All images Cate St Hill
During 3 Days of Design – Copenhagen’s annual design event held each May – the talk of the town was all about The Audo. Conceived by a dream team comprising Danish design brand MENU, Nathan Williams of Kinfolk magazine and Norm Architects, The Audo is a new creative destination – a hybrid space that combines a hotel, restaurant, cafe, concept store, event space and showroom.
It marks a move for MENU from their former headquarters at the Menu Space next door to a new way of showcasing their furniture, lighting and accessories. Unlike a traditional showroom where you just passively look at designs, here you can experience and enjoy them first hand as if they were in your own home.
MENU noticed a blurring of the boundaries between home, work and hospitality. In a world with a more mobile, hyper connected society, with many of us freelancing or seeking more flexible working habits, people want to be able to feel like at home the minute they step through the doors of their favourite design hotel. We can now work anywhere in the world, meaning the plain, old office is looking less and less appealing. A hotel lobby is no longer just a thoroughfare or route to a destination, they’re creative spaces offering the best of everything – quiet corners to hide away in, the buzz of a coffee shop without the loud noise, the artwork without having to walk into a pretentious gallery.
Perhaps, the more digitally connected we are the more we feel the need for physical connection – seeking out serendipitous chance meetings, design talks and catch ups with friends. Indeed the name Audo comes from the latin ‘Ab Uno Disce Omnes’, meaning ‘From one, learn all’.
‘The new space is a hub for powerful ideas, beautiful design and inspiration. Through openness, knowledge- sharing and collaboration, MENU takes a new approach to running a design business. Our move to The Audo highlights the multidisciplinary, unifying nature of design, while serving as a showcase and testing ground for our new concepts,’ says MENU chief design & brand officer Joachim Kornbek Hansen.
Situated to the north of Copenhagen in Nordhavn, The Audo is housed in an old industrial building that dates back to 1918. Through the main entrance, visitors to the 2500 sq m space are greeted by an elegant and chilled cafe, with broad steps leading up to a materials library. To the right is the concept store, where you can purchase your own slice of The Audo experience, from cushions and cutlery to linen and bathrobes.
The look is timeless and pared-back, with soft natural textures and sculptural details. I loved the contrast of fabrics, the sumptuous velvet against the boucle rugs, and the smooth, polished walls against the warm wood and richly veined marble.
Upstairs there are about nine bedrooms tucked in the original, exposed eaves. Dressed in soft, organic linens and beautiful, natural textiles with lots of warm wood, they have a calm tranquility to them that would no doubt ease a good night’s sleep. The effect is cocooning and cosy.
The rooms all feature an earthy colour palette – some are lighter with pale beige and sand tones, others showcase cooler greys, while some have richer terracotta accents that bring to mind Moroccan interiors.
A defining feature of each room is the simple, wooden panelling and leather headboard. The little, considered details complete the spaces such as the books and artwork on display.
There are standard rooms as well as suites, with living areas and sofas to spread out across. The Penthouse is the most luxurious of them all, with a high, vaulted ceiling and a cool, spacious, art gallery-like feel. MENU describes it as a ‘living exhibit’, featuring bespoke furniture and ceramics.
I know where I’ll be staying next time I’m in Copenhagen! The Audo is now open for bookings, so what are you waiting for? Find out more about Copenhagen’s hybrid creative space and design hotel here.