How I Curate My Space: Helle Mardahl’s Candyland Studio

In this interiors series, we ask designers and tastemakers to open the doors of a space they love, sharing the stories and inspirations behind its style and their favorite pieces within it. Here, Copenhagen-based artist HELLE MARDAHL, known for her delectable pastel-colored glassware, invites us into the “candy universe” of her new studio. By KATIE BERRINGTON

Artist and designer Helle Mardahl

Artist and designer Helle Mardahl only got the keys to her new studio space a couple of months ago. It was the historic charm of the Neoclassical building, which dates back to 1801, that struck her when she viewed it. “It holds so much history, which is a real privilege to be surrounded by every single day,” she says. “During my very first visit, I noticed all the breathtakingly beautiful high-ceilinged rooms. But another thing that really stole my heart was a little crooked and super-charming pink house in our courtyard that can be seen from almost every room in the apartment. I just knew it was meant to be.”

Its location, in the district of Frederiksstaden, is close to some of the most renowned sites of central Copenhagen. From the dining room, there is a glimpse of Amalienborg Palace, and just across the street is the green-domed Marble Church.

Inside, the aesthetic has been thoughtfully considered to allow the property’s past, as well as the brand’s whimsical, one-of-a-kind pieces, to shine. “We have kept the colors on the walls very calm – both to honor the space and to create a good balance with our colorful design. The space is so impressive on its own and we wanted to keep it that way,” Mardahl says. “In two of the rooms, the panels are decorated with golden paint, and throughout the space there are numerous impressive brass details.” To celebrate these elements, she designed a playful brass installation for the oval room – a former dining room or dance hall, she thinks – which serves as the main showroom. “It creates a great synergy between the old and the new by respecting and enhancing the original details.”

We usually go for bold, wild colors, but for this space the palette was much lighter and more neutral, which made it surprisingly more difficult to decide on the combinations
Helle Mardahl
Mardahl’s unique designs are handmade and mouth-blown in Copenhagen

She worked with her friend Josephine Akvama Hoffmeyer (the founder and creative director of File Under Pop) to decide on the palette. “She’s the best with colors and she knows me and my taste very well, so it’s a great match. We usually go for bold, wild colors, but for this space the palette was much lighter and more neutral, which made it surprisingly more difficult to decide on the combinations.” For standout playful additions, the team designed large, vibrant pieces of furniture – including a vast U-shaped couch, in predominantly pink and blue blocks – to create a striking contrast.

In her own wing of the apartment, Mardahl will decorate one of the rooms as a library archive for herself – filled with samples, drawings and collectors’ pieces for inspiration. “A dream come true,” she says.

At more than 200 years old, the property is listed in the Danish registry of protected buildings, which means that most of the walls are conserved with canvas to preserve the original colors and textiles underneath. “It was quite a difficult space to renovate, as you really felt the weight of its history,” considers Mardahl of the task the team undertook, “and we were very concerned with honoring the details and the excellent craftsmanship. I believe we succeeded.”

My favorite elements

Our custom-made green onyx coffee table

“An essential piece in our new space is absolutely our green onyx coffee table by Marbera. It was made specially for us – designed to hold one of our glass bubbles – and it’s absolutely amazing. The glass and the marble go so well together, and the coffee table is a great addition to our candy universe. I’m dreaming of getting a similar table at home.”

Abstract brass installations

“As part of our newly presented collection Sweet Illusion, I had a vision in my head of making abstract body parts in brass and hanging them in unexpected places in the space. Inspired by the wonderful world of circus – with acrobats and dancers – the brass sculptures are playful, and make fantastic additions to the interior.”

Inside Mardahl’s candy-colored studio, the pastel couch is a favorite hangout spot for the team, and is central to team meetings and work drinks

My dream couch

“Ever since I can remember, I’ve dreamed of having a huge couch – a conversation couch that can fit a small village. I made some very detailed 3D drawings and called our dear carpenter Thomas, who made it a reality. It easily fits our whole team of nine people, and it has become our favorite hangout spot – we use it for meetings, Zoom calls and after-work drinks. It’s probably my best investment so far!”

The studio was designed in collaboration with Josephine Akvama Hoffmeyer, founder of design studio File Under Pop. Together, she and Mardahl chose a neutral color palette and added standout, playful furnishings