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AboutOpen CallDanish Design DNA


Real Danish Design Awards is an annual design award and exhibition, intended for practitioners in the broader field of design, to exhibit and showcase their work to the general public. We welcome designers from all different fields. The exhibition's goal is not only to examine the contemporary and future states of design but also to support a scene for smaller and/or newly established designers and studios. Real Danish Design Awards, will be a platform that creates culture and debate about form, function, effects, affects and aesthetics.

Design is a complex term and is today an essential part of contemporary culture. Today's design is represented by different subject areas and specialists working with design. The notion of design is used more and more like its original meaning of the Latin word "designare", to make a plan or ‘to sketch’, we see terms like design thinking, design services, design strategy & social design. Real Danish Design Awards does not believe that a new understanding of the notion of design will eliminate the old, but rather add meaning to the term. This is why the notion of design becomes even more complex. 

Real Danish Design Awards have seen the opportunity to supplement the design award scene by focusing more on the craftsmanship and the thorough work each designer does. Aesthetics and craftsmanship form the foundation of Real Danish Design Awards, without denying the importance of good sustainable and social initiatives. At Real Danish Design Awards, we believe in surfaces as much as the cores, we believe in the affect as much as the effect. We believe in design with artistic aspirations. And we believe in form-experiments as much as we believe in research projects and critical design. But most of all we believe that designers create a design and not the companies they work for. At Real Danish Design Awards, we create an exhibition platform where design is embodied, criticized and discussed.


It is with great pleasure and excitement to finally be able to invite you once again to the opening and first edition of Real Danish Design Awards 2020. An exhibition with the selected nominees from the open call will be opened at Havnegade 29, Copenhagen, Friday 4 September 2020. At the opening of the exhibition, the winners of the honorary titles of "Real Danish Design Awards 2020" will be presented. The exhibition, intended to showcase designers work to the general public. We welcome everyone.

The exhibition will showcase all nominees including winners.

The nominated designers are:
Stina Resting - Allete (Signe Hansen) - Laura Dalgaard - Bettina Nelson - Rikke Maagaard - Mijo Studio (Miranda Tengs Brun & Josefine Gilbert) - Julie Helles Eriksen - Studio Stine Mikkelsen - Martine Myrup - Aspekt Office (Terkel Skou Steffensen & Hans Toft Hornemann) - Studio Alexander Hinnerskov - Oline Marie Andersen - Margarida Lopes Pereira - Post Design Festival (Peter Urban & Peter Folkmar) - Alexis Mark (Marie Grønkær, Kristoffer Li & Martin Bek) - Joakim Drescher - KLD Repro (Wilfred Wagner) - Spine Studio (Jacob Haagen Birch, Finn Wergel Dahlgren, Rasmus Svane Jensen, Frederik Wendt Moesgaard) - Studio Atlant (Cecilie Nellemann & Stefan Thorsteinsson) - Approximate Type (Kasper Pyndt Rasmussen)

Friday 4 September 2020
Doors open

Award ceremony

Doors close

The exhibition will run from 4–25 September

Thursday   12:00–18:00
Friday         12:00–18:00
Saturday    12:00–16:00 
Sunday       12:00–16:00

Havnegade 29, Copenhagen

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Danish Design DNA

Every year Real Danish Design Awards seeks to create a forum for discussion. Current tendencies or design conceptions will create a foundation for the visual identity as well as what will be communicated in between announcements. This year danish design DNA defines the foundation or choice of focus.

For the danish modernist long-lasting influence in making contemporary danish design, Real Danish Design Awards seek to expand the experience of the audience by opening up a discussion of national aesthetic and modernist thinking. In 2016-2017 Danish Design Council, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of design, Designmuseum Denmark and Danish Design Center researched what Danes associated with Danish Design. To no one's surprise, it showed exactly what one would think that the Danes stand for: Social, quality, objective, transformational, simple, human, holistic, craft, user-driven, durable – they called this the Danish Design DNA. 

The use of the term Danish Design DNA herald these values as ‘something special’ we are born with, or as a metaphor for an authentic and unalterable core, a core even the best scientists are unable to tamper with or second-guess. But this becomes a question of national identity and how this is shaped through the stories we tell ourselves. Our question becomes whether we are repeating the same story that we have been telling ourselves for 70 years, and whether that story has much to do with contemporary reality? But the question must be asked if our self-image is correct? Have we created our own stigmatisation? Did danish designers actually move forward and away from “danish modernism”, while design businesses and magazine kept celebrating “danish style”? Are we stuck with a ghost of modernist thinking? What do designers really have to say in 2020?




Born in Leningrad (today St. Petersburg), Russia, Boris graduated from the Higher School of Art and Industry, St. Petersburg in 1975. He began his career as an industrial and graphic designer at VNIITE in Russia but moved to Denmark in 1983 where he founded Boris Berlin Design. He started working with Penta Design in 1985 and two years after he became a co-founder and partner of Komplot Design, which has received numerous design awards. In 2010, Boris Berlin co-founded and became a partner of Iskos-Berlin Design, together with Aleksej Iskos.

Boris focuses on industrial and furniture design and specialises in experimenting with new technologies and materials to explore their impact on the design of everyday objects. Boris Berlin has worked for various clients such as HAY, Mutoo, Design Museum Denmark, Copenhagen Airport, Jot.Jot.



In 1986 Vibeke Rohland graduated in textile design from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen. Her work spans between design and art, and takes an intuitive and emphatically low-tech, hands-on approach. In 2000, she embarked on the BlackStar project which riffs on her signature plus signs in offset layers that are rendered in multiple overlapping colours to form a blunt star. Through this prolonged colour study, she tests the limits of her materials and her media and uses repetition, abstraction and variation to reveal the emotional power inherent in colour combinations and in seemingly slight degrees of difference.

Rohland has been designing everything from linens, upholstery, drapery, curtains t-shirts, scarves and porcelain patterns for various clients such as HAY, Georg Jensen Damask, Royal Copenhagen, Paustian, IKEA, Agnes B. and Kvadrat.



Bettina Bakdal is a Danish designer, who graduated from the school of design at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Copenhagen in 1996. The same year she started her own company By Bakdal, and was a part of founding Konrög, a design-association of eight designers, promoting Danish design, with their own store on an international level. In 2006/07 she worked as a senior designer at Inwear.

From 2008 Bettina worked as key-costumer and lineup-customer on several danish films. In 2012 she reopened her own label in her name Bettina Bakdal. Bettina was a part-time teacher at the Fashion department at Kolding School of Design. From November 2016 she has been working part-time as an associate professor in the fashion department at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and Design.



Elias Stenalt Werner is educated at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture in Copenhagen and the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. He has worked professionally with type design and graphic design since 2006 initially at Kontrapunkt, and since 2009 as an independent designer. His focus is on the development of typefaces and logos, with a sharp eye for both the details and the context whether it is commercial or cultural.

Elias has drawn typefaces for various clients such as Coop, Carlsberg, Weber, Viborg Municipality and Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II, and logos for DR, among others. Elias also teaches at – and is the former head of – Visual Design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design.



Lasse Andersen is founder of the visual studio Dark Matters. The studio focuses on spacious experiences ranging from physical scenarios to digital installations. Dark Matters operate at the intersection of architecture, scenography, design and art and create narrative worlds and unique experiences that make an audience think and feel in equal measure.

Lasse Andersen and his team have worked for various clients such as DR, Danish Architecture Center, Design Museum Denmark, Thorvaldsen Museum, Wood Wood.

Open Call

Real Danish Design Awards seek to showcase newly educated and smaller studios and practitioners. Designers who are of Danish nationality, or are resident in Denmark can take part in the competition. If you are a studio or a collective, every name from the group must appear in the application - interns and collaborators included. A jury made up of five designers will select the nominated designers that will take part in the exhibition. The same jury will ultimately select the winners out of the nominated field. Each winner receives a trophy as a sign of honour. Submitted projects may fall into a wide range of genres associated with design. Applications may apply to one or multiple of the following categories:

•  Products and objects
•  Textile
•  Fashion
•  Visual communication
•  Mediation

Before applying, make sure you read this document: