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Danish Lessons in Aarhus

1. Style

If I had to describe Aarhus to a Sydney sider it is a Surry Hills with Scandanavian flavour. The cobblestone streets are filled with small boutiques, each a different coloured home cram next to the other. Danes are almost exclusively and immaculately dressed in black and it’s not surprising with as the city with the most architects per capita.

2. Chairs

It’s no secret, Danes love their chairs and they have it all. Whether it is the Jacobsen Egg Chair, Reitveld’s Schroder Chair or even the School of Architecture’s specially designed pine chair, engraved with the signature triple A – your behind won’t have any trouble settling in. Not only chairs but Danish interior design as a whole creates a warm, minimalist and soothing atmosphere and it comes affordable with the prices at IKEA and bits and pieces left out on the road side. Friends have found mattresses, leather couches and chairs free and in good condition – so keep an eye out before you go spending any money. And don’t forget to buy lights… there are very few houses/apartments I’ve seen that don’t require byo lamp.

3. Having a party could end in you turning a profit

Being a host of a party in Denmark does not come without its major perks. Waking up to find the place scattered with tin cans and bottles as far as the eye can see is normally a disheartening sight especially with a heavy head and hang over. But if you take all those cans and bottles to your local supermarket and put them through a recycling machine they’ll be paying for your weeks groceries. See if you buy a six pack of Tuborgs beer it says it’s 6kr ($1.20) but you’ll have to pay 35kr ($7) that’s with the surcharge for the tins… so for every 6 tins you take back you should be getting around a dollar a can.

Danes are very eco aware – the tax on cars is a whopping 25% and fuel is through the roof but there are no recycling bins. Go figure.

4. ‘City of Smiles’ *                  *reserved for Summer

Arriving in winter I was a little taken back by the lack of smiles going around town. This was the ‘city of smiles’ after all but the streets in the dead of winter are met by people going about there buisness as efficiently as possible with low energy and avoiding talk. This is what I have found in the culture of Danes to be as ‘efficient’ as they can be – you’ll never catch any “sorry” or “excuse me” because any unesseccary chat is culled from everyday life. If you find your in someones way the strategy is to slip past and hope no one noticed.

As soon as there is a hint of sunlight out the streets are noticably fuller, more youth and more chatter. Locals are constantly promoting summer to me as if the city suddenly takes on a whole new philosophy that I’m yet to discover.

5. Bicycles, a revolutionary mode of transport

I’m not sure if it’s our hills, aggressive motorists or government’s disinterest in bicycle infastructure but Australia is behind.

Q : Who knew a fun, healthy, cheap, two wheeled mode of transport existed

A: The Danes

This bicycle lifestyle give me a great freedom of getting around that isn’t achievable in Sydney. I’m already conceiving how i’ll miss riding past the beautiful Risskov forest around the Harbour side and flying down the sectioned off cycle way to school. I think I’ll have to take up a bicycle or motorbike back home

6. Work hard play hard

The Aarhus School of Architecture’s design and work philosophy is based around a very open program that gives you the freedom to work your project to your interests and with metal workshops, wood workshops, digital paper and laser cutting at hand. Even though you’re in the studio 9-5 it’s very flexible and gives you your own desk and space to develop and really sink in to your project. This keeps the weekends open for play.

Brooke Rayner 11684154 Design in Architecture

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