Exploring the world in search of beautiful items may be a dream job for most, but it’s real life for members of the MoMA Design Store team. The team’s collective goal is to find items that are functional, inventive, modern and beautiful. In every city they visit they explore cultural institutions, concept stores, design studios, public spaces and more in search of great products and inspiration.
In Copenhagen, one might just cross the path of a MoMA Design Store pick at its origin shop or design center—from HAY to RAINS. These are frequent destinations for the team, but far from the final stop. Within our newest guide to the Danish capital you’ll find places to stay, to eat and more, all favorites of the MoMA Design Store team linked by strong design. You’ll also find a few new and useful products from Copenhagen that can be used on your travels.
Across the street from the Tivoli Gardens, the Nobis Hotel is the perfect place to stay for any design enthusiast. The 75-room hotel embraces minimal decor and sleek lines, and the use of various materials and textures (from oak to leather, marble and metal) creates a rich and warm feeling. The building dates to 1903 (when it was the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music); the hotel was reworked by Swedish architectural firm Wingårdhs who made the most of its period features while adding plenty of contemporary touches. Beyond the guest rooms there’s a bar serving up Scandinavian-influenced cocktails, Niels, an elegant yet laid-back restaurant, a gym, sauna, hammam and more.
The team cycles around cities whenever possible both as a means of convenience as well as inspiration. Copenhagen is a great cycling city, and its Bycyklen system is great for locals and tourists alike. Staying safe while riding is key, and MoMA Design Store’s Smart Bike Helmet is one way to up your ride. If you’re particularly prone to getting lost consider the SmartHalo, a multi-function device that provides light, connects to your mobile phone, and helps track your ride. One of the many destinations within riding distance of the Nobis is the Skovshoved Petrol Station—about 40 minutes away.
Skovshoved Petrol Station
Even without going inside, the Skovshoved Petrol Station (Skovshoved Tankstation in Danish) on the outskirts of Copenhagen will strike a chord with design and architecture enthusiasts. Designed by Arne Jacobsen (who is perhaps best-known for his furniture designs), it’s a glorious example of ’30s style and functionalism and was nicknamed “Paddehatten,” meaning “the Mushroom.” Now Class A-listed, the structure was restored 16 years ago and is still operational, but an extra surprise is inside: an organic ice cream store. For those who enjoy a little extra design with their ’30s architecture there’s a classic car meet-up every Saturday from 10AM.
One of CH’s best-loved brands, HAY has also been a longtime MoMA Design Store favorite and frequent collaborator (for instance, the wildly successful HAY Mini Market at the SoHo store), and is an essential stop when visiting Copenhagen. Founded in 2002, the brand has continued to create products that are straightforward and functional with a decidedly colorful and fun aesthetic that makes even the most pragmatic of items worthy of display. Whether exploring for small souvenir-sized gifts or looking for ideas for your home a few laps around HAY House will inspire any design lover.
Make sure to take the George Sowden Water Bottle on your Copenhagen adventures.
Since 2001 the discerning team at Holly Golightly has hand-picked beautiful products for their shop. From glamorous jewelry by the likes of Lebanese designer Noor Fares to conceptual apparel by Rick Owens, sublime vintage finds and items from their in-house label, each piece in the shop was carefully selected. Owned by Barbara Maj Husted Werner, the store is located in the middle of the city—just a 10 minute walk from HAY—and is spilling with covetable creations that a lucky few will be able to buy but any visitor to the store can admire.
Afterwards, take the six-minute stroll to the glorious Kongens Have and Botanical Gardens, which date back to the early 17th century when it was created as King Christian IV’s castle and private gardens. Be sure to carry your stuff in this waterproof RAINS backpack when wandering the gardens, in case of a downpour.
Located in Kødbyen (the meatpacking area of Copenhagen), Bakken is part-bar and part-club—depending on the night and your mood. (Japanese singer/songwriter/musician Miho Hatori aka Noodle from Gorillaz will be performing later this month.) With large share-tables out front and booths inside, it’s the place to make friends—not have a quiet drink. The dive-y venue is great for a laid-back hangout and a beer, but if you find yourself seeking out snacks, we suggest walking over to KUL. With plenty of seafood on the menu, KUL (Danish for charcoal) offers Korean- and Japanese-inspired dishes mostly prepared over an open flame.
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
World-renowned and for good reason, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is located 22 miles from Copenhagen, but is unmissable when visiting the city. Easy to get to by train, the museum is itself a stunning piece of late-’50s modernist architecture—designed by Vilhelm Wohlert and Jørgen Bo—that plays within its natural surroundings beautifully. With a permanent collection including some 4,000 pieces from artists all over the world, the museum is also home to a sculpture park which includes pieces by Joan Miro, Nobuo Sekine, Alexander Calder, Richard Serra and others. Wandering the gardens, visitors can bask in the stunning contrasts between these structures by iconic artists and the lush, picturesque scenery—quite a spectacular sight.
It’s easy to see how MoMA Design Store team is inspired by Copenhagen and the great products that are designed there. Visit the MoMA Design Store to see what inspires you.