As you might expect, Copenhagen has a good range of design stores selling the well-designed wares that the city has become known for. Shopping for overpriced design items is generally a pleasant experience in Copenhagen with most of the best stores clustered around the Strøget area. I managed to pick up a nice range of plane-friendly rugs, posters and homewares from the stores below:
Good for: genuinely quirky design objects
Every (expensive) item in this store has been displayed to appear as if it has been thrown together haphazardly. The stock is a mix of carefully selected design classics (Aalto stools etc.) and some genuinely quirky stuff, presumably sourced from independent designers. I liked the range of patterned slates though I was unsure of their function (very expensive, heavy placemats?) and homespun-looking textiles. The only item I could justify purchasing from a price perspective were some rather delightful balloon animals. It has just occurred to me that these cost about £10(!) each.
Good for: high quality homewares with a dusty pastel colour palate
Everything in this store is undeniably beautiful and is beautifully presented (especially the prints upstairs – very inspiring) but the overall effect was a bit too feminine for my tastes. Perhaps it is the colour palate: it’s all dusty pinks, mint greens, copper and soft greys (admittedly with a bit of black, which does contribute some edge) but with not a primary colour in sight. I left empty handed.
Hay flagship and Hay House
Good for: everything provided you like the Hay look
Price: moderate to expensive
Although Hay is now stocked internationally (there’s a concession in most high end design stores in London and Selfridges), the sight of the complete range of beautiful stock all in one place is a sight to behold. There are items at every price point ranging from stationery and small design objects for the equivalent of less than £10 to big bits of furniture in Hay’s trademark unusual shapes and colours. There are two stores: the original flagship and ‘Hay House’ which occupies the top two floors of a building that overlooks the square. Although Hay House is the larger of the two and has a pleasingly gimmicky ‘mini mart’ section, I found the smaller flagship much more inspiring. I bought a printed canvas shopper bag and a articulated wooden foot.
Good for: rugs, prints, assorted homewares
This store sells a colourful assortment of homewares that appear to be exclusive to this store. About half of the stock seems to be child oriented (including lovely vintage animal prints and design objects by Ingela P Arrhenius) that might look odd in a home without children. I came away with a reasonably priced monochrome rug and a line drawing print of a defiant-looking, very underweight young woman.
Good for: modern graphic prints
Small, nicely laid out poster store selling a small range of modern graphic prints and accompanying frames. I particularly liked the landscape/animal hybrids (I opted for the wolf). Perhaps a few too many cartoon prints. Service is genial and helpful.
Good for: those who do not have to consider a budget
Illums brings together every high-end Danish design object and displays it in a sprawling department store setting. Perhaps I was just bitter that I couldn’t afford anything but I did not find this to be a pleasurable shopping experience: it’s too hot and the sheer number of items and displays serves to cheapen everything somehow. Somewhere like Liberty or Selfridges does this sort of thing better by dividing the stock into zones.
A small store selling a few design items alongside some rather tacky women’s clothing. The stock is colourful but expensive for what it is.
A centrally located homewares store suffering from an identity crisis. First impressions are that it is a budget retailer that wants to recreate the Stilleben experience/colour palate. Closer inspection reveals some quite high prices and some tacky product selection. It would be more appealing if it were much cheaper.