century to another” Bastrup says. Pairing the best of heritage craftsmanship with future-focussed design may already set the Danes apart from their global peers, but we have a funny feeling it will only prove their distinct design spirit well into the future.

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    Blue Fluted Mega Plate Royal Copenhagen
    Blue Fluted Mega by Royal Copenhagen
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    Find out more about the Blue Fluted Mega collection or discover more from Royal Copenhagen on their website, or view the est favourites in our product library.

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