Having just recently spent a long weekend in Copenhagen: the current European Green Capital: the Scandi Capital of Cool, admiring the urbane, calm and effortless style of the Danes, I thought I would share some of my favourite images. Some pretty obvious, some a little eclectic and some downright deceptive. If you like some of what you see here, then take a peak at my Pinterest site for some more photos.

Retail Space

I loved the use of double floor retail spaces situated at lower and upper ground floors. Maximising retail floorspace it makes for really interesting shop fronts. Ok hands up though a nightmare for disabled access and those of us pushing prams! Also loved the quirky nature of shopfront advertising. What do you think of this one? Who needs words when you can have models.

Danish Design Museum

The Danish Design Museum was more than hoped for it was a beautiful experience: from the exquisitely simple palette of materials utilised in the interior comprising grey marble flooring, to pale pinkish grey plaster walls to corten steel doors, cabinets and finishes to the exhibition of Hans Wegner chairs and the raspberry cake in the cafe. It was a place that felt so elegant and refined, particularly without the kids.


It was somewhat of a revelation to find outbursts of eye popping, rainbow coloured buildings and streets in a city that you think of as pale and tonal. The use of bright blues, ochres, reds, greens and yellows all work together to bring relief from what is probably a pretty relentless palette of grey and white skies during the long winter months. The use of copper roofs adds bright vivid streaks of verdigris to the skyline that contrasts beautifully with the burnt redness of terracotta tiles. So whilst you may think Danish style is pale, conservative and calm there is a bold, dynamic and adventurous side to it.

Modern Inserts

Whilst there was an obvious respect for heritage, there was also a nod towards the modern. With the bold use of modern glazed large dormer windows this adds a 21st century layer to this building.

Planning Ventures Ltd old building modern dormer windows

Public Art

Public art ranged from the traditional to the more modern with some perspective changes in between. Must admit we gave the Little Mermaid and Hans Christian Andersen a miss, but found a dynamic and screaming Valkerie (Copenhagen loves statues of horses!) and a great mural which transformed the view of a pretty grey day.

Funky Places

Who would think than an area that looked like Bristol’s fruit and veg market in St Philip’s by day would transform itself into one of the hippest parts of the city at night. Full of cafes, bars, restaurants, clubs and galleries the Meat Packing area felt a little like Paintworks.

Planning Ventures Ltd Copenhagen's Meat Packing District

It’s so easy to understand why this city was the 2014 European Green Capital – easily accessible, sustainable, great regeneration of spaces and places, investment in public transport, great architecture and great art. Must say Bristol has a very hard act to follow. The question is can it do it?