In Denmark, we’ve always understood how design and culture intertwine. For many years, we have embraced the practice of ‘total design’, in which every element of a scheme is given equal consideration, from architectural form and landscaping, down to the smallest detail such as a door handle or tap. It is an approach that continues to influence design not only in Denmark, but all over the world.
Photography by Iwan Baan
Superkilen Park by BIG
We know that by bringing ‘total design’ into the public realm, we benefit as individuals and as a society. It’s part of the Danish way of life to value the principals of form and function everywhere, not just in our homes and important institutions, but in all sorts of places where people meet, stop and experience something together.
From the early 20th century, Danish designers and architects have taken a holistic approach to the creation of public spaces, from town halls to museums and galleries. The idea that culture is something that is open and valuable to everyone, regardless of background or academic prowess, is a perfect fit with the Danish democratic spirit. Collaboration and inclusivity were never add-ons and were intrinsically linked to the way that iconic designers like Arne Jacobsen approached their work.
Photography by Jens Markus Lindhe
Photography by Adam Mørk
Danish Maritime Museum by BIG
ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum by Schmidt Hammer Lassen
For example, when designing the National Bank in Copenhagen, with its pure lines and simple forms, Arne Jacobsen was thinking about how every design detail could create a design unity, but also, improve the lives of people. The VOLA 111 tap and the Bankers Wall Clock were designed especially for this project. Jacobsen proved how something beautiful, yet still functional, could play a role in enhancing both society as a whole and the experience of the individual.
Today, throughout Denmark, VOLA products can be found in heritage public buildings and cultural spaces, signalling this unique and unwavering commitment to quality for all. The products are valued for their aesthetic but also for their longevity. They represent an ingrained belief in sustainability that is at the heart of Danish design. Generation after generation will come to these places for inspiration or just for pleasure and VOLA is a tangible part of that experience.
Photography by Christian Møller Andersen
Photography by Niels Fabaek
VOLA Copenhagen Showroom
Louis Poulsen HQ
Design is so deeply embedded into Danish life, into our culture, that it becomes seamless. It is impossible to imagine designs like the Egg Chair, the PH lamp or the VOLA tap, without that thread of Danish design running through them, reaching out to everyone far beyond the parameters of the physical.
As we move through the 21st century, the time is ripe for a new Danish Golden Age, in which ‘total design’ forms the basis of every cultural product or space. Young designers and architects are already raiding the archives of Danish design, attracted by the timeless quality and longevity of these originals. It’s a sign of the global times that these traditional values are again coming to the forefront, when we’re all seeking stronger human connections, as individuals and as a society.