Coffee orders are incredibly personal, filled with custom requests about everything from the roast of beans used to the type of milk product added. Why, then, are coffee shop chairs often so one-size-fits-all? Enter Copenhagen café Connie-Connie, which presents an alternative approach to seating that better speaks to the era of matcha lattes and pistachio milk cortados.
Boasting no less than 30 mismatched seats produced by 25 different designers, the sage green snack bar is a true celebration of individual expression — not to mention a testament to the possibilities of sustainable production.
Connie-Connie operates as part of Copenhagen Contemporary, an art centre that focuses on large-scale avant-garde installations. To ensure that the museum’s food and drink space would make its own splashy artistic statement, Copenhagen design studio Tableau and Australian designer Ari Prasetya engaged a large team of Danish and international collaborators, all the while developing a cohesive spatial identity that could tie the group’s diverse visions together.
Apart from its furniture, the resulting space is largely defined by a soft sage green colour that runs along the floors and bottom portion of the dining room’s walls before completely covering the floors and ceiling of the bar area. Adding to this colourful backdrop, pendant lights and extra-long curtains hung at the far end of the dining room accentuate the double-height space’s dramatic verticality. Each of these elements help to establish an impactful yet subdued mood for Connie-Connie’s main attraction: its wild assortment of chairs.
Tableau and Prasetya chose the chair designers that they approached with variety in mind, assembling a team that includes artists, architects, and industrial designers. Working with a selection of Douglas fir wood off-cuts provided by Danish wood flooring company Dinesen, each individual was then tasked with articulating their own distinct approach to wood seating.
The resulting collection includes stools, benches, and chairs that span a wide range of styles, yet still feel united by their shared material palette. Some of the seats emphasize their rich grain, such as Frederik Gustav’s cube-shaped stool that resembles a stack of Jenga blocks, or Janis Karasevskis’s dowel-like throne. Other seats inspire associations beyond the realm of wood: Kim Lenschow’s Beam bench skews steel-like and structural, while the tubular forms of Carsten in Der Elst’s Flooring Collection bench give it the look of a balloon sculpture. In another playful move, architect Paul Cournet faithfully reimagines Le Corbusier’s LC2 chair in Douglas fir and aluminum.
Several designers, such as Kevin Josias and Bram Vanderbeke, ended up completing multiple pieces, and Prasetya contributed three designs of her own. For its part, Tableau was in charge of the café’s tables, which rest a simple sheet of wood on four plinth-like legs and, in most cases, carry on the green theme of the walls. (One is stained black to better tie in with some of the space’s black chairs.)
By featuring such a wide variety of seating, the café effectively encourages visitors to try out different options until they find one that best speaks to their specific tastes. And for those who want to take their order to go, reproductions of the chairs (and in some cases, the original seats directly from the café) are available for purchase from Tableau’s web shop.
For the new coffee shop at art centre Copenhagen Contemporary, 25 designers turned Dinesen flooring scraps into bespoke furniture.