Furniture Design Abroad: A New Adventure

Hello! I’m Gaby, I am a Sculptor studying at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. I have been drawing and painting for life, then I gradually became a 3D artist. I am specifically interested in studio furniture, which is the blending of sculpture and furniture. My favorite materials to work in are wood, fabric, metal, and found objects. I chose to come to DIS in Copenhagen because the furniture course was recommended by my furniture teacher. Out of all the other abroad opportunities I considered, the DIS program seemed like the best fit for my practice. Copenhagen seemed like a great location as the appreciative treatment of craft is valued, along with sustainability of materials.

While I am here abroad, I hope to learn more about the history of Danish furniture design and manufacturing, specifically in the techniques used, and if I can replicate them today. I hope my final project will achieve the requirements needed, as well as be enlightening in order to bring the traditional ways of Danish craftsmanship, and design home with me. The city of Copenhagen feels cozy, and very familiar. I was surprised that the locals here assumed the lanes close to the sidewalk were different from the U.S, and they are, but not for me. I am from Minneapolis, a city known for having good bike trails, which are based off of Copenhagen’s bike trails. I ride my bike quite frequently at home. But I thought all of the brick buildings were very special. The architecture is quite old so I appreciate that the art and motifs upon the buildings are still preserved.

The first morning in Copenhagen, I went on the boat tour. As someone who is pursuing an Art History minor, I greatly appreciate learning the history of the city. Probably, a shocking thing I learned is that it is safe to swim in the canal here. It really goes to show how clean the city claims to be if the people trust their water that runs directly through the city. Rather than taking the bus to school, I have found myself enjoying hikes through the walking trail area. The other day after the rain I saw snails, and I have never seen snails like those before. They were huge compared to the ones at home, and it felt like they just appeared right in front of me. I also enjoy bird watching. I have never seen a Magpie in person before, they are quite large and social birds. I plan on getting a Danish flora and fauna identification book, as I am quite enamored with all of the flowering trees and new plants everywhere.

The first weekend, my classmate and I went on a train adventure to the Northern city of Helsingør. When we arrived the train state was quite regal, and had statues of Hamlet and Ophelia in front. We walked through the streets and visited some antique shops. The antiques were amazing. I found a sewing machine from the USSR, and I purchased a hunting bugle from 1890. I plan on going back for more antiquing. A little later we visited St. Olaf’s church, found Hamlet’s grave, then found the maritime museum. There were boats and boats and boats. The models were amazing with the sheer amount of detail and care from the artists. Then the final place we visited was the Kronborg Castle. This is the type of castle to only appear in fairy tales. It had a moat with a drawbridge at the entrance. Something that was very special was the castle door had two statues, one of Poseidon and one of Hermes. Which is perfect as it is a sea castle with many travelers. I hope to go back to Kronborg, but with my plein air supplies and paint the castle on site.

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