Being at the top of the list for such a long time implies excellence, but applies pressure, too. This is something Chef-owner Rene Redzepi, at the helm of Noma, understands all too well. For several years in a row, his two-Michelin-star establishment was named best restaurant in the world, attracting foodies from all over the globe to Copenhagen despite a reservation waiting list of several months. With such a huge success, resting on his laurels could have satisfied Rene. Instead, to continue striving toward perfection, he took a big risk: In February 2017, the chef closed the restaurant, announcing that it will reopen about one year later in new facilities, in a new location and, of course, with a new menu.
Open once more, the restaurant is now located on the outskirts of Copenhagen, in an idyllic and peaceful setting in the historic Christianshavn neighbourhood. The new Noma—or Noma 2.0—comprises no less than 11 interconnected buildings, with the kitchen at its heart.
More popular than ever, the restaurant was designed by renowned Danish architecture firm Big (Bjarke Ingels Group) and interior designer David Thulstrup—at the helm of his eponymous studio—who worked hand-in-hand with Rene to transform a former sea mine warehouse into the new Noma campus. In addition to the 195-square-metre garden created by landscape designer Piet Oudolf, the project has three independent greenhouses, where the chef can now grow his own products.
In charge of shaping the chef’s vision through the interior spaces, Thulstrup found inspiration from the world of residential design, as one of the objectives was to convey a sense of place and a feeling of being at home. “A keyword for Rene was ‘liveable’ so we created honest, simple and modern spaces that are not over-designed,” David says. The interior designer also echoed Big’s design concept.
Each building has one specific function and is made of a single material (wood or brick, for instance) chosen specifically for that purpose. “The material is the decoration”, says David, who designed bespoke furniture and lighting, and asked artists to create artworks especially for this magical venue.
As in Noma’s previous iteration, the main dining room—with walls that look like stacks of wood and a central counter made of a 200-year-old naturally blackened beam found in the harbour nearby— continues to be intimate with a capacity of only 42 people.
Featuring beams clad in white oiled Douglas fir, a private room—adjacent to the dining room—seats between eight and 16. In the lounge area, the custom-made cream-coloured brick walls and floor are reminiscent of the clean and modern lines of ‘70s Danish style. Bathed in natural light, the restaurant features predominantly soft tones, which creates an intimate atmosphere, while natural materials like stone and wood highlight the authentic character of the place.
The spaces at Noma 2.0 elegantly and discretely embody the restaurant’s illustrious 15-year history while looking towards the future. “It’s a mixture of old and new. The idea was to reflect the restaurant’s heritage, but not from a nostalgic point of view”, shares David. “The result is very Scandinavian, but without any of the cliches of Nordic design. I looked at all eras, particularly less-explored furniture and art references. Everything is carefully selected, curated or designed, and nothing screams more than the other. The whole thing has this sense of coherence and a 360-degree holistic approach”.
Visit https://noma.dk to find more about Noma.
Architecture firm Big and interior designer David Thulstrup’s combined touches yielded spaces that are both rustic and sophisticated.
Dried herbs and natural light evoke a warm and convivial atmosphere.
Finishes on the furniture are deliberately left untreated, adding a rich texture to the space.
Preserved specimens serve as decoration in the foyer.
BOTTOM FAR RIGHT
A pop of colour from the suspended artwork lit by the slim skylight.
Good to know
Noma has won the title of the Best Restaurant in the World four times. Its name is an abbreviation of Danish words Nordisk (Nordic) and mad (food).
Layers of texture enrich the tactility of the space.
The varied bricklayering pattern above the fireplace adds a visual interest.
At the main dining area, naturally blackened beams are paired with pale bricks and wood.
“IT’S A MIXTURE OF OLD AND NEW... BUT NOT FROM A NOSTALGIC POINT OF VIEW. THE RESULT IS VERY SCANDINAVIAN, BUT WITHOUT ANY OF THE CLICHES OF NORDIC DESIGN.”
– DAVID THULSTRUP
text KARINE MONIE photos IRINA BOERSMA