SPACE design Copenhagen restaurants 30.09.11

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There's no room for one more big restaurant in Copenhagen," says Peter Bundgaard Rützou, co-founder of SPACE. "We've done everything." He and his partner Signe Bindslev Henriksen have designed several of the most celebrated eateries in the city, including NOMA, which opened in 2004 and boasts a six-month waiting list, having been ranked best restaurant in the world at the S Pellegrino awards two years running. Despite this, Henriksen explains, it is still very much a work in progress. Each season, chef René Redzepi, whose eccentric menu brings foraging to the high table, invites the duo to make refinements to the unpretentious interior of the former warehouse. It is distinctly Scandinavian, both rustic and elegant, with a predominance of stone and wood. "There is a certain authority in using natural materials," Rützou says.

In contrast, Geranium – a well-lit, marble-lined restaurant at the top of FC Copenhagen's stadium – for chef Rasmus Kofoed, this year's winner of the prestigious Bocuse D'or, has a 1930s rigour. "We like working with classical motifs and then we fuck it up a little bit," Rützou says. "Our challenge was to bring charm to a very uncharming building." Kofoed "wanted a very disciplined space", Henriksen adds, explaining that the chef spent 3,000 hours honing the dishes that won his gold medal: "He's a little bit anal." In the spotless, low, open-plan kitchen/laboratory (the only room with a view of the football pitch) someone is picking watercress from a bowl with a pair of tweezers.

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credit Georg Jensen

Another restaurant, Geist, for flamboyant Michelin-starred chef Bo Bech, opened earlier this year. It has a screen with an art-nouveau flourish, tables of smooth unpolished oak, and chandeliers that the duo constructed themselves using off-cuts from Georg Jensen, the Danish silversmith for whom they recently designed a series of mercury-like Liquid bowls in stainless steel. There is a long bar, intended for eating as well as drinking, with a special high-backed stool to provide diners with comfort for an entire meal. The stool is part of SPACE's Spine collection for Fredericia Furniture, all the pieces of which, in leather, oak and ash, have a distinctive wishbone motif. This is inspired by Hans Wegner's Wishbone chair from the 1950s – a particular favourite of Henrikson's.

On the walls of SPACE's office are new designs for Stellar Works; a collection of furniture with subtle Asian motifs that they're launching in China; and sketches of billowing jellyfish that have inspired a range of outdoor lighting. But, having dominated Copenhagen, the duo hope, and deserve, to do more restaurant interiors for international clients. One can even imagine their distinctive brand of Nordic elegance making for a wonderful high-end hotel.

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credit Georg Jensen

 

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SPACE Copenhagen

 

Words

Christopher Turner

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Our challenge was to bring charm to a very uncharming building. Kofoed wanted a very disciplined space

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