It might be my genes, but visiting Copenhagen makes me feel like I’m going home, even though I’ve never lived there. I met Cecilie on one of my last trips when we worked together on a story I wrote. Once we got chatting, I knew that I wanted to ask her for her personal city guide to Copenhagen.
She works as the head of PR for the Danish Fashion Institute and is dressed as I-want-everything-she’s-wearing as you’d image. She’s just as unassumingly cool to talk to as she looks and I hope I managed to catch her charme in our interview. When I suggested we meet up at Granola, she replied: „Perfect! It’s basically my living room.“ Turns out that her boyfriend is one of the owners and she lives just around the corner with him and their daughter.
| We’re in spitting distance from your apartment in Frederiksberg. Tell me a little about your neighbourhood.
So I live in the part of town known as Frederiksberg C, C for Centrum, and it’s one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Copenhagen, close to the city, close to Vesterbro, with lots of good cafés and shops. I used to live in Nørrebro and it was everything I dreamt of: multicutural, multiethnic, with a very lively going out culture and lots of kids from university living in one-bedroom flats. That was totally me in my Twenties. Then I met my boyfriend and he happened to live here. When I became pregnant, I moved in with him. At first I thought: we’re going to be a family living in Frederiksberg, how grown up! But it turns out that Frederiksberg, which has a reputation for being quiet and conservative, has diversity as well. There’s a lot of creative people in the neighbourhood and the entrepreneurial environment is really strong.
| What do you love about living in Copenhagen?
I like that it’s small in size, which makes it intimate. We don’t have skyscrapers, so everything is close to the ground and quite petite. Everybody bikes around and the bike culture contributes to this intimate feeling. You pass things in a different way than in a car and if you meet someone, you can stop and talk. And you almost always meet someone you know. Bike culture pulls everything closer together. I also love that Copenhagen is surrounded by nature. It’s so easy to get out. Just hop in your car and in ten minutes, you’re by the sea.
| Where do you go on a day trip out of town?
Louisiana. We have a membership, so we go quite often. And it’s definitely a day trip, because it takes you an hour to get there and once you’re there, you really want to stay. Not just to look at the art, but to have lunch in the restaurant, take a walk by the sea, enjoy the amazing garden. It’s a little piece of paradise. I also love going to Dyrehaven, one of the most underrated places in Copenhagen. It’s a huge forest, which used to be the playground of one king Christian VI, where he’d go hunting. It’s very peaceful there.
| What does a perfect weekend look like for you?
Since we had our daughter four years ago, we’ve become quite good at exploring the city. We want to experience as much as we can, so every weekend is about something different. Sometimes I think, maybe we should do practical things like fixing stuff in the apartment, but I actually love that our mindset is making the most of those two days. A great way to start the weekend is with breakfast at Café Auto. It’s in an area called Little Somalia. It has that new Nordic style, lots of wood and very minimalistic, a surprising contrast to the area. The atmosphere is always good and the food is mostly organic and really excellent.
| Can you recommend some activities to do with kids in Copenhagen?
In the summer, we’ll go to Tivoli or the Marionet Teatret in Kongens Have, which has a show twice a day and is free. I think that our daughter’s need during the weekend is having time off, just like us, to be able to relax and not be active all day. So we’ll do things together, but not always specifically customized for kids, like going to the woods, to the beach, going to the museum or visiting galleries.
| Where would you take someone on an art tour of Copenhagen?
Definitely to the Glyptotek, which is a wonderful experience for the beautiful building alone. Once you walk in through the winter garden you’re in another world. I also really enjoy Statens Museum for Kunst, another immense and impressive building, which puts on great exhibitions of contemporary art. My favourite gallery is V1 in Kødbyen, Copenhagen’s very own Meatpacking District, which features some of the most interesting artists around, like HuskMitNavn from Denmark as well as international artists like Todd James. The tour would also stop at Nicolai Wallner and at Bo Bjerggaard, who represents Tal R, one of my favourite artists right now.
| Where would you go for dinner afterwards?
Granola of course! It’s like a second home to me. I find it almost a challenge to go somewhere else, because it’s my favourite spot and I always run into friends. It’s mostly known for its breakfast, but they opened in the evening two years ago. I usually order the tartar or the hønse salat on rye bread, which is very Danish, and sip an Aperol Spritz. Another favourite is Osteria 16, which has a casual and low-key vibe. You get eight small courses of Antipasti for a fixed price and they’ll bring out the different courses without clearing away the old plates, so it’s very informal, which I like a lot. Plus, the food is delicious. I’d also recommend stopping at Atelier September in the city for lunch or a snack. A lovely place and, again, great organic food.
| Where do you go for drinks on a night out with your girlfriends?
Can I say Granola? Honestly, the Espresso Martini is the best drink in town. I also like Fiskebaren. It’s a seafood restaurant with a great bar. They’re open until 2am on Friday and Saturday, so you can really make the most of enjoying your cocktails. Definitely a place to come in the summer, when they put the tables outside and you can people watch all night long.
| You’re head of PR for the Danish Fashion Institute. How do you get dressed for work?
I have to be able to wear it riding my bike, that’s always a priority. Besides being practical, I tend to wear clothes that are very contemporary, minimalistic and classic. It’s lucky that a lot of Danish designers approach fashion from the same aesthetic, so it’s easy for me to dress in the designers we support. My daily uniform would be a shirt and jeans, from brands like Wood Wood, Mads Nørgaard, Bruuns Bazaar or Soulland. OK, the jeans are usually from Acne, which is, of course, Swedish.
| I noticed that you’re wearing heels today.
It’s an exception. I’m mostly in flats. I broke my leg five years ago, which was at least convenient in terms of fashion, because everybody started doing flats around that time. I’ve accumulated quite a big collection of flats, everything from brogues to creepers to sneakers, but I’ve recently started wearing heels again, maybe once a week, and I actually enjoy it. I gravitate towards menswear inspired designs and they add a feminine touch.
| Which designers would you recommend checking out in Copenhagen?
Two designers that excite me a lot at the moment are Mark Kenly Domino Tan, whose clothes you can find at Lot #29, and Freya Dalsjø. They’re two immensely gifted young people in transition from being debuting talents to becoming more established and selling worldwide (Freya Dalsjø is sold at Wald in Berlin for example).
| Where do you shop?
When I’m treating myself: Black. It’s luxury fashion, so just buying a white shirt can easily set you back a few hundred Euros, but it’s all so beautiful. I’m almost guaranteed to find something at Nué, especially from their own line Nué Notes. And I love Storm.
| Do you have a favourite design store?
New Danish design has such a great reputation around the world, so it might sound funny, but we don’t really go design shopping in Copenhagen. We’re more likely to bring things back from our travels. Although I do have a weakness for Danish classics, to the point where my boyfriend and I should really stop ourselves, because our apartment is turning into a design museum. We have quite a bit of Poul Kjærholm and Arne Jacobsen, I also adore Hans Wegner and Børge Mogensen, even Verner Panton. A lot of it came from Bruun Rasmussen, which is for online auction houses what Illums Bolighus is for retail space. We’ve also bought from the Kjærholm shop in Rungsted, which is north of the city, a cute little place and worth going out of town for. If you want to knock yourself out shopping for Danish design in Copenhagen, go to the Fritz Hansen showroom. It’s an amazing space.
| What’s the one tourist attraction worth doing?
Go on a boat tour of the canals. It’s such a great experience that I’d even recommend it to people living in Copenhagen. You can see everything, from the opera house to Amalienborg, the canal at Christianshavn and the Black Diamond building. I should really go on one again.
A few extra tips from me: on my last trip to Copenhagen, I rented a bike from Velorbis on Nørre Farrimagsgade and – only in Copenhagen! – got a lot of compliments for it. I stayed at the Central Hotel, which is as charming as you’d hope a hotel with only one room would be. Bonus: breakfast is served at Granola.