50 different chairs arranged outside, viewed from above

50 Upcycled Wooden Chairs Are on Display at Copenhagen’s Connie-Connie Café

Multidisciplinary design studio TABLEAU commissioned 25 up-and-comers to create seats for Copenhagen Contemporary’s new eatery using offcuts provided by flooring giant Dinesen.

Located in a repurposed welding workshop along the Danish capital’s rapidly redeveloping outer harbor, Copenhagen Contemporary is a kunsthalle-style art center that hosts a range of installations, screenings, and performances. The latest addition to the vast industrial space is a new café, called Connie-Connie, that was designed by local practice TABLEAU. Cast in all-encompassing swathes of sage green and plaster white, the eatery is adorned with an eclectic array of chairs, stools, and benches developed by some of today’s most promising architects, artists, and designers. The 50  different pieces of furniture were created using Douglas Fir offcuts provided by Danish flooring manufacturer Dinesen

“When talking to the museum about a flower arrangement we were developing for one of their shows, we also learned that its directors were planning to open a café,” says TABLEAU creative director Julius Værnes Iversen. “The prospect of creating a unique universe within this context intrigued us, and we offered up our services.” Because Copenhagen Contemporary had a small budget, the multifaceted studio—known in part for its avant-garde yet visually engaging set designs—envisioned an ingenious plan. 

group of eclectic chairs on green background
A minimalist bar and tables conceived by Australian designer Ari Prasetya blend into architecture and serve as a canvas for these diversely bold settees. COURTESY MARCO VAN RINTJ

“I came up with the idea of implementing leftover materials and learned that Dinesen, a company I’d worked with many times before, was trying to find a way of using the residuals of its wood flooring products,” Værnes Iversen adds. “We approached the manufacturer with the concept of asking 25 talents to use the off-cut material and develop chairs for the cafe. I’ve been trying to be more responsible when it comes to producing new objects and spaces for a while now. This was the perfect opportunity to do so.” Bringing these different stakeholders together was a win-win situation, giving young talents a different type of exposure, demonstrating the company’s sustainable ethos, and giving the cultural institution a dynamic collection of seating for their new space. 

From amorphous articulations to architectonic constructions, the collection of 50 works represents the full breadth of contemporary trends. “We really wanted to see a large variation in the objects,” he explains. “We chose to work with artists who do design, designers that do art, and architects that do all three creative exercises at once.” Giving talents like OMA architect Paul Cournet, Belgian maverick Arnaud Eubelen, and local polymath Anna Clarisse Holck Wæhrens free rein, Værnes Iversen only insisted on certain dimensional constraints. 

a selection fo chairs surround green tables
a selection of chairs displayed on top of the green bar

While Austrian designer Laurids Gallée’s Grid+Wine stool is indicative of his now-iconic marquetry technique, Kristine Mandsberg’s Cube Stool incorporated a foam treated surface that renders the wood with a marbleized texture. Petersen & Hein’s carved The Fairy-Tale Hero piece takes on a corporeal quality. Kim Lenschow’s Beam Bench directly translates from the ubiquitous architectural component. Thomas Gayet’s playful How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck combine expresses a similar aesthetic approach. The seat as an archetype was reevaluated in Nathalie P. Koerner’s Jigsaw Chair, D. Ronco and P. Dorigo’s Cut-On Chair, and Kevin Josias’s Institutional Chair. Anne Brandhøj’s Bock Cuts and Frederik Gustav’s Bank (Neutral) works demonstrate an exploration of massing and layering that is common throughout the collection.All of the pieces—originals and reproductions—are currently for sale through TABLEAU’s online store. 

chairs arranged in double height space with white staircase
table and benches in a green room

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