Ten masterpieces of Danish design

From architectural challenges to modern furniture standard-bearers, The Local's Agustin Millan lists the most beautiful and functional examples of Danish style.

Ten masterpieces of Danish design
Photo: Katja Kejser & Kasper Holst Pedersen/PPMøbler
Danes are famous worldwide for their passion for design. Despite being a small country, Denmark is at the forefront of the design world and has produced some of the most important names in every creative field, from architecture to modern design.
It's hard to pick the best works of the bunch – in fact, we could write a list only with the amazing chair models that were born in Denmark – but we've tried to put together the most innovative and groundbreaking ideas from Danish visionaries in every field of design. Here they are, in no particular order.
1. Skovshoved Petrol Station
Also known as The Mushroom, Arne Jacobsen’s petrol station was built in 1936 as a prototype for Texaco but became eventually a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Located in Charlottelund, north of Copenhagen, the petrol station is still doing its original job. Today, you can fill up your car while praising Jacobsen's design and shiny ceramic tiles.
2. PH Artichoke lamp
Poul Henningsen's everlasting contribution to the design world is in the field of illumination. Henningsen designed his first PH lamp in 1925, and made his most iconic model, the copper PH Artichoke, in 1958. Henningsen once quipped: ”It doesn't cost money to light a room correctly, but it does require culture.” In addition to his lamps, Henningsen also designed the PH Grand Piano, which can be found in museums including the Metropolitan in New York, and Tivoli's Glasssalen. 
3. Sydney Opera House

Photo: Nikki Mannix
Perhaps Australia's most recognizable symbol, this worldwide touristic attraction was created by Danish architect Jørn Utzon. The design was chosen out of 233 proposals in 1957. The building, consisting of shell-shaped arches, is an architectural marvel but Utzon never actually finished the project. He left Australia in 1966 due to a conflict with a newly-elected government that stopped paying him. 
4. Form 2 Headphones
Photo: Bang & Olufsen mediacenter
In 1983, Bang and Olufsen’s Canadian-born designer Steve McGugan created an everlasting headphone model. Form 2 has been on the market for 30 years and is still available for purchase. Since the release of the product in 1985, Form 2 was a huge success and in 1992 was included in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. “I find it surprising that these little headphones have continued to appeal to consumers through all these years, delivering good sound quality with a stylish and classic design; first for the Sony Walkman generation and now for the iPod generation,” McGugan said about his design. McGugan now runs his own design studio in Denmark.
5. Øresund Bridge
The bridge spans the almost eight kilometres between the Copenhagen area and Malmö in Sweden. Both Danish and Swedish authorities worked together on the project, with the Dane Georg KS Rotne as head architect. The architectonic masterpiece includes an artificial island, Peberholm, which accomplishes the function of crossover between the tunnel and the bridge and is also intended to be a flora and fauna ‘experiment’. The bridge is now world famous thanks not only to its design but the gritty Danish–Swedish police drama called simply 'The Bridge' (Broen in Danish, Bron in Swedish). 
6. Stelton vacuum jug

The design is from 1977 and it is one of the best-selling works of Copenhagen-born Erik Magnussen. The vacuum jug, with the unique rocker stopper, became a emblematic work of simple and sleek Danish design. To this day, the Stelton is a 'must' in many Danes' homes.

7. The Round Chair 


Photo: Katja Kejser & Kasper Holst Pedersen/PPMøbler


“A chair is to have no backside. It should be beautiful from all angles,” said designer Hans Wegner, also known as the 'King of Chairs'. Creator of more than 500 chairs and more than 1,000 pieces of furniture, Wegner was a perfectionist designer. In fact, despite the 1949 Round Chair earning the distinction of being called simply 'The Chair', he remained on his quest to find the best definition of a seat. “Imagine if you could just design one good chair in your life”, Wegner said  in 1952, “but you simply cannot.”


8. Cyckelslangen (The Bicycle Snake)
Cykelslangen is the icing on the cake of Copenhagen's bicycle infrastructure and a crowning achievement for what is regarded as the best cycling city in the world. The bridge was officially opened in 2014, and it provides an amazing ride through Copenhagen Harbour, linking Vesterbro and Islands Brygge. It takes two-wheeled commuting to a whole different level and helps make the Danish capital the envy of other cities.
9. LifeStraw
The Vestergaard company's LifeStraw is a game-changer. Under the management of Danish CEO Mikkel Vestergaard, LifeStraw has helped to reduce diseases like cholera, Typhoid fever, Guinea worm and dysentery. Its apparent simplicity has improved the quality of life of countless people. The Life Straw can filter contaminated water into safe drinking water. Since its launch in 2005, it has received several awards and Forbes magazine called it “one of the ten things that will change the way we live”.
10. Egg chair
Another masterpiece from Arne Jacobsen, the Egg Chair is a treasured piece of furniture in Danish households. Jacobsen designed The Egg for the lobby of Royal Hotel, which he also designed. The Egg was created along with the also well-known The Swan as the result of Jacobsen’s idea of integrating architecture and design. The Egg has been included in numerous films, from The Beatles' movie 'Help!' to 'Men in Black'. If you are a design enthusiast and can afford the prohibitive price of the basic model, you can kick your feet up and relax on a true piece of Danish culture.

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Danish architect’s Sydney Opera House drama to be film

The story of the Sydney Opera House and its Danish architect Jørn Utzon is to be made into a movie, with the producer behind 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' on board.

Danish architect's Sydney Opera House drama to be film
The story of Utzon's work on the Sydney Opera House "has all it takes for the big screen". Photo: Nickliv/Flickr
The Danish/Swedish/Australian production will tell the story of how Utzon upset the conservative Australian architectural establishment by winning an international competition to design the building and his battles to push through his radical ideas.
“Utzon was a great Danish architect and the story of how he created the Sydney Opera is both fascinating and scary. This story has to be told,” said Danish executive producer Ole Søndberg in a statement late Monday.
Søndberg is best known for producing 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' and the 'Millennium-trilogy' based on Stieg Larsson's novels. He was also behind the popular 'Wallander' television series.
For the Utzon project he will team up with Swedish-Australian producer Jan Marnell, who has worked on a number of television mini-series and features over the last 30 years.  
Utzon arrived in Sydney as a celebrity in 1957 but his ambitious design, with the building's distinctive white sails drawn from his childhood in the Aalborg shipyards, was hit by domestic politics, petty jealousies and budget constraints.
The controversies that dogged him and the project for years saw him quit in 1966.
He never returned to see his revolutionary concept as a finished building, which was opened in 1973 by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, and he died in 2008.
A year before his death, the harbourside building was added to the World Heritage List, with the committee saying the structure “stands by itself as one of the indisputable masterpieces of human creativity, not only in the 20th century but in the history of humankind”.
“We have a world wonder. We have its creator who wasn't allowed to see his dream fulfilled,” said producer Marnell.
“We have creativity versus bureaucracy and political maneuvering ranging from friend to foe. We have an outstanding architect with streaks of megalomania and genius, and his vengeful opponents who plot to get him out of the country,”
“It has all it takes for the big screen.”
No details were given on when 'Utzon: The Man Behind the Opera House' would begin filming.