In Copenhagen, design promotion is a community story: Signe Byrdal Terenziani, ceo of 3daysofdesign, explains how it all works

3daysofdesign will once again occupy all 13 Copenhagen districts with hundreds of events, product launches, talks and exhibitions from 7 to 9 June 2023.

It’s the 10th edition of this festival that, especially in its origin and organization, is somewhat particular since it was originated by the initiative of 4 companies and then progressively grew through an associative platform, now gathering about 300 associates. Knowing this, the theme of the 10th edition, Where would we be without you?, immediately resonates as a celebration of this collective approach.


The non-profit organization 3daysofdesign, owned by 4 brands and supported by all others who wish to be part of 3daysofdesign with their own shows, is run by Signe Byrdal Terenziani whom we contacted to know more: about how it came to be, how it’s run, and about the 2023 edition.


How was 3daysofdesign born ten years ago?

Signe Byrdal Terenziani: “It all began ten years ago when four companies, all situated under the same roof in an old warehouse Pakhus 48 Copenhagen’s North Harbour, decided to hold a joint event over three days to present their new products rather than doing each one their own thing. We invited a number of international journalists, designers and collaborators, and everyone contributed. One brand paid for the plane tickets, another for the hotel. It became a hit, and it turned out that there were many brands that wanted to be involved. Very quickly, this number got to 50 brands, and since then it has just grown and grown. Today there are more than 300 brands in our design community”.

Why did Denmark need such an event?

Signe Byrdal Terenziani: “Copenhagen needed a proper design event at that time since the previous annual furniture fair at Bella Center had closed. As a result, the numerous great design companies located in Copenhagen had to go to Cologne, Milan or Stockholm if they wanted to participate in a design fair”.

What was the original concept?

Signe Byrdal Terenziani: “To allow the visitors to get behind the facades. To meet the producers and designers in their habitats”.

Indeed most presentations occur in showrooms and workshops, correct?

Signe Byrdal Terenziani: “Yes. It's very costly and time-consuming to participate in an international fair. Many companies have beautiful showrooms, which become their exhibition stands at 3daysofdesign. Nothing must be built, torn down and thrown out. And the companies can present themselves in surroundings that uniquely support their values and identity”.


10 years ago and now: what has changed?

Signe Byrdal Terenziani: “From four design companies joining forces, 3daysofdesign has become a host, supporter, and connector at once. A sum of many efforts by our great team and a supportive global design community. We work closely with journalists, designers, and exhibitors to create a unique framework, which we then tie together so that it appears as one unified, closely connected festival that is easy for visitors to navigate. All exhibitors know that they are working together to create something bigger than themselves and are helping to make an essential platform in Copenhagen that contributes to meaningful dialogues about the future of design and foster community, networking, and knowledge sharing. I also enjoy that we can demonstrate Denmark´s proud design heritage on the ground in Copenhagen. Design runs deep in our cultural DNA and is closely connected to the Danish way of living and the atmosphere our guests will experience while visiting our festival”.

How do you create a design week work with a commercial fair to back it up?

Signe Byrdal Terenziani: “I love that 3daysofdesign is a not-for-profit community platform bringing the design industry to life. We could make a lot more money if we made it more commercial, but 3daysofdesign would lose its uniqueness. 3daysofdesign is a curated festival. You have to be original and willing to add essence to the festival; otherwise, we have the possibility to say no – and we do that each year because we want 3daysofdesign to be an exceptional design festival and try to avoid it becoming a commercial circus. It needs to be exclusive yet inclusive so we select companies that share the same values we support: good design, no copies, focus on materials, sustainability, craftsmanship”.

How to visit 3daysofdesign?

Signe Byrdal Terenziani: “Copenhagen is a city with natural districts that have unique characteristics and atmospheres. And Copenhagen is the setting that you, as a visitor, will have to navigare. All you need to do is download the 3daysofdesign app on your phone, wear comfortable shoes, and start exploring the city. All events are open to the public, with much to see”.


What would you suggest seeing, beyond all the product presentations?

Signe Byrdal Terenziani: “There is an interesting initiative that also illustrates the core of our 10th anniversary theme: working together and activating the city bottom  up. We invited Spacon & X to collaborate on introducing a new design district for 3daysofdesign. They mapped the Refshaleøens area and its DNA and created The Junction. Using borrowed materials from local producers a zero waste 30 meter long community table was created for all to use and gather around.

Along the same lines, in Carlsberg Byen, there will also be an exhibition in the old Mineralvandsfabrikken focussing on developing a new city area in the old brewery grounds and showing how different stakeholders have worked together to create a unique living city district in Copenhagen.

I would also mention the presentations by schools or for students, such as the shows at KADK/Royal Danish Academy (also in Refshaleøen), Kolding Design School at Ddcated, and Lifestyle and Design Cluster at Design Museum Denmark, to name a few.

Exploring the program you will find a long list of talks and workshops, concerts and long table dinners. One initiative I would like to mention here is Materials of Tomorrow, an event aimed at radically rethinking material systems to design more sustainable and healthy homes, occurring on June 8th at Copenhagen Contemporary. It’s organized by SPACE10 and 3daysofdesign in collaboration with Material Matters and Office Kim Lenschow”.