April 9, 2014 Mid-Century Modern

Design Destination: Tour the Danish Embassy

Danish Embassy

Danish mid-century design is hot. You can get a taste of it right here in Washington by touring the Danish Embassy on May 10 as part of the EU’s open house day.

The 1960 Danish Embassy is the first modern embassy in Washington. It was designed in 1947 by Danish architect Vilhelm Lauritzen and opened in 1960.

Lauritzen met with Walter Gropius, who, along with students, worked with Lauritzen on the project, which connected the ambassador’s residence to the embassy by a glass corridor. Henrik Kaufmann, the Danish ambassador after World War II, wanted a modern building rather than one of the existing mansions to serve as the office space and ambasador’s residence and to reflect the Danish ethos of modesty and equality. “If the different sections are gathered in one new and modern decorated building the work will be more efficient, several expenses will be reduced and some will even vanish completely,” Kaufmann said. ” The love of work will increase and the number of days lost through illness will go down.”

Leading Danish designer Finn Juhl was in charge of furnishing the interior, using such iconic pieces as Arne Jacobsen’s “Swan” and “Egg” chairs, the lighting of Poul Henningsen and some of his own furniture designs.

Danish Embassy

A glass bridge connects the ambassador’s residence to the right with the offices on the left.

Danish Embassy

Marble-floored foyer of the ambassador’s residence. The interior and exterior marble is from Greenland.

A view from inside the foyer.

Poul Henningsen chandelier

Very rare Poul Henningsen lighting.

Jacobsen Egg Chair in Danish Embassy.

Designs by Arne Jacobsen, including this Egg Chair, and other Danish designers can be seen throughout the residence.

Danish Embassy Dining Room.

The dining room in the ambassador’s residence features the Henningsen lighting.

A view from the residence’s terrace.

The back of the chancery. The offices overlook the pool.

Four Jacobsen swan chairs

Jacobsen’s Swan Chairs.

The white marble from Greenland covers the facade.