Armchair Traveler

The Colors of Copenhagen

Dung Ngo

Our resident wanderer, Dung Ngo, reflects the Thorvaldsen Museum from the comfort of his living room

In our collective design imagination, every city has its own unique color scheme, and the prevailing impression of Copenhagen entails a limited palette of untreated oak, raw linen, and perhaps the patina of vintage leather and a glint of brass. This is definitely the gorgeous trend popularized by such local heroes as Oliver Gustav and FRAMA's Niels Stroyer Christophersen. However another color story emerges while walking around Copenhagen itself, one that is vibrant, deeply hued, and literally embedded into the city’s architecture and interiors.

Much of Copenhagen’s traditional architecture was built between 1750 and 1850. The influence of Italian classicism permeates these buildings, but it's filtered through the Nordic eye. Nowhere is this more evident than the Thorvaldsen Museum, centrally located next to the Christiansborg Palace.

Built to house the work of one of Denmark’s most famous sculptors, Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770–1844), the building—especially its interiors by Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll—is a masterpiece of color. Enfiladed rooms are plastered in saturated tones of aubergine, mustard, hunter green, and cobalt blue—while the intricate terrazzo floors change pattern and color in each space. The results not only contrast and amplify Thorvaldsen’s white marble works but also inspire you to want to start your own line of paint that replicates this sublime palette. ◆

Inside the Thorvaldsen Museum 1/9

Inside the Thorvaldsen Museum 2/9

Inside the Thorvaldsen Museum 3/9

Inside the Thorvaldsen Museum 4/9

Inside the Thorvaldsen Museum 5/9

Inside the Thorvaldsen Museum 6/9

Inside the Thorvaldsen Museum 7/9

Inside the Thorvaldsen Museum 8/9

Inside the Thorvaldsen Museum 9/9


All images © Dung Ngo courtesy of AUGUST Journal