Midcentury Masters: Architecture and Design in Denmark and Sweden

In the mid-20th century, architects and cabinetmakers in Denmark and Sweden started a design revolution. They emphasized function, geometry, simple materials and clean, organic lines, and they eschewed the ornamentation of prewar decor. The contemporary style they invented is known as Midcentury Modern, and — from the Egg chair to IKEA — it has forever changed the world of architecture and design. Trace the evolution of Scandinavian design on a journey from Copenhagen to Stockholm, exploring the life and works of midcentury icons like Arne Jacobsen and Carl Malmsten. Spend four nights in thriving Copenhagen, discovering the cutting-edge architecture and design of the past and present and visiting cabinetmakers in their workshop. Then cross into Sweden and head for the Kingdom of Crystal, a collection of towns where an age-old glassblowing tradition has recently been revitalized. Tour a glassworks to learn how molten glass is shaped into crystal or contemporary art and join an expert to try glassblowing for yourself. Cap off the journey in Stockholm with a visit to Carl Malmsten’s boutique and a stroll through a showroom of masterpieces of 20th-century design. Along the way stay in two acclaimed design hotels and sit down to meals at some of Scandinavia’s most innovative and celebrated restaurants.   

Jul 26-Aug 3, 2020

9 Days

8 Nights

Denmark and Sweden

Europe

Architecture & Design

Itinerary
9 Days, 8 Nights

Trip Cost, Per Traveler

$7,595 double occupancy
(Single supplement: $2,150.00 )
$500 Deposit
or Call 855.890.5298
Phone Hours - M-F, 7AM – 5PM PT
Print Itinerary
Expedition Highlights

Discover phenomenal works of architecture in Copenhagen, from the award-winning 8 House to the Zaha Hadid wing of the Ordrupgaard Museum. 

Delve into the life and works of three 20th-century design masters: Danish design leaders Arne Jacobsen and Finn Juhl and Swedish craftsman Carl Malmsten.

Visit two world-renowned design museums — Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen and Vandalorum in Sweden — and stop at the IKEA museum in Älmhult.

Stay amid magnificent works of glass art at the Kosta Boda Art Hotel in Sweden’s Kingdom of Crystal and attend a glassblowing workshop. 

Our Expedition Experts
Sam Lubell  - LA Expeditions Expert

Sam Lubell

Los Angeles Times contributor and Danish design expert.

Day 1

Welcome to Copenhagen

Arrive in Copenhagen and transfer to our hotel, a stunning example of modern Scandinavian design set amid the medieval buildings of the Latin Quarter. Gather tonight for a welcome dinner at Høst, known not only for its inventive, locally inspired cuisine, but also for its award-winning design. (D)

Day 2

Copenhagen’s Astonishing Architecture

After a Scandinavian buffet at our hotel, meet a guide for an architecture tour of Copenhagen, a city in the midst of an exciting cultural renaissance. Visit 8 House, an M.C. Escher-like mix of row houses, retail space and apartments designed in a figure eight that won the housing category at the World Architecture Festival in 2011. See the dazzling play of light and geometry at the Black Diamond, an extension to the Royal Danish Library, and admire the unusual forms of the circular Tietgenkollegiet, designed as the “dormitory of the future.” Stop for a picnic in the park and enjoy smørrebrød, a traditional Danish open-faced sandwich. Then take a behind-the-scenes tour of the furniture workshop at KBH Københavns Møbelsnedkeri, a leading cabinetmaker, and meet the craftspeople to learn about the design and manufacture of their stunning creations. Tonight enjoy dinner in a greenhouse-style restaurant. (B, L, D)

Day 3

Danish Design: Arne Jacobsen and Finn Juhl

Spend the morning immersed in the works of Arne Jacobsen, one of Denmark’s most celebrated architects and a forefather of the Midcentury Modern movement. Jacobsen designed everything from office buildings to the famous Egg chair in a pioneering style that prioritized function and simplicity. Visit the iconic SAS Royal Hotel — now the Radisson Collection Royal Hotel — where every detail was conceived by Jacobsen. A recent refurbishment has revitalized his design elements, but room 606 has been kept in its original form, and it’s possible to peek in if it’s unoccupied. Admire the geometry of the stone-and-glass Danish National Bank, then journey to Bellevue to see more of Jacobsen’s works, including the Skovshoved Petrol Station, a working gas station and historical monument. After lunch, our focus shifts to Finn Juhl, a furniture designer and architect who was a leader in the postwar Danish design movement. Visit Juhl’s home, a Midcentury Modern gem on the grounds of the Ordrupgaard Museum. Continue to the museum, where the collection includes works by Monet, Gauguin and artists from the Danish Golden Age. (B, L, D)

Day 4

Exploring Copenhagen: Designmuseum and Beyond

After breakfast, enjoy a full morning at the Designmuseum Danmark, housed in a former royal hospital and home to a wide range of decorative arts and industrial design, including the works Kaare Klint and Arne Jacobsen. See the largest library dedicated to Scandinavian design, where a database holds a record of all furniture designed in Denmark from 1900 to 2000. Enjoy lunch at your leisure and a free afternoon to explore, or set out on an optional excursion to Hay to see the innovative design company’s furniture and accessories. Take advantage of an evening at leisure to discover Copenhagen on your own. (B)

Day 5

Sweden’s Kingdom of Crystal

This morning cross the 16-kilometer Øresund Bridge that links Denmark and Sweden, stopping to learn about this engineering feat along the way. Continue north to Älmhult, where the world’s first IKEA opened in 1958. After lunch on your own at the IKEA café, visit the new IKEA Museum, which chronicles the company’s evolution from a sales-call-based purveyor of pens and nylon hosiery to a multinational group that has brought Midcentury Modern to the masses. After free time at the museum, continue east into Småland, a landscape of spruce forests and lakes known as Sweden’s “Kingdom of Crystal” or Glasriket. Here, glass artists have crafted fantastic creations for centuries, earning the bucolic region a place in the design world. Your home here is the breathtaking Kosta Boda Art Hotel, designed by one of the most prominent names in glass art. Gather for dinner at the hotel’s Brasserie 1742, where artistically prepared dishes are served amid stunning glass decor. (B, D)

Day 6

Glassblowing Workshop and Vandalorum

Pay a visit to Kosta Glassworks, which is the oldest operating glass factory in Sweden, having first fired up its furnaces in 1742. Learn about the process of making glass art, from melting and blowing to cutting and painting, and watch artisans at work. Continue to Målerås Glassworks for a thrilling glassblowing workshop. Working with a master glassblower, try your hand at transforming molten glass into a crystal bowl by modeling, heating and blowing it into shape. You’ll be able to bring your creation home. After lunch at Brasserie 1742, travel north to Värnamo to visit the renowned Vandalorum Art and Design Museum, where rotating exhibits showcase contemporary art in a space created by some of the world’s top designers. On the return to Kosta, sit down to a memorable dinner at PM & Vänner, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the town of Växjö. (B, L, D)

Day 7

Småland to Stockholm

After breakfast, journey to Stockholm, taking in views of the countryside along the way. Make a stop in Gränna, a traditional Swedish town of wooden houses and cobblestone streets on the shores of Lake Vättern. Here, visit a factory to see confectioners winding ropes of colorful mixtures to make the town’s famous polkagris, or peppermint rock candy. Arrive in Stockholm in the late afternoon and check in to the Sparrow Hotel, a French-inspired boutique hotel in the city center. Discover one of the many restaurants within walking distance of the hotel during an evening at leisure. (B, L)

Day 8

Malmsten and the Nordic Masters

This morning meet with students at one of Stockholm’s leading design schools to discuss current trends. Then delve into the works of one of Sweden’s cultural icons and masters of design, Carl Malmsten, whose furniture graced famous buildings from the Stockholm Concert Hall to the Waldorf Astoria. At the Malmstenbutiken, a store he opened in 1940 that is now run by his grandson, examine furniture and decor created by Malmsten as a modern take on traditional Swedish craftsmanship. Enjoy lunch at your leisure before gathering for a visit to Modernity, a boutique that specializes in 20th-century Nordic design and exhibits its furnishings at design fairs and museums around the world. Wander among masterpieces by renowned designers in the showroom and meet the curator to learn how these gems are found and their provenance determined. Celebrate your journey at a farewell dinner this evening, dining high above the city at Gondolen, a Stockholm favorite perched on a suspended bridge with expansive views of the old city and beyond. (B, D)

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