Why did I leave it so long?! Copenhagen is only an hour and a half away by plane from London for me, and the full immersion of the lifestyle and the general cheer of the city is the easiest thing to take on board. From landing on Danish tarmac and onwards, everything works, everything makes sense, everything just seamlessly slots into place. Even buying a tube ticket to get into town from the airport is the easiest thing – the machine is clean, clear and user-friendly; not like in Italy, where at the third attempt to buy a simple 3 Euro train ticket, the guy next to you steps closer and whispers in your ear, “you might prefer to buy your ticket at the bar and have a brioche and coffee while you’re at it!”
Copenhagen city center is tranquility itself. There is the welcome sound of steaming coffee machines, with pretty flower stalls overflowing with seasonal blooms strung with pretzels, and hand-painted Easter eggs dangle off catkin twigs. Over the road in the Nimb Hotel, more beautiful spring flower arrangements and moss hills surround the reception desk, where snowdrops and primroses are coming along nicely around the armchairs for the weekend guests. The hotel celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and it is classically elegant yet wonderfully contemporary Dansk, situated in a historical building surrounded by the fairytale Tivoli gardens (which are also celebrating an anniversary – 175 years old this year!). The new wing at the hotel with designer suites, overlooking the gardens, was added last December and perfectly echoes the coziness and “hygge-ness” of the main building.
A room at the Nimb (and I would recommend the original rooms just as a personal choice) is all you would imagine of a Danish home. Warm wood floors, crisp white bed linen, an open écritoire – like you might find at the grandparents’ – all set for writing and reading, with flowers hand-picked from the Tivoli garden. Over the desk hangs a beautiful oval portrait of an ancestor in local costume, and small lamps are strategically placed to make you sit on the deep sofa, or in the easy chair by the fireplace.
Supper is a must at the delightful Gemyse restaurant, just a short walk through the illuminated trees of the wonderland Tivoli Gardens. Here, amaryllises and snowdrop bulbs, covered in moss, hang upside down from the wood beams in the glow of a hundred candles and night-lights which illuminate the restaurant and the wood interiors.
The vegetarian-only menu is just ideal, and all the ingredients are as fresh as fresh. After supper (the brilliant staff at the Gemyse restaurant notify the front desk at the hotel) and during the walk back to the Nimb through the snowy pine-tree lanes, the hotel staff nip up to light the bedroom fireplace. I wonder how long it will take to catch, but it’s instant – it works. The logs are perfect, and I unlock the door to a dream-like setting. I walk into a Danish nursery rhyme and dive gratefully into the white four-poster.
The trip’s focus, aside from gaining a tick on the travel bucket-list, is also to see The Jewellery Room. Founded by Pernille Møbjerg Knudsen and Charlotte Møbjerg Ansel-Henry (pictured above) back in 2013, these enterprising sisters took it upon themselves to bring jewelry design into the international fashion arena. Bringing their innovative online hub and physical jewelry showrooms into key international fashion weeks, their formula is to get their curated designers to the next level – to reach a global audience and in turn, make their designers internationally recognized. Their support and passion for the designers is very evident at their Copenhagen Fashion Week event. It is a one-day appointment where press, buyers, designers, photographers, TV crews, clients and creatives gather, and no-one misses it for anything. Everyone is full of enthusiasm, appreciation, chat and cheer, as we wait outside for the doors to open, huddled around a mobile Piaggio Ape coffee bar – with pretzels, of course! The cool collection of brands is a truly must-have list, including Ole Lynggaard Copenhagen, Engelbert, Pernille Lauridsen, Julie Nielsdotter (pictured above) and Shamballa (a high-end men’s jewelry brand currently available in Harrods).
If you are not in Copenhagen, you can still get a glimpse of this Scandinavian jewelry universe online, where you can get the latest jewelry style trends and also shop the curated brands and designers in the newly opened web-boutique at www.thejewelleryroom.com.
After the jewelry presentation, I pick up my Nimb bicycle, equipped with basket and gloves, and head to see the sights of the city, including the Little Mermaid statue sat atop a rock (little quite literally – even though this statue is world-famous!). The snow is still falling, although that does not deter anyone here. The town is still as quiet as when we arrived, and there is no traffic, even though it’s Friday. It is almost like London on Christmas Day – no cars stuck endlessly in long queues of traffic, no buses stressing the easy-going cyclists, no couriers rushing against the clock, no police sirens – and it is like this every day.
After the city centre experience and the full immersion of Danish design, I head on a short train trip to the nearby Louisiana Museum in Humlebæk, which has been highly recommended. Once a private home, it is still ivy-clad and full to the brim with the most priceless works of art. A personal collection started in 1958 by Knud W. Jenson today has extended over and under the large gardens of the manor house, which flank the shores of Denmark, and across the icy, choppy waters: Sweden. A place of isolation and contemplation, sat in tranquillity and in natural surroundings, there is nothing to disturb the story of the artworks, nor the visitor’s attention.
The Louisiana is currently housing an exhibition of Picasso’s ceramics (until 27th May 2018). The pieces are some of the 4000+ artworks he created during a period of 20 years in this particular medium, while he was living in Vallauris. The videos, as well as the pieces in the exhibition, are mesmerising. Some show him turning a freshly thrown pottery vase into an owl with just a simple fold. In accordance with his wishes, several copies were produced of some of Picasso’s pieces and Madoura – the ceramic workshop in the south of France, had the exclusive rights to production. Picasso wanted these copies to be used on a daily basis, to be more accessible and relatable to every-day life, and so he simply remarked, “I have made some plates that we can eat off,” to realize his idea.
The Nimb Hotel (www.nimb.dk)
Hotel SKT. Annae (www.hotelsktannae.dk)
Radisson Collection Royal Hotel – the world’s first design hotel by Arne Jacobsen, and the home of Danish modernism (www.bitly.com/radisson_collection_royal_hotel)
Illums Bolighus – a designer department store, where The Conran Shop meets Fortnum & Mason (www.illumsbolighus.com)
Norr – for cutting-edge Danish fashion style, that changes by the week (www.norrstores.com)Purely Professional – for clean hair and skin care products (www.purelyprofessional.dk)
Tage Andersen – a romantic, enthusiastic and exquisite Danish florist (www.tage-andersen.com)
Tivoli Gardens – a winter’s tale fairyland garden with an ice-rink, markets and food stalls (www.tivoli.dk)
Søstrene Grenes Handelskompagnie – functional, well-priced designer home-ware (www.sostrenegrene.com)Uld Og Sager – there’s no website but this is the perfect port of call for the best Scandi knitwear, sheepskin items, gloves, and gifts (pictured above)TO EAT:
Restaurant Amalie – Dansk smørrebrød, and the most delightful small wooden restaurant to waste an entire day in (www.restaurantamalie.dk)Cafe Victor – if people watching is your thing, it’s the Danish equivalent of Senequier in St. Tropez (www.cafeviktor.dk)Geist – groovy fusion bar and seated diner, right on the water front (www.restaurantgeist.dk)Gemyse – for organic greens turned up to the hilt, head to this great eatery in the Nimb Hotel (www.nimb.dk/da/gemyse)Groed – a great Danish breakfast spot for granola, porridge, berries, breads, cookbooks and more! (www.groed.com)
Design Museum Danmark – open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm, and open until 9 pm on Wednesdays (www.designmuseum.dk)
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Støttes – a train trip out of town to a magical space for classic and modern art, design and sculpture, and gardens facing Sweden – and a top museum store too! (www.louisiana.dk )
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek – totally hygge, with sculptures all under one roof and a winter garden under a glass dome (www.glyptoteket.dk)
Words and pictures by Rosalind Milani Gallieni, originally featured on www.rmgandco.com