Copenhagen airport 22.02.16

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Denmark’s biggest airport maintains its reputation for stylish, rational design with its new expansion by Schmidt Hammer Lassen, writes Andrew Ayers

Right from the start, when the simple wooden passenger hall was replaced by a modern terminal building in 1939, the Danes have considered Copenhagen Airport a showcase for the country’s design talent. The original modernist terminal by Vilhelm Lauritzen, which was inspired by Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus, has since been replaced by two buildings dating from the 1960s and the 1990s (both by Lauritzen’s firm).


Arne Jacobsen's Series 7 chairs are used in waiting areas

These have just been extended by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects (SHL) to accommodate the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane. One of the characteristics of Lauritzen’s buildings was that travellers were able to orient themselves easily by seeing the planes; SHL’s new Pier C follows this example. Farfalle-shaped in plan to allow aircraft to berth close, its three gates and lounges feature floor-to-ceiling glazing that draws in daylight and provides close-up views of the planes.

This is accentuated by a binary contrast of light and dark, with black cladding outside, and black ceilings and brilliant-white walls and floors inside. “The black exterior embraces the light interior, where one moves as if on a cloud, with white marble floors and a light, calm, rational and typical Scandinavian decor,” says project architect Mads Engel. “We have created a subdued, contemplative mood, so you can relax before a long-haul flight.”

SHL worked with furniture makers Jönsson and Fritz Hansen on interiors, which feature the latter’s classic Arne Jacobsen Series 7 chairs prominently – in black, mounted on pedestals instead of their usual four legs – as well as giant circular lights that reference the 1960s bubble roofs in Terminal 2. Gate and lounge spaces have been merged to reduce distances and increase capacity, while intermediary supports are kept to a minimum to accentuate the sensation of floating in airy, infinite space.

Our current issue focuses on Scandinavian design – click below to read more about it



Andrew Ayers


Above: The building's butterfly shape allows aircraft to gate close to the windows 

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