Denmark rightly prides itself of being a design nation. Still, when talking about Danish designers media and fellows alike seem to concentrate on those few who also seem to cope with marketing and press releases. Contrary to these, Arne Kvorning who turns 60 on November 22, 2020, is certainly one thriving under the radar. It could be explained by his mild and modest personality but it’s also very much due to the fact that he excels in areas which most people neglect as design or perhaps don’t even notice. And yet for nearly 30 years, millions of people around the world have been able to appreciate Kvorning’s ability to create exhibitions in which design, story telling and the sense of space are effortlessly brought together into a whole that never shadows the topic they are vehicle for.
Born in Viborg, one of Denmark’s three ancient capitals, Kvorning graduated cum laude in 1986 from the School of Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, and soon established himself later with a number of touring exhibition concepts for the Danish Cultural Institute, which among many honours also brought him the first prize at the International Academy of Architecture in Sao Paulo in 2000. Since then he has developed Kvorning Design to become the most significant architectural practice of the Nordic region specialising in exhibition design, with more than 5000 projects on his curriculum. Commissions stem from more than 50 countries covering an impressive range of typologies from museums like London’s Imperial War Museum or educational institutions like The Blue Planet in Copenhagen’s suburbia, to complex intercultural communication on Unesco World Heritage at 14 different locations and blockbuster-themed presentations at world exhibitions in Shanghai and in Taipei. Many of these tasks originate from close collaboration with leading architects such as Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Dominique Perrault, Normann Foster, Snøhetta, BIG, 3XN and Henning Larsen which is another way to say that they regard Kvorning as a peer – knowing that his keen eye for their concepts and his details will always add that little extra which makes their building accessible and pleasant to visit.
Despite all achievements, Kvorning really hasn’t had the chance to show his prowess in music although he is in fact quite competent at shredding one of the six strings guitars in collection. Now that he’s reaching maturity, it’s perhaps time that someone gives him the opportunity to bridge his two passions so he can show spin a story of being part of The Wrecking Crew.
Eric Messerschmidt, Director, Danish Cultural Center, Beijing, China