Last week was Core Course Week. This meant that for the entire week, I was with my core course doing different activities.
To start it off, my studio went to our furniture workshop in Amager (pronounced Ama). Here we spent all day learning how to use the machines from table saws to biscuit/domino cutters. At the end of the day, each group of six people constructed one chair.
The next day we got to tour PP Møbler. A professional furniture workshop that specializes in constructing Hans Wegner furniture. Wegner designed over 500 chairs in his life as he searched for “one good chair” and PP has the drawings for each one. One of the coolest machines PP Møbler has is a steam bending and compressing machine. After workers get a wooden dowel up to about 50% water content, they compress it to allow for easier bending of the wood. A two meter dowel will be compressed to 1.5 meters and then rested to 1.9 meters. This process allows PP Møbler to make seat backs and arm that are one solid piece.
We continued our tours with visits to two churches. First we stopped at Bagsværd Church, an unassuming building with concrete supports on the outside. We all were pleasantly surprised upon entering the church proper as the roof was completely curved and allowed light to penetrate the space in specific areas. From there we went to a massive church, Grundtvig’s Church designed by the Klint family as Peter Vilhelm Jensen-Klint died during construction so his son Kaare Klint finished the church. Part of the wondrous nature of the church is the brickwork as it was polished smooth after being laid. All of the chairs in the Church were designed by Kaare Klint himself.
On Wednesday we traveled to the Danish Royal Academy of Architecture and Design where we toured their furniture gallery. In the one room there were many famous chairs from the ‘Zigzag Chair,’ where Garrit Rietveld challenged himself to create a chair that mimicked one solid piece of wood; to the ‘Eames Chair,’ a laminated plywood chair that is so smooth it does not need any fabric on the seat; to Hans Vegner’s ‘Peter’s Chair,’ a chair meant for a child that is flattenable.
On Thursday we left for a three day tour of western Danmark. On our way west, we stopped by the Viking Museum Ladby, a place were a viking ships burial was uncovered. What is left is only an imprint of the ship, but one can see the skeletal remains of the cows and horses sacrificed to honor, what historians believe to be, a viking king. They don’t know for certain as the tomb was robbed hundred of years ago leaving only the imprint and bones behind. About four years ago, they reconstructed the ship and have it stored in the fjord nearby
From the museum we traveled to the Faaborg Museum and looked at the architecture and furniture designs inside. The museum itself is on a plot only about 6 meters wide, so it is a very long building, but not at all wide. The chair inside was designed specifically for this space as it has a ‘transparent’ woven seat as to not detract from the pattern floor it sits on. However, nowadays they place a seat cushion to protect the weave from the people who won’t seat gently on the chair.
After Faaborg we toured Farstrup Furniture, a workshop specializing in senior care furniture. It was an intriguing contrast from PP Møbler, as Farstrup was trying to automate as many processes as possible to help produce the most amount of furniture. PP had almost 30 people working by hand to create the furniture, whereas Farstrup had 30 people handling many more machines to get it complete. However, both furniture places made exquisite pieces that served their function the best.
DIS makes these tours great to go on as two meals are provided each day. Thursday night we ate at Nicolai Cafe in Kolding where it was a scrumptious buffet. The table that I was sitting at chose to all order the same glass of wine (as DIS will pay for one drink during the tour), so to save a bit of money we got one bottle of wine to share with everyone. We all were expecting a two grape blend that was one of the cheaper bottles on the menu, but were pleasantly surprised that they gave us the most expensive bottle. It was amazing.
To get the most out of the tour, we spent Friday exploring the sights around Kolding. We started with Koldinghus, an old castle that burned down in the 19th Century, but was only restored about 20 years ago. The restoration team worked hard to preserve the building in its ruin state and provide a covering that allowed the building to become a museum. Because of the that process, non of the floors touch the old walls and the new facade is only anchored to the existing brick facade.
From there we headed to the Kolding Design School were we got to tour all of the studios. The school focuses on three parts of design: play, sustainability, and society. Because of the play focus, in the main lobby there is a slide from the first floor to the ground floor!
From the Design School, we went to the Trapholt Museum to understand their furniture collection as well as experience the other exhibits. While in the furniture collection, we found a piece that was designed by our professor, whom, once we told him, only nonchalantly said “yes, I was wondering when one of you would see that.” He then took the time to explain the mechanisms in the chair. The back is felt, so it can be collapsed when pushed in on, but while sitting back in the chair, the felt becomes rigid. Fascinating!
Trapholt held one of the coolest exhibits that I have seen, a senses exhibit: where each piece tuned into one sense and played with another. To try one out right now pick which “hello” you like before scrolling to see the descriptions.
Now find the description that matches your chosen “hello”.
We left Kolding for Aarhus early Saturday to get to the Aros Museum when it opened. The famous exhibit here is the “Your Rainbow Panorama,” it is a circular walkway, above the building, that has colored glass around so one can get pictures like this.
From here, we got to try Smørrebrød, Danish opened faced sandwiches. At first it looked like a heap of fish and prawns, but underneath it all was a small piece of bread. When I talked with my host family about this conundrum, they told me smørrebrød can come as a bit of meat on a piece of bread or in this case a bunch of meat on a smaller piece of bread. One of the coolest things was they put caviar on top!
From here we went to Den Gamle By – the old town museum of Aarhus. The museum is laid out as a collection of old buildings from different times in Aarhus starting in the 1700s and continuing to the early 2010s. One can enter many of the houses to see what each period might have looked like. While there I saw a sign stated that they are currently building a new street that will make it look like 2014 in Aarhus! Albeit the weirdest thing was seeing resident geese walking down the street. Much like the Edinburg Zoo’s Penguin Parade, this geese parade allows them to walk right past people and back to their nightly enclosure.
More pictures here.