For the Love of Good Design

Travel Back in Time to 1960 at the SAS Royal Hotel, Copenhagen

Travel Back in Time to 1960 at the SAS Royal Hotel, Copenhagen

When you travel to Copenhagen, there are a few things you can’t miss. You must go to Tivoli Gardens, stroll the pavilions, ride the rides, and catch a pantomime; it’s been the heart and soul of Copenhagen for over one-hundred years. Stroll Nyhavn to see what the city looked like to sailors, traders, and merchants in the 17th century. Maybe visit Christiania, Copenhagen’s legendary city-within-a-city. And, of course, make sure to eat in Kødbyen, the Meatpacking District, recently renovated into the best food scene in town.

When you are looking for somewhere to stay, we recommend somewhere historical and fun. Look no further than the Radisson Royal Hotel. At first glance, it looks like a trendy, new space, but this building has a remarkable history that brings us back in time to Copenhagen in the middle of the twentieth century when an architect and designer named Arne Jacobsen poured his heart into his gesamtkunstwerk, his masterpiece.

SAS Hotel

Arne Jacobsen and Danish Modern

As early as 1929, Arne Jacobsen envisioned the “House of the Future” as a holistic space where every aspect, from the exterior architecture to the furniture to the silverware on the dining room table, all coexisted in one, triumphant design scheme. This total approach was aspirational, even for designers of Jacobsen’s skill and training. Architect, interior designer, craftsman, textile artist, there was no project too big or too small for Jacobsen’s vision.

In 1955, as the world was recovering from World War II, air travel was becoming all the rage. Each nation had its own airline and tourist board, and international travel boomed. In Copenhagen, local Scandinavian airlines merged as SAS Airlines, and the company looked to the capital city as a new, mid-century tourism hub. To advance their goal, SAS executives hired one of the country’s foremost Modern designers to create their flagship downtown hotel.

The SAS Royal Hotel

The SAS Royal Hotel, a quick shuttle-ride from the new airport and an easy walk to the train station, opened in 1960. Jacobsen had designed the structure of steel and glass to echo the strict, modern lines of Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Inside, he supervised every detail, from the wood paneling to the linens and light-fixtures. He created each piece of furniture. By managing every detail, he merged modern design and materials – the technologies of a new era like steel, glass, and plastic – with traditional craftsmanship – pottery, silverwork, and woodworking. This complete design approach was a radical as it was modern.

The Swan Chair

While many features of Jacobsen’s vision were eventually deemed more aesthetic than useful, his Swan and Egg chairs remain today as the hallmark of the hotel. To balance an austere, modern exterior, Jacobsen designed his chairs with pure, undulating lines. Like his iconic Series 7 chairs, the Swan and Egg were sculptural, organic, and fluid, while also being remarkably comfortable. He used modern synthetics along with aluminum to balance innovation and style. The chairs welcomed visitors into the lobby and embraced them in every room.

Today, the chairs, plates, rugs, and all the other Jacobsen design elements have been replaced with corporate hotel style. Twenty-first-century prints gesture to the magic of the hotel’s mid-century past, but the originals are long gone… unless you stay in Room 606. Radisson has preserved the original Arne Jacobsen gesamtkunstwerk experience in this one room. You can sleep under the original comforter, put your jewelry in an original ashtray, and, of course, watch tv from the comfort of an original Swan chair.

Swan Chair

Image courtesy of Icon Eye.

Modern Comfort, Warm Design

We channeled Jacobsen’s aesthetic into our Bloom collection. The warm embrace of his Swan chairs inspired us, the ways the organic form blooms and wraps around you when you sit down. Our three, organic petals, echoing the fluid arms and back of the Swan design, are simultaneously simple enough for every day, and elegant enough for the finest situations. Just as you would find Jacobsen’s chairs throughout the hotel, we recommend our Bloom rings or pendant necklaces for a casual stop in the hotel lobby or for that hint of refinement at dinner in the ballroom. 

Select pieces from the Bloom Collection

Select pieces from the Bloom Collection.

Leave a comment