Arne Jacobsen’s iconic Copenhagen hotel has five new design suites
The opening of five new design suites recently brought to an end, for now at least, the comprehensive redevelopment of the Radisson Collection Royal Hotel, restoring the world’s first design hotel to the level of design it enjoyed when it first opened in 1960.
Then the hotel embodied the very pinnacle of modern Danish design – Arne Jacobsen’s classic Egg, Swan and Drop chairs were created specifically for the hotel, while everything from door handles and cutlery to curtain cords bore Jacobsen’s signature.
Updating the original home of so many design classics is a tricky business, though, according to the design team, which consists of Christian Andresen from Fritz Hansen, and Signe Bindslev Henriksen and Peter Bundgaard Rützou from Space Copenhagen. Fritz Hansen is responsible for the five new signature suites, while Space Copenhagen has refurbished the hotel lobby, bar and restaurant, as well as most of the guest rooms and the meeting and event rooms.
“It’s one of the most intimidating tasks we’ve taken on,” Henriksen says. “This building is one of the purest examples of modernism in Copenhagen and over half of all Arne Jacobsen’s designs were created specifically for this hotel. Surrounded by such history, we tiptoed around a little sheepishly to begin with.”
Then they went for a walk in the cellar. This opened up a treasure trove of forgotten and worn-out interiors and original artworks from the early days of the hotel, which inspired the reimagining of Jacobsen’s design.
“We Danes have become so accustomed to Arne Jacobsen’s style that sometimes we are blinded to its qualities,” Rützou says. “So it’s been an incredible pleasure and inspiration to rediscover his design and reintroduce some of his lesser-known concepts in a different context and with new surfaces.”
“During the process, it was important to remember that Arne Jacobsen himself took a highly experimental approach to his métier,” Henriksen says. “He was the pioneer of modernism and was not someone who would allow things to stagnate. He wouldn’t have wanted a museum.”
The new suites
Danish furniture company Fritz Hansen, which makes furniture for heavyweights such as Arne Jacobsen, Hans J. Wegner and Poul Kjærholm, has fitted out the Signature Suites with the cream of modern Danish and international design. Three of the suites pay homage to the designs of Cecilie Manz, Poul Kjærholm and Arne Jacobsen, with added elements from KAISER idell, for example, and unique items created by Fritz Hansen’s design team.
Fritz Hansen has also put together two suites with a Classic and a Contemporary theme, where a blend of classic and new design elements that update and complement Jacobsen’s design language.
At the same time, the strengths of this high-rise, namely the light and the views, have been used actively in the decoration of the suites, with mirrors reflecting and doubling the view as a decorative element.
Christian Andresen, Head of Design at Fritz Hansen, has enjoyed the opportunity to update the well-known design and give it a new context.
“The five suites are new interpretations of our design heritage,” Andresen says. “You’ll be able to see, for example, the first Swan chair upholstered in velour and a unique Egg chair, where glimpses of the life lived by the cow can be seen in the leather in the form of scars from mosquito bites and stretch marks from pregnancy.”
“The Arne Jacobsen suite shows a more ‘funky Arne’ than we’re used to seeing. I hope that the guests will enjoy experiencing new sides of his design.”
Published: April 19, 2018