Q&A

Rasmus Hjortshøj

Rasmus is a Copenhagen-based architecture and landscape photographer known for this striking landscape images. On a cold winter day, Rasmus brought his unique perspective to Amager Strand beach, where he captured the visuals for 3daysofdesign's 2023 theme ‘Where Would We Be Without You?’

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Q&A

Rasmus Hjortshøj

Rasmus is a Copenhagen-based architecture and landscape photographer known for this striking landscape images. On a cold winter day, Rasmus brought his unique perspective to Amager Strand beach, where he captured the visuals for 3daysofdesign's 2023 theme ‘Where Would We Be Without You?’

We spoke to Rasmus about his multidisciplinary skillset, his photography practice, and his thoughts on our 2023 festival theme.

How did you become an architectural photographer?

I am a trained architect and previously worked at COBE architects, where my job was primarily to draw and visualize how future buildings could be imagined. I started photographing existing buildings including the design studio's realized projects. That quickly evolved into me being contacted by other design studios, e.g., BIG Architects who at that time had just completed their Maritime Museum. Photography started to take hold and became a business alongside my work as an architect. In addition to the classic architecture photos, I also started taking pictures of man-made landscapes because I had a great interest in the coast (I was born and raised in Skagen). At one point, I took a year of sabbatical leave as an architect to do a project for which I had been awarded the State's Art Grant. It was about investigating and documenting the Danish coastline and the human impact on areas we regard as wild nature, but that have been subject to enormous human impact. So, I worked in two tracks: as an architect and a photographer. In 2016, I became independent and focused 100% on photography and research.


What are your primary motives?

There are two tracks in my primary motives. One is the building mass itself – i.e., the architecture and interior spaces. The second is what surrounds the building mass. So, it's both the cities and the countryside. I primarily work with the coastlines, where city and country flow together - Amager Strandpark is a good example. Still, there are also many examples along the west coast of Jutland. The motifs I select are often those where there is an exchange between the natural and the man-made. It is in the space between the two elements that something exciting often happens. It's hard to put your finger on precisely what it is, but it's where it's not pure nature, but also not something 100% designed. So, the two tracks are landscapes and man-made, but the exciting thing is in the in-between where the boundaries blur.

How do you interpret this year's festival theme?

I interpret 3daysofdesign’s 2023 theme, ‘Where Would We be Without You?’ as a connectedness and a form of entanglement of the past and the present. In other words, you can only take an element out of a larger equation with something happening to that equation. Our society is what it is because we stand on the shoulders of others; without them, we would not be where we are. We have a responsibility to use the knowledge that others have gathered so that we can build on it sensibly. It also raises a lot of essential questions about the way we as societies consume and the way we produce. ‘Where Would We Be Without You?’ is therefore a critical question for the design and architecture industries. Towards the past and those who paved the way before us and who created what we continue to build on, as well as the present. We should preferably not be in a situation where future generations think “we would have been so much better without you.” We are committed to learning from the past to make the world better because everything is connected.

Can you tell us about the creation of this year's theme visuals?

It all started with me sitting with the 3daysofdesign team for several days, discussing how to translate the theme into a strong visual expression, how to show that the city, nature and people are all connected, how we humans are connected and depend on each other. I suggested a square at Amager Strandpark, and artificial landmass reclaimed from the sea, paved in a perfectly shaped concrete grid that sums up the entangled situation between the modern city and it's surrounds. We worked with a group of creative professionals, all connected physically by forms of woven textiles. They affected each other physically and created spaces between them: the square and the cross in the square.

The square is a closed space with an inside and outside. The cross creates new spaces that point out to the world, but it is also the Roman symbol for the number ten, indicating that 3daysofdesign has its tenth anniversary in 2023. It was a good starting point for the poster and visual identity. Before we took pictures, we were very focused on the surroundings and the graphic ideas of the grid. However, as the day progressed, we found that the interaction between the people became the most interesting, which is also apparent in the final pictures.


What are you most looking forward to during 3daysofdesign 2023?

In 2023, 3daysofdesign will expand and create a new festival district on Refshaleøen. I have spent many hours in this place, which is, after all, an artificial natural landscape like the city. There will be much focus on craftsmanship and sustainability, and the various design schools will be involved in the exhibitions. I look forward to seeing what they come up with because something quite interesting happens when old industrial areas are resurrected through culture.

Sustainable Design Effort
At 3daysofdesign, our commitment extends beyond showcasing the latest trends in interior design and furniture. We strive to facilitate meaningful discussions, debate, and actively contribute to pushing forward a more sustainable approach within the realm of interior design and furniture business. Join us in our mission to inspire positive change and promote a greener, more responsible future for the industry.

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Designers mentioned in this article

COAST
Rasmus Hjortshøj
COAST is an architectural photography and research studio specialising in the representation of space, architecture and urban environments. COAST is founded by Rasmus Hjortshøj, photographer and architect Ph.D.Through architectural photography, the studio portrays the work of leading practices and institutions in the field of architecture and design. Through territorial photography, the studio engages in the visual mapping and aesthetic framing of natural/urban territories. Through research and design, the studio engages in a variety of collaborations in practice and academia.

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It all began in 2013 as a small design event held in an old warehouse in Nordhavn, a harbour area overlooking Copenhagen’s waterfront. Four Danish brands launched the event as a joint initiative: Montana, Erik Jørgensen (now owned by Fredericia Furniture), Anker & Co, and Kvadrat. At that time, Copenhagen lacked a proper design festival, since the previous annual furniture fair at Bella Center closed down some years before.

Today, the 3daysofdesign festival extends to the entire city of Copenhagen and is considered the most significant annual design festival in Scandinavian

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