Open a travel book of Copenhagen, Denmark, you probably won't see the entry of Room 606 of the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel. However, to understand Danish designer Arne Jacobsen, this room is a destination not to be missed.
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It is like a "museum". Although the hotel has been refurbished for decades, this room has not been changed in any way, completely retaining the appearance of the room built by Arne Jacobsen in the past.
The azure chairs can be seen everywhere in the suite, and they contrast with the sky of Copenhagen. Everything in the room is very clean and abstract, without too much decoration. It seems to tell the way modern people live, work, dress and even sleep. When it was completed in 1960, this hotel was once the tallest building in Copenhagen, and everything in it is saying goodbye to traditional life.
Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, formerly known as SAS Royal Hotel, is one of the representatives of Danish functionalist architecture. The entire hotel from the facade to the stainless steel tableware used in the restaurant was designed by Arne Jacobsen in the past.
In 2018, SAS Royal Hotel was refurbished. Space Copenhagen refurbished 259 guest rooms and suites, lobby and meeting rooms, and opened a new restaurant in the hotel. It also cooperated with Danish brand Fritz Hansen and used it with designer Raf Simons. The fabrics in the Kvadrat series products update the classic indoor furniture.
The functionalist buildings that began to emerge internationally after the First World War often focused on functionality and despised aesthetics; while the main features of Danish functionalist buildings were the use of right-angled and flat roofs, and often round windows, corner windows or Architectural glass, while emphasizing the practicality of architecture, it also does not overly provoke conservative traditionalists.
The Pedersen villa at Kongehøjen 3 in Kalamborg was completed in 1933 and soon afterwards provided a research laboratory and office for Pedersen’s first building.
"Danish Gas Station" by Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen, It was conceived and opened in the northern suburbs of Copenhagen in the 1930s.
Bellavista residential area, completed in 1934, the manor is located in the north of Copenhagen.
In Danish, these functionalist buildings are called "Funkis", which adopts the first half of "Functionalism", plus the suffix -is, which is a familiar and compact suffix. The seemingly inhumane building adds a touch of cuteness.
At the design stage, the hotel's sketches have been published in Danish newspapers. Critics criticized it, worrying about destroying the traditional appearance of the Copenhagen skyline, saying that the building is a "punch card". Jacobsen's response was light and interesting: "When the windows are open in summer, it really looks like that."
Arne Jacobsen is known for his sensitivity to proportions. In Room 606, you can see three chairs with very different appearances but equally beautiful proportions. Jacobsen used the hands of a dexterous sculptor to shape their curves.
The silhouette lines of "The Egg" have been turned back several times, forming a strong contrast with the almost completely vertical surface of the building. In order to find the perfect and elegant curve, Jacobsen used clay from his garage to imitate the shape of a seashell when creating this chair. The "egg chair" is semi-open and semi-closed, and its shape design brings privacy to people sitting in public spaces. It can be attached with a supporting footstool, which is ideal in a resting space.
"The Swan chair" looks smaller than the egg chair. It is an iconic work in modern furniture design. The curve between the armrest and the backrest is deeply concave (this was an innovative technology at the time), creating The violent sense of flow, the overall oval shape can gently hold up the spine. It is not only a comfortable habitat, it also looks very pleasing to the eye, often surrounded by bright colors.
"The Drop" initially also drew inspiration from the swan chair and the egg chair. It wanted to create a "hug" feeling for users, which is Jacobsen's personal favorite design product. The overall shape is more upright, and the full and smooth arc forms its backrest, which is just suitable for the human body structure.
The curves of the three chairs are extremely soft, and the aspect ratios are very close to the golden ratio. Jacobsen himself believes that proportion is a major feature of his work. He once said in an interview: "Proportion is precisely what makes ancient Egyptian temples glowing beautifully. If we look at the most admired buildings in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, we will notice that the proportions of the works are very good. This is the most basic thing."
Arne Jacobsen started his collaboration with Fritz Hansen, one of the leading brands in the Danish furniture industry in 1934. It was not until 1952 that he tried to develop laminate manufacturing technology and successfully launched the "Ant chair". Pushed to the historical stage of furniture design.
In the process of cooperating with Fritz Hansen, all design works must be continuously tested by real people first, and the design and arc must be corrected before entering the fixed modulus mass production. The Egg and The Swan chairs have passed physical tests again and again, and finally the perfect proportions created with elegant curves are born.
Don't miss any details
So far, the most famous design work of Arne Jacobsen is the chair, but he has never been satisfied with the field of product design. He never forgets the concept of "Total Art" that he does not let go of any details.
Dal cucchiaio alla città
St. Catherine's College, Oxford University, designed by Arne Jacobsen, must not only reflect the elements of traditional Oxford College, but also become a completely modern solution.
Italian design historian Ernesto Rogers was the one who introduced the concept of "holistic art" into the design, and Arne Jacobsen was also heavily influenced by him. "From the spoon to the city" (Dal cucchiaio alla città) is a slogan put forward by Ernesto Rogers in the Charter of Athens (Charte d'Athènes) in 1952. He explained that the Milanese architect at the time had to: design a spoon, a chair and a lamp, and then build a skyscraper on the same day.
In addition to the design of SAS Royal Hotel, Jacobsen’s other designs often reflect this idea. For example, St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University, built in 1962, has an open square courtyard, a consistent modernist appearance, integrated landscape planning and Unique interior design. Jacobsen also specially designed the high-back "Oxford Chair" for the college, as well as tableware, clocks, furniture and all other equipment.
In 1968, he collaborated with Fritz Hansen to design another well-known chair-The Oxford chair for St. Catherine's College, Oxford University. It is characterized by a high, flat and curved backrest that symbolizes prestige and status, and its design is designed to enable users to gain a sense of privacy. The design developed over time and is still known as the Oxford classic today.
In conclusion, in Jacobsen's view, all designs must match each other, the proportions of household items and rooms need to be matched, and the design of the room and the design of the building must complement each other.
Today, most of Jacobsen's works in Radisson Blu Royal Hotel have been replaced by industrially produced furniture, and the actual incarnation of "holistic art" seems to have been lost. However, his ingenuity in combining modernism and elegant appearance in his furniture, his obsession with all details, and the extremely perfect proportions, all allow us to imagine the designer’s rigorous “overall” concept and how to combine The grand plan is integrated in a beautiful artwork.