Jacobsen's SAS hotel in Copenhagen
Jacobsen’s SAS hotel stands out in the Copenhagen skyline. The hotel is centrally located in Copenhagen’s downtown. Photo by Judith/Wikimedia Commons/CC-by-2.0.

Visit the home and source of the Egg, Swan and Drop Chairs in Copenhagen’s Radisson Blu Hotel. Originally dubbed the SAS Royal Hotel, Arne Jacobsen designed the hotel and nearly everything else about it from the furniture to the cutlery. While the hotel has changed names and moved on from many of Jacobsen’s designs, Room 606 retains Jacobsen’s vision.

SAS Hotel Room 606
While the building’s height and unadorned exterior met with naysayers when the hotel was first built, these factors enable guests staying within the hotel to enjoy quite the view. Photo by Sarah_Ackerman/Flickr Commons/CC-by-2.0.

Transatlantic Tourism

Commissioned by the Scandinavian Airlines System (the SAS for which the hotel was originally named), the hotel is actually connected to the airport. Designed to be a convenient and stylish getaway for tourists with the growing accessibility of transatlantic jet travel. Jacobsen designed the hotel from 1956-1960. The hotel has the distinction of being Copenhagen’s first skyscraper, although this was not necessarily a welcome addition at the time. The 20 stories-high concrete frame with gray green anodized glass was voted the ugliest building in Copenhagen. Love it or hate it, the hotel is an example of Arne Jacobsen’s design philosophy and the impetus for some of his most enduring chair designs.

Room 606 preserves Jacobsen’s original design where guests can imbibe the “modern garden” ambience he intended. Photo by Richard Moross/Flickr Commons/CC-by-2.0.

Total Design

The SAS Royal Hotel in its original form embodied the German concept of gesamtkunstwerk, a total, complete design. At the time Jacobsen designed the SAS hotel, he was also a landscape architect and set out to create a “modern garden” feel in the hotel. This is evident in the predominance of green shades but also in Jacobsen’s mixture of organic and geometric forms. From the carpet to the ashtrays, Jacobsen designed with a holistic vision in mind. The hotel, however, has since adapted to changing tastes and hotel standards. While Jacobsen’s design is not preserved en masse, it is preserved in room 606, where guests can sink into a Swan Chair in Jacobsen’s “modern garden” inspired green.