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Composed in Copenhagen: 8 Design Lessons from Restaurant Bobe by Rising Design Duo Atelier Axo

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Composed in Copenhagen: 8 Design Lessons from Restaurant Bobe by Rising Design Duo Atelier Axo

June 12, 2024

Restaurant Bobe in situated in the 1731 Gråbrødretorv, a former’s brewer’s house in Copenhagen’s old town that’s been on the city’s protected building’s registry for nearly a century. It was previously occupied for 60 years by a beloved restaurant that closed last year, and now celebrated Danish chef/restaurateur Bo Bech has taken up residence.

In collaboration with Bo, design duo Rose Hermansen and Caroline Sillesen of Atelier Axo had mere months to sweep in and create the restaurant’s new look, a process, Rose says, that began by chewing over the essentials:  “food, art, and atmosphere, and how to let the historical layers be while introducing new elements.”

The results are a perfectly composed, pale wood-accented dining room and bar imbued with a serene excitement. From patchwork cafe curtains to tiled columns,  it’s filled with light-touch ideas worth applying at home: here, eight to consider.

Photography by Peter Dalsgaard, unless noted, all courtesy of Atelier Axo.

1. Let nature provide the decoration.

restaurant bobe copenhagen designed by atelier axo. photo by peter dalsgaard . 17Above: Power in numbers. A drift of scallop shells from the kitchen welcomes diners. On the menu at Restaurant Bobe: lobster with yuzu and hibiscus, and beetroot with black currant.

2. Embrace the signs of time.

caroline sillesen (left) and rose hermansen are childhood friends and graduates 18
Above: Caroline Sillesen (left) and Rose Hermansen are childhood friends and graduates of The Royal Danish Academy: Caroline has a degree in architecture and Rose in furniture and spatial design. They teamed up as Atelier Axo in 2019.

At Restaurant Bobe, they were careful to tread lightly and allow the historic qualities of the building to be “emphasized,” says Rose.” Photograph by Peter Dalsgaard.

3. Consider quietly powerful window coverings.

restaurant bobe copenhagen designed by atelier axo. photo by peter dalsgaard . 19Above: The dining room’s original windows are hung with half curtains of vintage fabrics by Danish textile artist Fie Paarup that provide privacy and diffuse light while playing a little duet with the moldings: see our Trend Alert: Patchwork Window Cloths. Says Rose, “We wanted to screen the lower part of the windows using textiles since there are no white tablecloths on the tables,” says Rose

The w151 Extra Large Pendant Light is by Claesson Koivisto Rune. See it and others in 10 Easy Pieces: Cone-Shaped Pendant Lamps. The glassware is made for Bobe by Copenhagen design firm Studio 0405.

4. Combine clean-lined architecture with the warmth of wood.

the room&#8\2\17;s old wood floor was restored and refreshed: &#8\2\20; 20
Above: The room’s old wood floor was restored and refreshed: “you can see where the waiters have walked the most over time,” says Rose, “we gave the boards a thorough cleaning and then a white lye treatment.”

Atelier Axo designed the tables for the space: the round Puffin Table which stands on four rods of solid oak, and the square, Shaker-inspired Bobe Table. Both are available on request: email [email protected] for details. The tables are paired with Børge Mogensen J39 chairs, “reused from the previous restaurant as a subtle memory.”

5. Adorn unexpected places with tiles.

&#8\2\20;we wanted to create an experience of the rooms slowly opening up,  21
Above: “We wanted to create an experience of the rooms slowly opening up, so diners continue to have their curiosity awakened,” says Rose of the new flow. The addition of late 19th century Portuguese tiles running up the structural supports introduces a touch of color and pattern, and adds to the intrigue.

6. Display essentials as art (and vice-versa).

to create a homey atmosphere—and an occasional place to do some cooking& 22
Above: To create a homey atmosphere—and an occasional place to do some cooking—Chef Bo Beche wanted open fireplaces. In response, the designers incorporated stacked firewood in the room as textural and aromatic, ready-to-use sculpture. The Pietrasanta Madonna of patinated iron is by Alexander Tovborg, a Danish artist who Bo, Rose, and Caroline all know.

7. Display glassware as decor.

wine glasses are decoratively kept on hand in a tight space. they&#8\2\17;r 23
Above: Wine glasses are decoratively kept on hand in a tight space. They’re lined up in a Kriptonite Krossing wall system of aluminum rods and shelves, a customizable minimalist design for “maximum space utilization.”

8. Rediscover the charm of monograms.

the familiar is instantly elevated by a hint of stitching. at bobe, the napkins 24
Above: The familiar is instantly elevated by a hint of stitching. At Bobe, the napkins are adorned with the restaurant’s hand-written logo. For more examples of charming needlework, go to Tiny and Imperfect Embroidered Details, 5 Ways.

Restaurant Bobe is at 11 Gråbrødre torv in Copenhagen’s old town.

Here are three more favorite restaurants filled with design ideas worth applying at home:

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