Copenhagen revisited

When I first went to Copenhagen 54 years ago, devoted as I was to modern architecture, I chased around town to see as much work by Arne Jacobsen and his contemporaries as I could. This time round, probably my fourth visit to the city, I was more struck by the traditional architecture – the twisted spires, the copper roofs and the painted facades. Like everywhere in western Europe a retail-inspired sameness pervades much of the place, though Copenhagen keeps its charms well hidden. No longer are there fishermen’s wives gutting the catch on Nyhavn, but its design credentials remain in evidence.


North of Copenhagen is the famed Louisiana gallery. When I visited Louisiana in 1962 there was an exhibition of Arp’s work showing. The gallery spaces snaked out into the landscape to the sea. Glass, exposed brick, quarry tiles on the floor and pine boarding on the ceiling characterized the building. Now much extended with marble and slicker finishes, it loses something of its original simplicity. Worth the revisit nevertheless.