I moved to Copenhagen in August last year to write a book about Danish architecture and, more generally, to look at and write about contemporary Nordic architecture, design and manufacturing.
It has been an amazing Autumn, getting settled in a new apartment, really exploring the city, searching out design shops, meeting designers and makers and taking advantage of having outstanding museums and galleries on my door step - in the case of Designmuseum Danmark literally on my doorstep - and to be able to look at exhibitions and displays and to keep going back as many times as I need or want. And yes I really do appreciate how lucky I am.
I started a blog about design, Nordic Design Review, in June 2013 and that will continue but with my move to Copenhagen, the balance has been rather skewed by the number of posts on this city. It just seems sensible to separate out the posts and start this new site that will be specifically about architecture, history and planning in Copenhagen.
Nordic Design Review will continue and, with the coming Spring and longer days, I plan to explore further afield and to make sure the posts more truly cover Nordic rather than just Danish or, at the moment for obvious reasons, almost exclusively Copenhagen topics.
The aim for the design blog still is to focus on the best of design from the region and, because I’m an historian rather than a designer, to try to put design and manufacturing into some sort of context to understand what, if any, are the sources of inspiration for great new design but also, for English readers, to try to disentangle the marked regional differences in design and architecture.
This site will take a slightly different approach. When, professionally, I look at historic buildings, style and aesthetics are simply the starting point for trying to work out who built and when and why, and how and exactly what was built and how and why it worked - or didn’t work - and how and why the building was changed over subsequent years. The same approach can be taken with modern architecture … rarely does the idea for the form and appearance of a stunning building just appear out of nowhere: Danish architecture has a long, well-established and much appreciated history. And looking at architecture and design in that way … looking at the how, when and why … is not just an academic exercise but should help us to understand our past and put historic and modern buildings into a wider context.