Copenhagen Apartment

WORDS Maria Chiara Antonini & Kissa Castañeda/August Agency PRODUCTION Maria Chiara Antonini PHOTOS Johanna Lehtinen


The blank canvas of this Danish apartment holds a cornucopia of art and colour that constantly evolves with its occupants’ mood and prized finds.

With its perfectly preserved heritage buildings interspersed with trendy boutiques and cosy cafés, Østerbro is one of the most beautiful areas of Copenhagen. And it’s in this charming, verdant spot that Poul Madsen, co-founder and CEO of design brand Normann Copenhagen, decided to put down roots.

Built in 1893, with a brick facade, ornate details and a tower that stands on the highest point of the roof, the apartment is an elegant find. “I have always loved the architectural style of these buildings,” says Poul. “Also, the area has a peaceful mood suitable for families, and nature everywhere – all just a few minutes from the centre of Copenhagen.”

READ MORE: Parama Cape Town Apartment

The home spans a generous 341m2, and occupies the entire second floor of the building. Bright and inviting, it is both an ideal family space and perfect for hosting the many friends Poul and his wife Karen often invite. “When we renovated this house, we wanted to make it even more welcoming, which we did by enlarging the kitchen, adding a bathroom, and changing the floors and walls,” he says. “After seven months of renovations, where we followed strict rules because it’s an old building, we finally have the home we always dreamed of. It’s a place where our daughter Wilma can grow up, and a practical space to have friends and relatives over.”

Copenhagen Apartment
In one of this Copenhagen apartment’s three living rooms (closest to the kitchen), the sofa and coffee tables by Normann Copenhagen and Cassina armchair serve as a perfect minimalist foil to the painting by Swedish artist Jens Hedin.

Overall, the apartment exudes a contemporary spirit filled with bursts of colour courtesy of the various art and design pieces. The home office, for example, has a Finn Juhl desk paired with a chair by Normann Copenhagen, while a leather armchair by Maarten van Severen holds court nearby. Look up and you’ll see the iconic Bell chandelier, while on the floor is a large, striking rug. Peppered throughout are small sculptures and modern art, the latter a particular passion of Poul’s.

The home office leads onto a succession of spaces, including three distinct living rooms with individual moods. The first has expansive windows that frame a lovely view of Sortedam Lake, and is a place for relaxation. The second space is more of a reading room, one entire wall lined with shelves of art books, vases and sculptures. Both rooms feature Normann Copenhagen sofas, armchairs and coffee tables, as well as artworks sourced from various galleries and at auctions. The third sitting room is smaller than the others and more minimal in style, with custom-made furniture.

copenhagen apartment
In the dining room – the heart of the home, and the perfect space for entertaining – chairs by Normann Copenhagen surround a long table by Gubi. The original Murano glass chandelier was sourced by the owners during a holiday in Venice, and the predominantly blue painting on the wall is by Martin Påskesen.

At the heart of the apartment is the dining room and kitchen, anchored by a long black table by Danish brand Gubi. It is here that the family spend time together every morning, and where they hold dinner parties. Illuminating the space is a special chandelier bought on the island of Murano during a holiday in Venice, while a pair of made-to-measure consoles lean against two walls. The kitchen is the last communal space before you reach the three bedrooms, all of which are furnished with a simpler, more calming approach.

READ MORE: Bo-Kaap Home

Two elements that tie every room in the apartment together are the light wood flooring and the clean white walls, which together serve as a canvas for the striking artworks and eclectic furniture and accessories that the couple collect. “We didn’t need an architect or an interior designer to help us with our home – we had clear ideas regarding the division of spaces,” says Poul.

But while they were decisive with the layout, he admits they shift or add things all the time – so much so that their home is always in a state of creative flux. “I’d say that, about once a month, we change something: we order a new piece of furniture, we move another one, we buy new accessories or pieces of art,” he says. “Our apartment is constantly changing – and that’s exactly the way we want it to be.”

Looking for more architectural inspiration? Sign up to our weekly newsletter, here.