One of the best things about living in Washington, D.C., is the city’s assemblage of cultures from all over the world. Last week I took advantage of this situation by heading over to the Royal Danish Embassy, which held an open house at its 1960 Ambassador’s Residence, designed by Vilhelm Lauritzen in collaboration with Walter Gropius.
The occasion was gather.HYGGE, an exhibition designed by graduate students from the Corcoran College of Art + Design for the Embassy’s annual Creative Christmas program. It’s rare for the house to be open to the public, so I jumped on the opportunity to see its architecture and its Danish Modern furniture.
I wasn’t disappointed. Lauritzen (whose firm is still active in Denmark) and Gropius created a quietly welcoming Modernist haven on a sylvan Northwest Washington site. “The ambassador at the time, Henrik Kaufmann, wanted to build a home that reflects Danish values,” the Embassy’s Pernille Florin Elbech told me.
The interior materials—lots of wood and glass, as well as white marble from Danish-owned Greenland—provide a perfect backdrop for a collection of iconic furniture pieces, including a Finn Juhl dining table and chairs, a leather sofa and chairs by Børge Morgenson, a Poul Henningsen bench, and a grouping of Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs. Even the holiday decorations involved a Danish design icon: silver ornaments by Georg Jensen sparkled on the boughs of the residence’s Christmas tree.