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The Danish Chair. Photo: Pernille Klemp.

The Danish Chair. Photo: Pernille Klemp.


Designmuseum Danmark

Designmuseum Danmark is one of Scandinavia’s central exhibition forums for Danish and international industrial design, decorative and applied arts. The museum’s collections, library and archives constitute a central resource centre for the study of design and its history in Denmark. The museum brings together and documents the contemporary developments within industrial design, decorative and applied arts. Designmuseum Danmark undertakes research into the history of art and design, taking as its point of departure the museum’s own collections, and presents the results in exhibitions, publications and educational material etc.

Designmuseum Danmark (originally named The Danish Museum of Decorative Art) was founded in 1890 by the Industriforeningen i København (now Dansk Industri – The Confederation of Danish Industries) and the Ny Carlsberg Museumslegat. It first opened to the public in 1895 in a completely new museum building situated on what is now H.C. Andersens Boulevard, in the very centre of Copenhagen. Right from the start the main purpose of the museum has been to disseminate a concept of quality within design.

Since 1926, Designmuseum Danmark has been housed in one of Copenhagen’s finest rococo buildings, the former King Frederik’s Hospital. This edifice was built during the reign of King Frederik V in the years 1752–57 to designs by the architects Nicolai Eigtved and Lauritz de Thurah. In the early 1920s the building was renovated and refurbished to suit museum purposes by the architects Ivar Bentsen and Kaare Klint.

The museum garden, The Grønnegård, is a public space and can be enjoyed by everyone during museum opening hours. In the summer it serves as the performance space for the Grønnegård Theatre’s productions for children and adults. The museum café also has outdoor serving during the summer.

Permanent exhibitions

The chair is one of the strongest representatives of the development of Danish design and a reason why furniture design has made Denmark famous worldwide.  Designmuseum Danmark wants to tell the story about this inheritance and development with the exhibition The Danish Chair.

The Exhibition invites audience to walk into a surrounding experience of the chair’s development and history. Showing 110 central pieces of Designmuseum Danmark’s collection, each chair is put in a frame, thus creating a very special insight into Danish and international design history. The exhibition’s many Danish Classics are set into perspective with international furniture.

Danish Design Now represents a selection of contemporary Danish design within the entire spectrum: furniture, product design, graphic design, fashion, and design in the public space. All objects are designed in the 21st Century by leading and talented Danish designers. Danish Design Now reflects present times’ multiplicity of new designers and craftsmen as well as tendencies, life style choices, and technological innovations.

The point of departure for the permanent exhibition comprises several of the dominant ideas and thoughts, which have been significant for mankind and society in the 20th century and are recognisable in design. This is the approach of the exhibition as regards such aspects as the early 20th century avant-garde design dream of a new and better world; functionalism’s FDB furniture seen as a social tool, and the 1990s globalisation and visions of ecology and recycling.

In December 2014, Designmuseum Danmark opened a permanent exhibition of fashion and textiles – for the first time in the museum’s history. With around 350 exhibits from the museum’s sizeable collections, the exhibition will provide visitors with a unique perspective into fashion and textile design history – with a particular focus on Danish developments in the field over the past 300 to 400 years. A wealth of designs, patterns, motifs and colours represented in textiles, outfits and accessories will be on display in glass display cases and in the museum’s bespoke drawer display chests specially designed by Danish furniture designer Børge Mogensen.

From its foundation in 1890 up to the present day, Designmuseum Danmark has acquired around 3000 ceramic works from the period 1700-1880. More than 120 factories are represented in the rich collections which illustrate the development of the European ceramic culture, from the earliest endeavours to true industrial production.

Temporary exhibitions

LEARNING FROM JAPAN - 08.10.2015 –
From the beginning, Designmuseum Danmark has had a strong focus on Japanese design as inspiration for Danish art and industrial design. Exquisite Japanese applied art added an extraordinary boost to Danish arts and crafts around the turn of the century. The fascination stayed through the 20th century and today the connection between Japanese and Danish design is still vigorous. The exhibition will present both the museum’s world-class Japanese collection as well as Danish handicrafts, design, posters and graphic art with inspiration from Japan.

UNFOLDS - 24.02 – 14.05 2017
Smell, touch and listen to the art of cabinet making 
Designmuseum Danmark is ready to switch on your senses in the exhibition, UNFOLDS. The exhibition presents 25 unique works created by some of the country’s most skilled cabinetmakers, all of who have used the cube as their frame of reference. The exhibition marks the 25th anniversary of the Danish Cabinetmakers’ Association.

ERIK MORTENSEN - HAUTE COUTURE - 16.06.2017 – 31.01.2018
Experience the world of haute couture and craftsmanship created by one of the most celebrated Danish fashion icons Erik Mortensen. The exhibition shows his pieces for Balmain and Jean-Louis Scherrer in the 1980’s.


year of foundation: 1890
number of employees: 60
visitors per year: 230.000
financing sources: Ministry of Culture Denmark Danish Agency for Culture, Private foundations Sponsors and partners Friends of the Museum
  • Designmuseum Danmark. Photo: Pernille Klemp
  • Borge Mogensen in The Spanish Chair. (c) Fredericia Furniture
  • Dress with ostrich feathers by Erik Mortensen. Designmuseum Danmark. Photo: Pernille Klemp
  • WEGNER - just one good chair. Designmuseum Danmark. Photo: Pernille Klemp
  • Wegner – Just one good chair. Photo: Pernille Klemp
  • About A Chair by Hee Welling. Photo @HAY press photo.
  • Geo by Nicholai Wiig Hansen. Photo @ Normann Copenhagen.
  • Bamboo Comfort - Flavio Deslandes. Photo @ Franz Henriksen.
  • Learning From Japan. Photo: Pernille Klemp.