Copenhagen Design Week: Prelude to COP15


Sustainable design consumes Copenhagen. Photos courtesy of CDW.

A stylish chair of recycled paper, tree-free paper, mobile "pocket parks," and an air purification sculpture of Korean oak. With a focus on sustainable design, Copenhagen Design Week takes over the home of Danish Modern, August 27-September 6. Known for its definitive mid-century design, today's forward-thinking Scandinavian designers and innovative ideas from around the world intend to provoke and inspire a greener future. In anticipation of hosting COP15, the UN Climate Conference in December, these (mostly) free exhibits present "design that matters."

CDW explores the theme of sustainable design, covering the spectrum of trends from fair-trade products and green building to furniture and fashion. Part tradeshow and conference, dozens of inventive showcases in venues across town include the INDEX: Design to Improve Life displayed at Kongens Nytorv Square, site-specific installations that integrate social and environmental elements, and a carbon-neutral music/arts festival, "CO2PENHAGEN," powered by renewable energy and an electricity generating dancefloor.


Exhibit walls designed to be converted into stools for the home.

Highlights include the following exhibits:

Copenhagen Showhow displays products that explore the meeting of architecture, transportation and energy with the work of ten innovative design students' work.

Code 09 focuses on Nordic design with the best of the last decade from Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, and Denmark. Innovative international group Designboom will present 35 talents with an emphasis on socially responsible works.

Next Vision Bright Green Fashion offers a joint catwalk show of sustainable fashions by emerging talents from Copenhagen and Berlin presented at Copenhagen Town Hall Square.

It's a Small World is staged around six interdisciplinary scenarios introducing unique ideas based on Sustainability, Human Scale, New Craftsmanship and Non-Standard Practices. This exhibit runs August 27, 2009—January 31, 2010, then travels to museums in Europe and the USA.

LinkUp showcases projects that connect function with social interaction, such as steps that act as an informal piece of furniture for conversation and mobile "pocket parks." An itinerary of these site-specific exhibits tours Copenhagen.

Noncommon highlights experimental design in textiles, lighting and furniture design using new technology and interactive design.

INDEX: Designs to Improve Life exhibits designs by 72 nominees from 54 countries to this biennial competition in the categories of Body, Home, Work, Play, and Community. An awards ceremony presents five finalists with 100,000 euros each.


Henrik Vibskov's "Carwash" Fringe Project 10 in "It's a Small World." Photo by Alastair Wiper

Workshops and seminars with frog design, IDEO and more, echo the sustainable theme, such as "Cradle-to-Cradle: Business Strategy for the 21st Century" and "Designing for Good: What Do You Get Out of It?" An initiative of the Danish Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs, under the direction of the Danish Design Center, it's the first time in Copenhagen, but surely won't be the last.


Cycling photo by Kajsa Plum Wirell courtesy of It's a Small World

The perfect setting for a green design extravaganza, join 36 percent of the native daily commuters in bicycle-friendly Copenhagen. There's also a cycle parade and bike-sharing concept contest.

More on eco-minded Copenhagen:
They Are Building Bicycle Superhighways in Copenhagen
Floating Spaceframe Home by Copenhagen's N-55
The State of Climate Change Science & Policy: Copenhagen Climate
Plant Waste Powered Limos to Bring World Leaders to Copenhagen

Tags: Appropriate Technology | Concepts & Prototypes | Denmark | Designers | Furniture