Press release 06/03/2018


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Nikolina Olsen-Rule
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Copenhageners and tourists will get access to a new, welcoming, and recreational plaza when audience magnet Designmuseum Danmark expands to become an outdoor meeting place for everyone who loves design. The current low-visibility area in front of the museum’s beautiful building from the 1700s in Bredgade, Copenhagen will be improved significantly so it is a more appealing place to spend time outdoors.

“We look forward to welcoming our many guests in an even more outward-looking museum,” says Anne-Louise Sommer, museum director of Designmuseum Danmark.

The museum – which until 2011 was called Kunstindustrimuseet, or the Danish Museum of Decorative Art – doesn’t just want to be one of Europe’s top design destinations. It wants to open the museum’s unique historic environment to the public.

“We want to give something back to the city. This new plaza, which respects the location’s historic value, will give the surrounding area a modern and contemporary profile,” says Sommer.

In 2017 the museum broke its previous visitor record, and in only six years it has increased its visitor numbers by 500%. It is now one of the top 5 most visited Copenhagen museums. More than 50% of its visitors are under 30 years old, and 80% are tourists, but Copenhageners are also increasingly coming to the museum for design events, exhibits, collections, the library, and the design workshop.

“We’re experiencing an explosive growth in the number of visitors, so we need to expand in order to be a world-class design museum for the 21st century,” says Sommer, who sees the development of the plaza and its outdoor facilities as an important step in that development.

Renovation of the historically-listed area facing Bredgade means:

  • An informal city space will be established, which along with a newly-opened café and shop will create an intimate atmosphere for spending time, enjoying experiences, and attending events in the Copenhagen neighbourhood Frederiksstaden.
  • Design from the museum’s exhibits will be moved outside into specially-created glass displays – inspired by Danish design icon Kaare Klint’s original design from the 1920s – so passer-by get a chance to see contemporary design for free.
  • Ticket sales, the shop, and the café will move into a side building on the plaza, which will free up space in the main building.
  • The space will be made more accessible for the disabled and allow for easier access to the museum’s exhibits.
  • People who have walked by the museum since October may have noticed that the project is already underway: the historic gates of the old Frederik’s Hospital, where the museum is housed, are currently being restored. As part of the renovation, the sculptures and pillars on the gate created by royal sculptor Johan Christoph Petzold (1708 – 1762) will be refurbished.



The new public-friendly plaza is expected to be ready for its official debut on 1 November 2018. The official construction kick-off will be 1 May 2018. The museum is open for guests throughout the construction period; the plaza area, with its historically protected cobblestones, will be restored in stages. The chief architect on the project is COBE, and the project was made possible by a generous donation of Dk25 million by Annie & Otto Johs. Detlefs Fonde.