Hygge; a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture) – Oxford Dictionary
On Tuesday 13th June, we were invited to attend a presentation on Hygge and Architecture – The Human Element in Architecture at The Royal Danish Embassy. This event marked the opening of the Liveable City Conference which was organised in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects and formed part of the programme for the London Festival of Architecture.
With a welcoming reception of drinks and canapés on the terrace of The Royal Danish Embassy, the event had enticed people from various walks of life to attend. There were large presentation boards on display which celebrated Danish Architecture and Design around the World. It was fascinating to see the images and read about the specific projects. Our Senior Interior Designer, Ailsa Macgregor, had seen some of the projects displayed first hand on her trip to explore Scandinavian Design last November (you can read Ailsa’s blog on her experience here) So it was interesting to hear her thoughts on the architecture featured.
The Danish Architect and Partner at 3XN, Marie Hesseldahl Larsen shared her thoughts on the connection between ‘hygge’ and her architectural projects. It was fascinating to see her presentation images and learn how all of the spaces really considered how people interact with architecture and their immediate surroundings when in public spaces for both social and formal situations, but also with this underlying feeling of ‘hygge’ evident in all of the spaces.
After the presentation Danish treats and pastries were served alongside cold beers to enforce the feeling of ‘hygge’ in the evening. We spoke with other designers and architects as well as people in totally different professions – it was great to converse about what we had all learnt! We also spoke with one of the organisers who explained to us about the significance of The Royal Danish Embassy architecture, designed by Danish Architect Arne Jacobsen. The purpose-built embassy houses the chancellery functions as well as the Ambassador’s residence and staff flats so that the synergy between work and play can flow throughout the day into the evenings. The terrace courtyard provides the perfect space for unwinding and catching up with everyone.
We all went not really sure how to pronounce ‘hygge’ but keen to learn and understand more about this phenomenon! We now know it is pronounced ‘hue-guh’ and it essentially is being in a moment and recognising it as feeling cosy, charming, sociable, and a good time – aka Hygge (we also learnt that it doesn’t hurt to have beer, food, and good company available too!)
We all thoroughly enjoyed our evening out, and look forward to experiencing more hygge in the future!