Copenhagen’s Ibsens Hotel was refurbished by the Brochner family in 1997. They transformed it from a hostel with shared bathrooms, fussy wallpaper and pictures of roaring stags in heavy gilt frames to a clean-lined, cool space with quintessential Danish design.
The hotel is located in Nansensgade, an artsy neighborhood known for its cafes, galleries, vintage shops and secondhand bookstore. The family invited local artisans and vendors to contribute to the hotel’s new design. In addition to these emerging designers’ contributions, there are auction house finds and products from more established Copenhagen companies.
The red neon “HOTEL” sign is original. The façade was opened up with large glass doors on all sides.
The reception area boasts a map of the city, and a wall of keys that is a functional, art installation.
The leather luggage tags that serve as the room key chains were designed and made by Piet Breinholm. Breinholm is a drummer who starting designing leather schoolbags due to all the compliments he received on the old leather schoolbag he toted around Manhattan on a trip seven years ago.
A close up of a leather key tag on a felted flannel chair. Notice that the hotel uses real keys, not plastic cards; this is a conscious “homey” decision.
Believe it or not, the graffiti-covered piece is actually the hotel’s guest vault. It’s comprised of a bunch of old safe deposit boxes stacked on top of each other. Artist Sunny Asemota added the color.
The breakfast and beverage bar is an extension of the reception desk, as one goes deeper into the hotel, into the lounge area.
Here’s the hotel’s special morning spread, “breakfast in a glass.” There’s an Italian restaurant, La Rocca, attached to the hotel too. In addition, two market halls, Torvehallerne, recently opened around the corner, with seasonal produce, baked goods and other delicious specialties.
The French industrial pendants, formerly used in French factories as working lighting, were found at the local vintage store Nansensgade No. 40. The robust, wooden tables for communal dining (the hotel dubbed them “mingle tables”) were made by the 100-year-old cabinet maker workshop Jul. Moller & Son.
The sculptures are by artist and economist Pia Hutters, who hotel co-owner Kirsten Brochner-Mortensen discovered at a parent’s night for her daughter’s school. The artwork is part of an innovative program called Art Money, through which artists can pay for goods and services with original artwork. The pieces are for sale. (We’ll be posting more on this organization soon.)
The powder-coated metal log holder to the left of the fireplace is actually a newspaper rack designed by Wencke Barfoed and Elizabeth Skytte of We Shop, whose products can be found at the Copenhagen’s Danish Design Museum and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
The vintage turntable was donated by the secondhand shop Würtz Radio, which has been in the neighborhood for almost 50 years. Guests are invited to bring vinyl and give it a spin.
At the back of the common area, behind wrought iron and glass doors, is a small library/conference room. Secondhand book dealer Jess Jessen of Antiquarian Bookstore down the street, helped stock the shelves.
The cotton cushions found throughout the lounge are by textile designer Krestine Kjaerholm, the daughter of furniture designer Poul Kjaerholm and Hanne Kjaerholm, Denmark’s first and only female professor of architecture.
The mattress and bedding are so comfortable. The chartreuse throw on the bed, called the Baby Dot Quilt and the two Dot Cushions in Steelcut Trio are by Danish home furnishings company Hay. The platform bed is high enough so that suitcases can be stowed underneath, freeing up valuable floor space.
The view out the window of one of the hotel rooms. At night, you can see into the apartments across the street; such fabulously designed, simple spaces that are very Danish.
Special thanks to VisitDenmark for hosting our trip.