At home in Copenhagen with designer Kristina Dam

Stepping inside the 1929 villa where designer Kristina Dam, her musician husband Ketil Duckert and their children Vera (12) and Nord (7) have lived for the past few years is a sensory experience. The color palette of the three-bedroom home on Amager Island in Copenhagen, Denmark is soothing and natural; instead of turning up the colour, Kristina has toyed with form and materiality to create a kind of artistic minimalism that could be construed as Japandi, in which the hallmarks of Scandi design blend with a Japanese sensibility.

ABOVE Alongside a rug, coffee tables and a sofa by Kristina Dam Studio (which is stocked at selected outlets in Aotearoa), two Danish furniture classics — a Spanish chair by Børge Mogensen (left) and a CH25 chair by Hans J Wegner — make themselves at home. The gallery hang on the wall includes works by Sonja Ferlov, Kim Høltermann, Søren Juhl, Mie Olise, Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen and Kristina herself. The copper BeoSound Edge speaker mounted on the far left is by Bang & Olufsen and the Taccia lamp on the side table on the right is by Flos. MAIN IMAGE Near the kitchen, Grid shelves by Kristina Dam Studio are decorated with special finds, some thrifted. The Oda lamp is from Pulpo and the Collector chair is by Kristina Dam Studio.

Kristina’s considerable skill is exemplified in the living zone, which she says was the trickiest spot in the house to decorate. Needing to define a small area in a larger open-plan space beside the thoroughfare to the kitchen, she finally feels she’s succeeded in getting everything fitting together well to create the ambience she seeks, through combining organic and angular shapes and a diverse range of materials.

TOP The white sculpture in this vignette is an old studio project, the patterned dish was a gift from Kristina’s mother and the large vessel is a prototype for Kristina Dam Studio.

The hero detail here is the array of artworks she arranged to form a large-scale installation. When asked what the trick is for making a gallery hang such as this come together so well, the graduate of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts for Architecture & Design says, “For me, it’s about making sure there are works of different formats, structures and surfaces represented on the wall, and something organic. The frames could have something in common or not. I’ve chosen various narrow wooden frames and stuck to tranquil tones because I want a calm and harmonious overall expression, but I’m also an advocate of doing it in other ways where it’s visually more wild.”

TOP & ABOVE Thanks to the generous glazing in the new extension housing the kitchen, dining and living areas, the light in this space is always divine. Corian benchtops and cabinetry from Ikea were welded together on site to create coherent units, then to integrate more materials into this space, Kristina used two different types of tiles for the splashback. Among the easy-to-grab essentials on the shelf are oils and vinegars decanted into glass bottles to do double duty as decoration. On the wall is a prototype Geometric lamp for Kristina Dam Studio, which today is produced in black, and a Close Contact 04 print by Norm Architects.

The dining area is Kristina’s favourite space. She especially loves the window seat on which you can laze and gaze out into the garden. It was important to her to install comfortable seating in this area, so the family can hang out together without having to cram around the dining table.

ABOVE Beneath a Lantern 101 pendant light from Le Klint, the chairs around the dining table include a steel and wicker PK1 chair by Poul Kjærholm (front), two of Børge Mogensen’s classic Folkestols and a Kristina Dam Studio prototype. Atop the table is a candlestick found at a fleamarket, a sculptural bowl from Kristina Dam Studio and a mug designed by Aurelien Barbry for Broste Copenhagen. Kristina’s mum crocheted the natty grape cushion on the window seat as another precursor to a Kristina Dam Studio design.

Another cherished feature in the dining area is the shelving unit she had built to fill the entire wall, with acoustic boards behind it to improve the sound in the open-plan space. On its shelves and others throughout the house, Kristina displays collections of crafted objects, often gathered when she’s on the road.


ABOVE The shelving unit was designed so this vintage sofa by Fabricius Kastholm would fit below it, becoming part of the installation. The Earthenware side table beside it is one Kristina helped design for Broste Copenhagen. Amid honest shades often related to each material, its blue hue is an accent that repeats throughout the home.

“When I travel or visit markets in Denmark, I’m always aware of objects, and I can’t hold back if there are some delicious ceramics, a beautiful glaze or nice glass items,” she says. “To avoid having ceramics on every surface in the house, many of my collections are grouped in the huge bookcase. It’s like the art, which is curated in clusters with colours that are well connected.”


ABOVE Some sections of the shelving unit are big enough to hold works of art between the treasured objects. Kristina’s popular Dome vase appears in several iterations, from the first hand-turned version to a test of a lighter engobe glaze.

“For me, having pure white surfaces in my home gives a sense of spaciousness and peace,” she continues. Serenity is reflected in the items produced by her eponymous studio Kristina Dam (for which she designs furniture and objects in the zone between interiors and art) and as brand and design director for interiors and lifestyle company Broste Copenhagen. At home, she wants to be able to relax without too much visual noise, so she uses this house to test out her designs before they’re put into production, to be absolutely sure they work in real life.

ABOVE Kristina works from home one day a week and often in the evenings, so the office she set up in the extension is essential. She fell for the vintage Kai Kristiansen desk due to its front-facing shelves that make it another dedicated place for display.

Kristina finds inspiration for her designs in all sorts of places, but never more so than when she travels. She stores impressions and gathers ideas from everything from buildings and exhibitions to fit-outs in restaurants and shops. Even something as simple as a walk on the beach might see her pick up a stone that leads her thoughts to a new product.

ABOVE Designed by Kristina years ago but no longer available to buy, a wooden bench with built-in storage provides visual warmth in the typically utilitarian bathroom. Underfoot, tiles from Bad & Stil laid in a herringbone pattern provide a compelling contrast to the white on white.

Here, she blends her own creations with design classics by some of her favorite architects and furniture designers. Her list of role models is long, with Danish architect/furniture designer Bodil Kjær, Danish designer Poul Kjærholm, German artist Josef Albers, French architect/designer/artist Le Corbusier, Finnish architect/designer Alvar Alto and American artist Donald Judd among the prominent names on it.

ABOVE Among the items mounted on the walls in the stairwell — which have been painted a wheatstraw-cream colour to give the spacious entryway its own individual character — are (from top) a sculpture by Anne Brandhøj, an artwork by Kristine Hellesøe and a mirror by Kristina Dam Studio.

Kristina would rather save up for sublime design and excellent craftsmanship than throw money at short-lived purchases, so once an investment piece is moved in, it’s intended to be reside here forever. “We’ve had many of our objects and furniture for years,” she says. “I love to stage them in new ways to give new life to our home with the things we already have — and every now and then add a few fresh finds I’ve been drawn to.”

ABOVE Kristina believes bedrooms should feature as few hues as possible, so she’s introduced colour in only the wheatstraw-cream (on the ceilings, walls and Ikea wardrobe for an immersive effect) and the bedding from Kristina Dam Studio. The Geometric lamp was also designed by her studio.

With the help of an architect, Kristina designed an extension to the back of the house that’s given the family an extra 30m2 that now houses the kitchen, dining and living spaces. Clad in black timber and with large sections of glass, it reaches into the backyard via steps and protruding sections of deck. Studded with potted miniature conifers, these outdoor areas are used extensively in the summer and an enchanting sight to behold come winter, when they’re gently dusted with snow.

Words Rikke Graff Juel
Photography Christina Kayser O

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