ISBN: 9781785514579

Publication date: 11 Mar 2024

Author: Sommer, Anne-Louise

Founded in 1890, The Designmuseum Danmark is the country’s national museum for design and handicrafts. This engaging guide showcases Danish design, as well as artefacts from around the world, housed in a former 18th-century baroque hospital.

Danish design is generally associated with modernity, simplicity and functionality, particularly from the mid- 20th century onwards. However, Anne-Louise Sommer's new guide to Designmuseum Danmark reveals a richer history, tracing the Museum's origins in the late 19th century as educational collections of beautiful objects and good craftsmanship. The museum has an extensive collection from the West, with a focus on Danish handicrafts and design. In addition, there are significant collections from East Asia, especially China and Japan. Sommer's selection includes works by Hiroshige, Lalique, Matisse, Bindesbøll, Henningsen, Klint, Riis-Carstensen and Juhl.

The museum has always aimed to disseminate the concept of good design and how design and craftsmanship can make the world better place to live in. Designmuseum Danmark moved in its current site, the baroque former Frederiks Hospital, in the 1920s. As Sommer observes ‘It makes perfect sense that design, which in Denmark is often closely bound up with a democratic and inclusive way of thinking, should be housed in a building that was once the cradle of the welfare state.’

With around 300,000 visitors a year, the museum places a high priority on learning at all levels, with increasing interest, nationally and internationally, as it continues to innovate and contribute to the broad development of society. The aim of the museum was to disseminate the concept of good design in a society that was being changed by industrialisation.