Arne Jacobsen's Copenhagen

Worldwide, Arne Jacobsen is recognised as one of the most admired and outstanding designers. His creations of some of the 20th century’s most iconic classics are to this day still as functional and timeless in their design as they were 50 years ago.

Arne Jacobsen (20th century) by Jørgen StrüwingVisit Copenhagen


Born in Klampenborg, Copenhagen, Arne Jacobsen (1902 - 1971) is a Danish design icon and a famous architect who left a strong architectural legacy across the globe. As well as iconic Danish furniture, like The Egg chair and The Swan chair, Arne Jacobsen designed a number of famous buildings in his hometown Copenhagen. His style was Modernist architecture; an inspiration that came from his travelling to Germany during his studies. Let's follow the footsteps of Arne Jacobsen to explore his most celebrated architecture and designs in the capital. 

#1 Radisson Collection Hotel, Royal Copenhagen

Our first stop takes us to the five-star designer hotel conveniently located just opposite Tivoli close to Strøget and the city centre. In 1960, Arne Jacobsen designed the entire Radisson Collection Hotel, Royal Copenhagen.

Radisson Blu Royal Hotel (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

The best lobby in town

Much of Arne Jacobsen’s work can be seen in the hotel’s main lobby, with its signature spiral staircase, conversation circles of “Egg” and “Swan” chairs, and mid-century bar.

Radisson Blu Royal Hotel meeting room. Arne Jacobsen. The Egg (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

Alongside the Egg, Arne Jacobsen designed the Swan for the lobby and lounge areas at the Radisson Collection Hotel.

These two original designer chairs originated in Arne Jacobsen’s own garage at his home in Klampenborg, north of Copenhagen, and have been in production at Fritz Hansen ever since.

Arne Jacobsen & The Egg (20th century) by Jørgen StrüwingVisit Copenhagen

How does it feel to sit on a Swan?

In 1958, the Swan – with its total absence of straight lines – constituted a technologically innovative chair. The Swan is built on a moulded shell of synthetic material resting on an aluminium star base, with a layer of cold foam and upholstery covering the shell. The Swan is built in a wide range of leather and fabric upholstery.

The Egg (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

The hotel’s most popular room remains the iconic Room 606

Room 606 is a time capsule of Danish mid-century modern design and a showplace for the most beloved products by Arne Jacobsen. While the hotel has undergone several changes since, room 606 remains exactly as Jacobsen designed it in 1960.

Room 506 (20th century) by Arne Jacobsen & Jaime HayonVisit Copenhagen

Room 506

In recognition of it's creator, Radisson Collection Hotel, redesigned Room 506 in 2014 in tribute to Jacobsen in collaboration with Spanish designer Jaime Hayon, who shares Arne Jacobsen's passion for extraordinary craftsmanship and a clear aesthetic expression.

Danmarks Nationalbank (The central bank of Denmark) (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

#2 Nationalbanken

The Danish National Bank is another building in Copenhagen designed from top to bottom by Arne Jacobsen. Its stark cubic exterior dominates the waterfront.

Danmarks Nationalbank (The central bank of Denmark) (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

Inside, Arne Jacobsen's attention to detail shines through

The National Bank of Denmark is furnished with Arne Jacobsen's lamps, door handles and clocks.

The hall rises with cathedral-like proportions to the height of six storeys. At the end of the hall, opposite the main entrance, a sculptural staircase in glass and steel is suspended from the lofty ceiling.

Danmarks Nationalbank (The central bank of Denmark) (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

The nation's prime money manager

The building's stone and glass facade exudes an air of solemnity and restraint matching its trusted function as the nation's prime money manager.

Danmarks Nationalbank (The central bank of Denmark) (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

A main entrance made of marble

The main entrance facing Havnegade is as discreet as they come, leading through a glass sluice gate into a wedge-shaped entrance hall.

All walls and floors are marble clad, and only a little daylight filters through the narrow, perpendicular window openings.

The bank was Arne Jacobsen´s last big project.

Arne Jacobsen exhibition at Design Museum Danmark (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

#3 The Arne Jacobsen gallery at Designmuseum Denmark

Visitors at Designmuseum Denmark are invited to explore the exhibit’s many Danish design classics put into an international perspective and compared with foreign design icons.

The changing design trends are put into perspective with developments in architecture and interior design. Here you will experience Arne Jacobsens unique design classics such as The Ant, The Swan, The Egg, Series 7 and much more.

#4 Novo Nordisk

Arne Jacobsen was commissioned to create a building for the international Danish health care company Novo Nordisk in 1934. A functionalist masterpiece.

The Ant (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

The Ant - playful yet elegant

Another icon by Arne Jacobsen is The Ant, which originally was designed for the canteen at Danish healthcare company; Novo Nordisk. Today, it is a design icon.

Series 7 (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

Series 7 - A modern classic

The Jacobsen Series 7 Chair or Fritz Hansen 3107 was designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1955 and has become Fritz Hansen & Son's best selling design of all time.
Arne Jacobsen crafted the Series 7 Chair with the same technique he used in the Jacobsen Ant Chair: a pioneering method of pressure-molding the wood veneer in multiple directions.

#5 The Bellevue Theatre - enjoy a play while sitting in architectural history

The Bellevue Theatre is part of the white town, in Klampenborg, north of Copenhagen, designed by Jacobsen.

The Bellevue Theatre is one of the cornerstones in the works by Arne Jacobsen. The theatre contains numerous details and is a unique architectural experience.

Inside view. Bellevue theatre roof (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

Smell the sea inside a theatre

As something very unique, the roof of the theatre can be drawn aside reveiling the sky above. This was an effect created by Arne Jacobsen to let the smell of the surrounding forrest and beach into the theatre.

Jacobsen's Bella Vista Estate. (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

#6 Jacobsen's Bella Vista Housing Estate

The Bella Vista housing estate designed by Arne Jacobsen is the clearest example of Bauhaus architecture in Denmark.

Jacobsen's Bella Vista Estate. Side view (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

The feature of functionalism

The split-level design, the latticework over the balconies and the rounded corners of the building all contribute to an exotic modernistic exterior. The white-washed facades, the flat roofs, and the corner windows are all features typical of the functionalist style.

Lifeguard tower (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

#7 Bellevue Beach - a prize winning beach

In the 1930s, Arne Jacobsen won a competition to design the Bellevue Seaside Resort near Copenhagen. Arne Jacobsen designed everything, from the tickets and employee uniforms to the Sea Baths and distinctive striped lifeguard towers.

With up to 500,000 visitors a year, Bellevue Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the Copenhagen area. Locals enjoy the 700 meter long beach during both summer and winter months.

Arne Jacobsen's Petrol Station (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

#8 Petrol Station

The Skovshoved Petrol Station is a historic, still-operating filling station in Skovshoved at the northern outskirts of Copenhagen.

First opened in 1936, it was designed by Arne Jacobsen and is an example of the functionalist style typical of the time. It is Class A listed and was thoroughly restored in 2002.

Side view. Petrol Station (20th century) by Arne JacobsenVisit Copenhagen

"The Mushroom" - a time capsule

The reinforced concrete building was faced with white Meissner tiles - signaling purity and cleanliness.

To this day, the petrol station remains the only one of its kind, fully intact and virtually unaltered since its erection in 1938. Only the petrol pumps are recent additions.

The exterior of the building is dominated by the projecting oval canopy, colloquially known as The Mushroom.

Tourism Culture Lab logosVisit Copenhagen

The Development project Tourism + Culture Lab is co-financed by the local authority.

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Created by Camilla Tullin

The exhibit is a part of the development project Tourism + Culture Lab. The project is anchored in Wonderful Copenhagen and co-financed by the Capital Region.

Wonderful Copenhagen (Visit Copenhagen) is the official tourism organization for The Capital Region of Denmark, working to promote and develop both business and leisure tourism in The Capital Region of Denmark on a non-profit basis.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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