I am just home from a busy and inspirational trip to Denmark.
My sister, Alva is based there at the moment living in a very privileged situation
– right in the centre of the old part of Copenhagen, NyhavnThe exterior of the building is a beautiful pink.But once you are through the doors it leads to courtyard where the walls are an ochre lime render – a colour I have been researching lately for another project.
I had the opportunity to meet lots of interesting Danes during the visit. We chatted about the use of the Danish flag in interiors. The Danes see the use of their flag to mean ‘hooray lets party!’ rather than a huge nationalistic pride. You have to admit it is a good looking graphic and makes great bunting.
There were swims to be had around the corner at the newly built Ofelia Plads. Lots of people had the same idea…. sandwiches, chilled Rosé, Danish flag napkins and a towel…sorted.
We visited the Stunning Rosenborg Castle – a 17th Century Palace in Copenhagen built by Christian IV. It was filled with atmosphere, partly thanks to its very clever lighting akin to candlelight. I think they even had ‘Hygge’ in those days, as my friend Helen Russell will tell you.
It reminded us both of Ham House in Surrey.
One of the highlights of the trip was a naughty afternoon spent drinking fizz in the sun in one of my favourite places in the world! Nyboder is a district Copenhagen made up of rows of purpose built Naval Barracks built in the mid 18th century, currently embarking on full and faithful restoration – as with most old buildings in Denmark. Henriette, our wonderful host explained that the building would have housed the wives and children of the sailors and they very much shared their homes and gardens and supporting eachother for the months while their husbands were at sea.
It is still mostly inhabited by the Danish navy, army and airforce and their is definitely a distinct feeling there. The colour of the render is known as Nyboder yellow. If ever a colour lifted the soul!
On our last day we went sailing in Roskilde Fjord. The reason Alva came to Denmark was to sail on the Sea Stallion, a working replica of a viking longship unearthed in Roskilde, which tests revealed the wood it was built with grew in our own Glendalough in County Wicklow! Read more about Alva’s adventures on the ship here. There is fabulous working museum there – worth a trip. We went sailing on a replica of a Norwegian fishing boat. It was, shall we say, a very exciting and a bit hairy at times due to unforecast winds that came from nowhere.
Love the colour of the sails – and the boat was painted white, pink, orange and green.
I have returned home with a heart full of inspiration fueling my love of colour. I met some fantastic people, notedly strong women who work hard and like a good laugh. There was thoughtful design everywhere I looked. Older buildings are cherished and lived in and maintained, therefore are surviving. I am seeing quite a lot of refurbishment on a few of the projects I am working on here in Ireland. I think we are getting better at being faithful to our heritage and being a bit more gutsy in our own use of colour. I would encourage you to consider using it somewhere outside as well as inside. Even on a dull rainy day it can be uplifting!
p.s. It is great to come home to this little fellow and race up to the cliffs where it is evident the Season is achanging. I’m ready…