The capital city of Denmark and the culture of community
The Nordic countries are known for isolation but Copenhagen might be the exception to the rule. Placing people first, the city is known worldwide for being liveable. What is it in the “genius loci” of the capital of Denmark that fosters a more laid-back, social vibe?
In this issue we meet with producer Adam Holm, architect Agustina García del Río, material designer Bonnie Hvillum, interior designer Mikey Estrada and photographer Maya Matsuura, all Copenhagen residents. We discuss architecture, creative community, culture and attitude – covering both the people and place of Copenhagen.
Perhaps because of the thriving food scene, perhaps because of the heavy design heritage, or, perhaps because of the accessible networking possibilities, Copenhagen has become a waterhole for young creatives who wish to tap into the innovative spirit and aesthetic sensibility of the place.
‘Copenhagen has become a waterhole for young creatives who wish to tap into the innovative spirit and aesthetic sensibility of the place.’
Rebecca Norberg, 2020
Like David, the founder of ÅBEN who decided to stake out students at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, many come to Copenhagen in order to find like-minded people and pursue a career within design. This was also true for myself, Rebecca Norberg, the editor of this issue of the ÅBEN Journal.
The city is very forgiving and generous, inviting you to take part no matter your current status. As long as you have ambition, show up, make connections and are open to opportunities, Copenhagen will embrace you and put you on the path where you are supposed to be. It is almost as if the city guides you on your personal creative journey. For a capital city, Copenhagen is very small, contributing to a cosy and community-focused atmosphere.
It could be that the best way to paint a picture of the city is to imagine a young and hard-working art director, busy taking part in meetings and making decisions during the day while enjoying life with family and friends in the evenings and at weekends. You will catch this person biking through the city with a roll of drawings under their arm in the morning, having coffee on a worn but loved stool in the sun reading emails on their phone at lunchtime, spontaneously buying flowers at a market stand in the afternoon and hosting a small, informal dinner party in the evening. This is exactly how Copenhagen feels on a good day: familiar, romantic, productive and enjoyable.
Copenhagen is the type of place that not only fosters community but where community and creativity have become more or less synonymous and provide the foundation for the culture that the city represents today. Where does this come from? I believe it is this long lineage of placing people first; a tradition dating back generations of Danish designers and makers, and now part of the city’s DNA.
‘Copenhagen: familiar, romantic, productive and enjoyable.’
Rebecca Norberg, 2020