Secret Cities: Copenhagen

Designer Camilla Stærk Celebrates her Hometown's Art and Design Heritage

Copenhagen is a city of contradictions. Famed for its medieval and Renaissance architecture, hence the nickname "The City of Spires", it also lays claim to luminaries of the modern-era—notably, genius architect-designer Arne Jacobsen—and, in recent years, buildings by Daniel Libeskind, Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid. People flock to Copenhagen for its distinguished furniture (there is a museum dedicated to Danish design), fashion (the city's Krystalgade is home to a series of designer boutiques including Woodwood and Henrik Vibskov) and food (local restaurant Noma was recently named world's best on the annual San Pelligrino list). Fashion designer Camilla Stærk, who moved to London in 1996 and now resides in New York, grew up in the creative hub of Copenhagen as her father worked in furniture design. That past influences her present take on the city that she travels back to visit as often as possible, shot exclusively for NOWNESS by Simon Ladefoged.

Rungstedlund (Karen Blixen Museum)
Rungsted Strandvej 111, Karen Blixen Museet, 2960 Rungsted Kyst

Karen Blixen [the bilingual Danish author of Babette's Feast and Out of Africa] has always been a huge inspiration for me as far back as I can remember. We had to read her books at a young age at school. They really affected me and she always fascinated me. I did one collection actually based on her, but she is an ongoing idol. Her house [15 minutes from the city testifies to] her exotic travels in Africa as well as her Danish roots, and the countryside is absolutely amazing–that coastal drive from Copenhagen up north is so beautiful.

Galerie Asbæk

Bredgade 23, 1260 København K

I spent a lot of my childhood in Galerie Asbæk—with all its artists—because my dad is a good friend of the owner. There was a lot of red wine drinking in the café and children running around. It’s the first gallery I go to when I come back, because I have that relationship to it, but also because they have amazing exhibitions and show some of my favorite artists including [sculptor] Jens Flemming Sorensen and printmaker Hans Henrik Lerfeldt.

Republic of Fritz Hansen
Klubiensvej 24, 2100 København 

Fritz Hansen is a company that I’ve known about forever. They represent some of the major furniture designers who, even though they're not alive anymore, are a massive part of Danish design heritage. 

Georg Jensen Museum
Amagertorv 4, 1160 København K

I love the concept that Georg Jensen has always had (since he started in the late 1800s) of bringing in people from different fields—architects and different designers—to do jewelry for him. The archive is amazing. I was just looking at what Georg Jensen has at the moment...  quite a few things that I would love to own.

Marmorkirken (Marble Church)
Frederiksgade 4, 1265 Kobenhavn K

The Marble Church is one my absolute favorite buildings—Barnaby [photographer Barnaby Roper, Staerk's husband] and I got married there. I always knew this is where I wanted to get married. Apparently everyone thinks this though, so they have limited it to only people with an address in the two streets around the church. But we were very lucky and managed to book it.

Palæ Bar
Ny Adelgade 5, 1104 København K

An old-school bar very famous for its live jazz. Again, it’s a place where I spent a lot of time as a child, as Galerie Asbæk used to be situated just across the street, so the artists and everyone (including my dad) would end up there. It’s not a trendy place, but it’s a classic.

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Conversations (1)

  • Seraphima Bogomolova
    I love Scandinavia, Copenhagen is the royalty of the Northern countries, love their clean, innovative, yet practical design...

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