DESIGN & FOOD: OUR TRIP TO COPENHAGEN PART II (II)

Continuing from my previous post on Louisiana, the Entry fee was surprisingly cheap at only 115 DKK (£11.50) for Adults and 100 DKK (£10) for me, a student. It lets you into any of the exhibitions and the numerous permanent collections. One thing I am unsure of is whether you can see the permanent pieces for free – but to see Kusama, it’s well worth it.

I’ve known about Kusama’s work for ages, but it wasn’t until a documentary last year on BBC4 about her & the Pop art scene had I really started to tune in with her and her work. The documentary was both brilliant and harrowing. I hadn’t realised that her life is governed by these polkadots, a symptom of her depersonalization syndrome, which made seeing it in real life all the more poignant and thought provoking.

The exhibition follows Kusama’s life work and the development of her life from her beginnings in a conservative, restrictive Japan, to her revolutionary body of work and performances in New York, to the work she has created from the hospital that she resides in in Tokyo.

 

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One of the installations in the exhibition is a red room lined with mirrors, with big statues of red spheres all festooned with Kusama’s dots. It truly is a sight to see and experience. The exhibition is on until the 24th of January, so if you’re in the area I’d urge you to see it!

At the time there was also an exhibition looking at Lucien Freud’s sketches. Accustomed to his vast paintings, this exhibition gave an insight on the artist, his process and made me appreciate him more than I already did (which is hard).

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Louisiana itself has amazing pieces of its own right from famed Danish artists like Asger Jorn, Karl Isakson and Richard Mortensen to International artists like Giaccometti, Klein, Warhol, Oldenburg to name a few. The place is chock full of great pieces such as their sculpture Garden, which features works by  Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Alexander Calder & Max Ernst.

 

 

 

I was in art heaven! I hadn’t been this close to a piece of Giaccometti’s work before. After studying his use of forms in my life drawing classes, I could see every contour in the sculpture. It was great! It had made my day, and it was only the early afternoon! It was also great to see a school, out on a trip sketching and studying the sculptures.

Before we set off again (with some new art books in tow) we just marvelled at the view from the building. It was a glorious day and I swear you could see Skåne/ or a part of Sweden across the crystal blue water.

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We made our way back on the train southward. It was past 2pm by this point and the breakfast had long vanished. I was ravenous. When we got back into the bustling capital, leaving the quiet suburbs behind, I had to grab something to eat. That was where the famous and trusty Danish hotdog stand or Pølsevogn came in handy.

Say hej to the famous Rødpolse. A hotdog sausage by nature, this foodstuff is something that Danes hold close to their hearts, and I would too. You can have it on its own, in a bun or ‘french style’, which is in a baguette style bun with a hole cut in the middle. Then come the toppings. The Danes love their toppings! You can have crispy onions, raw onions, mustard, ketchup (although different from Heinz), a Danish condiment called remoulade (is something else close to the Danish hearts) which tastes creamy with mayo and tart with a pickly bite. Or do as the Danes do and have them all or ‘alle’. It costs under 50 DKK, which makes it the cheapest form of fast food (considering the likes of McDonalds and Burger King are far more expensive than here in the UK) you can see how its a revered symbol of Denmark in the same way that wurst is a symbol of Germany.

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With the motor up and running again, we dropped back our stuff at our host’s apartment then it was back out again. Since Copenhagen is the city of bikes – seriously like everyone cycles – it’s weird seeing hundreds of bikes outside office buildings, essentially the equivalent of a car park. We just had to give it a go. We had a plan of moseying on down to the Normann Copenhagen store on Østerbrogade, and whilst we were at it we’d soak in some of the scenery. Now bear in mind, other than exercise bikes, my feet hadn’t touched bike pedals since I was 14. We rented out some of the city bikes which weren’t too bad a price 25 DKK per hour, but I definitely know it is cheaper (and probably better) to rent a bike from a bike shop, as they were damn heavy. Heavy and cumbersome to move, they definitely weren’t getting stolen any time soon xD As I mentioned, being inexperienced I was a bit wobbly at first but I soon found a steady rhythm (my hands hardly moving  away from the brakes and always behind Tom.) It really is a nice city to ride in, very scenic as you pass the lakes. Before long we had arrived at our destination.

 

The flagship Normann was huge and beautiful. Situated in a building that used to be an old theatre and water distillery, it is 1700 m2 of pure Scandi, stripped back design. I was loving it! All of my favourite Normann Copenhagen products were set in amazing geometric displays. They even had the beautifully designed (but hard to find in the UK) Normann Tea range. What I loved the most were the little Form Chair  miniatures peppered throughout the space, it gave it a sense of fun and whimsy. Like finding a hiding Little My from the Moomins. With some chai tea, in a beautiful citrine tin and a Skandinavisk KOTO candle (co designed by my favourite little Irishman Mr Walnut Grey, as part of the Design Bloggers United) . Now, somehow we had to get it all back and it was rush hour. Err, we hadn’t really thought this through. Tom being the hero that he is managed to carry the bag on his arm and cycle. This is nothing compared to the Danes though, being so used to cycling you see people having a morning chat, carrying a baby, carrying groceries all whilst cycling. From having little/ no confidence at the beginning, I was starting to become a bit cocky. I wanted to chat side by side with Tom, but in practice it was a distaster. Forgetting that they also use the lane to overtake and in rush hour, here was me going a nice steady pace chatting away with my partner before being sworn off the road by an angry Dane. The Danish are a lovely people but don’t be stupid and mess around with their cycling IN RUSH HOUR!

Finally getting back to the apartment, we chilled for a few hours before heading off for my birthday feast with my childhood friend, Rhianwen (IG @adashofplants) and her partner, Trine  (IG @milkingalmonds) who runs the amazing vegan food hub that is Milking almonds. I couldn’t wait! Reading their blogs had got me into food blogging myself plus I hadn’t seen Rhianwen in years, I just knew it was going to be amazing.

We started off with a simple dressed bean & chilli squash salad with raw onion to give it some bite. That made way for the main event… Pulled jackfruit tacos with more chilli spiced squash, a piquant creamy sauce, vanilla infused pickled onions and plenty of fresh coriander. All washed down with a number of Cuba libres and bottles of Corona. It was off the scale tasty and jackfruit is such a convincing meat alternative, that an omnivore (albeit I like to embrace many plant based recipes in my diet)  I could not tell the difference. Either that or it’s the cooking 😉

We finished the night off with some cinnamony sweet churros with a deep, dark and really spicy chocolate dipping sauce. It was the best birthday present ever, thanks/tak/diolch!!

Full and slightly tipsy from the rum, it was time to say goodbye and head home back to the apartment.

 

 

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Design & Food: Our Trip to Copenhagen part II (i)

The second day was a very important day indeed, it was my 22nd birthday! So we had planned to cram in as much as possible. On Theis’ recommendation it was off to Nørreport to a food hall called Torvehallerne. He recommended it to us when we told him about Borough market, in London. A quick hop on the train from Forum and we were there. It’s around the corner from the station, so it wasn’t long before my rumbling tummy was sated. You can’t miss it too, with its glass box construction reflecting the sun’s light. We got there quite early, most of the stalls hadn’t yet opened, but the ones that had were good enough!

Stopping for a coffee and some wienerbrød, this was an amazing start to my birthday. We both shared some snegl (a cinnamon swirl) and a Træstamme ( a marzipan & rum flavoured cake). It was amazing, and the coffee complimented the warm spicy tones of the snegl.

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Another stall which was open (only just!) was the liquor & vinegar seller. As soon as I saw it, I had to get some real akvavit/ snaps. The only Scandinavian liquor I can get readily back home is the akvavit from IKEA in Cardiff, so to get proper stuff was a must! I had plans of using it for my Danish themed christmas, to serve with the starter of smørrebrød. Buying it was a bit weird though. As myself and Tom had gone ‘hand luggage only’ we were limited to a max of 100ml to take home with us, which wasn’t enough, so we bought two 100ml bottles albeit being more expensive than the 200ml bottle. Oh well! The small bottles are a lot cuter.

Our last stop at the food hall was at a food stall Grød (meaning porridge). Now, don’t get me wrong porridge is ok, it’s healthy and filling etc but it can be a bit boring. Not here! The Danes have taken porridge and given it some well needed pizzazz. Already filled up on pastries we didn’t have enough room for a bowl each, but we had to try some. Put before us, two spoons, ice cold milk puddling in the steaming hot oat porridge, and the toppings!  Roasted almonds, crunchy fresh apple and a big dollop of sickly sweet dulce de leche. More of a dessert than a breakfast. But, a perfect Bday treat.

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Wanting to burn off a little of the food before our next destination we decided to scout the area, popping into a few of the shops nearby. The thing about Denmark, even their cheap shops are pretty stylish. Whereas back home, to find something stylish in our little ‘pound shop’ style stores is like finding a needle in a haystack. Design in Scandinavia is taken so seriously that it has filtered down to cater for all budgets. I found some awesome little grid pattern glass pots for 15 DKK (£1.50) that were just calling out to be filled with salt scrub. Oh and this happened.

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Time was ticking on, so we made a move and hopped on the next train to Louisiana art gallery.  The scenery on the train journey was a pleasant surprise, as we passed many residential areas of the outer boroughs of Copenhagen, which you wouldn’t normally see on a city break holiday. Stopping at the Humblebæk station, you’d never think that were were in the midst of a cutting edge modern art gallery. The surrounding  area was well, very quaint. A quiet suburb with lots of big wooden houses (stained black) with immaculate gardens and the odd Danish flag. But sure enough, around the corner, by a wall of trees in their Autumnal glory it stood there camouflaged in a skin of ivy. The trees in hues of ochre, umber and russet contrasted beautifully with the bright green of the gallery.

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Adding to the Autumnal tones were three big statues in bronze of gourds and pumpkins by Japanese Pop artist Yaoi Kusama. Bespeckled with her trademark polkadot pattern, these were a taster of what we had come to see, a retrospective of her works, as well as the gallery’s extensive permanent collections.

– In the next post I’ll describe and review the gallery, the exhibitions and my birthday meal, courtesy of my childhood friend and her Danish partner.