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Black timber pavilion

Henning Larsen constructs translucent pavilion to mark Fritz Hansen's 150th anniversary

Danish architecture studio Henning Larsen has built a wooden pavilion for furniture brand Fritz Hansen's 150th anniversary that forms part of the 3 Days of Design festival in Copenhagen.

Made to showcase Fritz Hansen's furniture, the glued laminated timber (glulam) pavilion was designed to be largely translucent to let in as much light as possible during Denmark's long summer days.

Timber pavilion with polycarbonate walls
The pavilion sits in the Designmuseum garden

"By working with such a translucent building, the intensity of the light is not so much about sunlight or where the shades are cast, but more about how the building is almost breathing," Henning Larsen partner and project director Eva Ravnborg told Dezeen.

"You can have very different atmospheres insides throughout the day and at night, the opposite is happening and it becomes a little beacon."

Glulam pavilion in Copenhagen
Black glulam was used for the structure

Henning Larsen chose glulam for the 350-square-metre pavilion's structure as the material is sustainable and timber has traditionally been used for buildings in the Nordic countries.

Translucent polycarbonate was used to create walls that let the light in while inside, plywood forms both the walls and the built-in furniture.

Fritz Hansen Pavilion with timber frame
Polycarbonate lets light into the space

The pavilion sits on point-screw foundations that have been screwed into the ground to support the wooden frame.

"We practically leave from here with no trace afterward, which was part of the brief," Ravnborg said.

The building's overall design was informed by its surroundings. The pavilion is set in Grønnegården, Designmuseum Denmark's garden, and its low shape and stepped roof reference the gabled 18th-century buildings that surround it.

Polycarbonate wall
Fritz Hansen furniture is showcased inside the space

"It's very much imitating the shape of these historic buildings that we have around here, so you can say it's really a piece that is tailor-made to this particular setting," Ravnborg explained.

"If we had to do it in a different location, it would probably have looked completely different."

Black glulam beams inside pavilion
The pavilion was designed to celebrate Fritz Hansen's 150th anniversary

In order to minimise waste, the pavilion was "designed to be disassembled", Fritz Hansen said.

After it has been used to showcase the brand's furniture during the 3 Days of Design festival, it will remain in the garden and be used by Designmuseum Denmark for exhibitions, workshops and more until mid-Autumn.

As nothing is glued or welded together, the pavilion can then be completely disassembled.

Its materials will be used in the reconstruction of Fritz Hansen's own headquarters, and Ravnborg said the company may also reassemble a smaller version of the pavilion into a meeting room.

Interior of the Fritz Hansen pavilion
Plywood forms built-in furniture

Fritz Hansen picked Henning Larsen to design the pavilion due to the studio's sustainability credentials.

"Henning Larsen has a strong track record as a leading sustainability-thinking studio," said Fritz Hansen brand ambassador Christian Andresen.

"We both have a holistic approach to design, and a similar taste in materials and creative expression, so our collaboration felt natural."

Table in the Fritz Hansen pavilion
After its use, the pavilion can be completely disassmebled

According to Ravnborg, the most important message the studio wants the pavilion to convey is that design matters.

"Design matters not only in the aesthetic, spatial experience dimension, because of course it matters there," Ravnborg said. "But design matters down to the very detail and how you design that."

"I think this pavilion is a really good example of how, if you are really thinking it through and thinking about an afterlife for the materials, you can say you design with a much larger purpose than the actual lifetime of the space, for a much larger horizon," she added.

"I think that is what design of the future must deal with; that is a part of our obligation."

Henning Larsen recently revealed plans for "one of the largest contemporary wood structures in Denmark" and completed a brick-clad veterinary complex.

The photography is by Laura Stamer.

The Fritz Hansen Pavilion will be in Grønnegården, Copenhagen, from 15 June to early autumn. It opened during 3 Days of Design. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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