24 January 2014

Arne Jacobsen Royal Hotel

For the past couple of years I have found myself circling the Arne Jacobsen Royal Hotel like a lovesick teenager. Catching it in tinted water mirrors and all dressed in fog:

The sight below from the roof of Axelborg made it clear: we needed to get properly introduced.

The Royal Hotel designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1960, is a landmark, preserved and protected from major alterations. The same was not the case for the interior, in the eighties deemed worthless, and the iconic furniture sold off for 100 dkr a piece. Today a single drop chair in leather will easily cost you 120.000 dkr, if you can find one. Fortunately, someone had the great idea to preserve one room, left just the way it looked when it was first designed. Room 606, the Arne Jacobsen Suite, with the famous chairs all covered in a muted greenish upholstery, inspired by the copper roofs of Copenhagen. The people of Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, as it is called today, were kind enough to give me a quick tour, and I caught as much goodness for you, as I could on the run.

All the classics are represented, including "Dråben" (the Drop) that I was told may be looking at a re-launch. There was not enough time to get the perfect shot, and the master deserve no less. Maybe another time..

Arne Jacobsen was a big fan of muted colors, and used textured layers in the curtains, to create the perfect light. From room 606 you have a clear view of both the Tivoli gardens and here, to the right, Grand Central Station. If you listen closely, you can hear my heart racing. Oh.

1. Painting of the Royal Hotel, room 606. 2. Signed: A/S Kampsax, Arne Jacobsen. 3. Lobby, iron spiral staircase, railing detail. 4. Railing detail that draws your hand in. 5. “Royal wall of fame”, a selection of the most famous guests, naming among others The Beatles, Dalai Lama, Louis Armstrong and... 6. Nelson Mandela. 7. Arne Jacobsen's favorite flower, the orchid. 8. 606 detail: dark wenge wood. 9. Lobby spiral stairs detail. I swear: everything in this place feels good to the touch.

Once upon a key.

Since the eighties the world have come around to appreciate the design of Arne Jacobsen, and the iconic interior have returned to the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel. I felt right at home. Not just because it is a five-star hotel (haha), but there is a really good vibe, almost like coming home. The good feeling may be explained by the fact that the hotel have staff going back 35 years, and that the place is run by a man not only born in the hotel, but also named after it: Roy Al. Here he is dressed up as a bell boy with parents and crew of the Apollo 12:

My "Royal guide", the woman with all the good keys, told me she was the one who came across the Lego edition of the hotel, built by a man who remembered his father taking him up on the roof in the 1970s.

In other words, not an experience you are likely to forget.


19 January 2014

18 January 2014

The forest and the flirty bike

In January Copenhagen has an abundance of trees. Entire forests of them in fact, on every corner and in every backyard. It's the discarded jule-trees of course, 500 tonnes of them to be exact. The ritual of cutting down a healthy tree, and using it for decoration makes no sense to me, although I understand that it does to others. But at least we could find a way to put them to good use afterwards?

December: for sale/January: for grabs.

Way too late I started investigating the options. Zoo's around Denmark (but not the one in Copenhagen) have invited people to drop of jule-trees, for the animals. Apparently it is a crazy delicious snack to the likes of goats, sheep, monkeys and camels. An attempt to hook some sheep up with the local pines, didn’t take. Ugh, it burns to see the trees go to waste like that. I should have thought of this earlier (kicking myself), but at least now I know when to set the wheels in motion next time. If you have any bright ideas, please let me know.

Further down the road I had to stop for this one. Wet bikes are so flirty, have you noticed?

Wet bike berries

This one stands out, not just because of the dangling glossy berries on stripy string, but the details, mmmm. Looks like a nice, sturdy bike.

Pilen Cykel AB Målilla

Pilen Cykel AB Målilla.

Trimming the bike

After thoroughly documenting and dancing around this yummy bike, I got a flashback to the jule-tree at my grandparents' house. The magic of the jule-tree (mostly a thing for children, really), can easily be transferred to something with a far gentler environmental impact. Anything can be decorated. Even a bike. 

13 January 2014


PS! Remember that nice big water mirror I told you I was crouching over, just before Supermom passed me? I uploaded it to my Flickr stream, as I do with most my Copenhagen pictures, and it was picked as one of the five hundred best of the day. Out of 8.6 million uploads. Whoa? This only goes to show, there is no rainy day so shitty that you can’t make it work for you.


11 January 2014


Yesterday a man interviewing me about Copenhagen said: “I know it is a stretch, but could you say something positive...”. I laughed so hard because I get it: I do rattle cages, and point out what needs to be fixed. But that is only because I love Copenhagen so much, you get that, right? Anyway, he made me think about how I get my message across.

It has been raining more or less non stop for days, and outdoor activities are kept to a minimum, until it passes. You know like in June. As I was headed towards the city centre, I was trying to come up with the one image that would convey what I love so much about living in Copenhagen. My bike was parked alongside of me, and I was crouching over a nice big water mirror, when she passed me: Supermom. With a pink cape and all.

Watermirrors be damned, she was the one. The embodiment of what I love so much about this city: the endurance, biking through all kinds of weather, Supermom pushing two kids on a red bike in a pink cape. I tried to get a better shot.

I tried.

But you have to consider that I was up against superpowers. 

05 January 2014

02 January 2014

Staying safe

Other than champagne, I only have one New Years tradition left: covering up the statue of the Young People Sitting, to protect them from vandalism. I used to cherish the traditional New Years speech, by our Queen Margrethe, but knighting CEO of the Danish Bank (following his admission of guilt, for contributing to the financial crisis) last year, was the final straw. She lost me completely. For all I am concerned, the royal family can retire now. I wish them well, but would appreciate the choice to opt out of supporting their extravagant lifestyle.

The Museum of Copenhagen finally removed the huge container on the Queen Louises Bridge corner, returning our sweet friends, I know I am not the only one who missed them dearly. It is like a tiny corner of order have been restored in Copenhagen. As I was covering them up, a man snickered at me “yeah, good luck with that”. His tone suggesting it was a lost cause. I knew he was wrong of course, and I also know why: he haven’t tried. If he had, he would know that all it takes, is caring. Anything is possible.

Someone else’s tradition have become poking air holes in the wrapping. I feel oddly understood.  

Unharmed. There is no way of knowing if they would have been vandalised, if they had not been covered up. But looking at the scene, three hours into the new year.. 

...I say better safe, than sorry.