Daells Department store was a legendary Copenhagen department store operating from 1912 until 1999 and famous as one of the first early modernist buildings. At the height of its success in the 1960s and 1970s, half of all Danish households received the Daells Christmas Catalogue by post – today acknowledged as Danish cultural heritage.
The Daell brothers founded Daells Department store in 1910 as a mail order company. In 1912, the company moved to the Copenhagen address of Nørregade 12, where sales grew steadily. The need for more space grew, and the company bought the adjoining premises.
Three rapid expansions ended in early modernism
The brothers published an architectural competition for a new department store on the corner of Nørregade and Krystalgade won in 1922 by Vilhelm Lauritzen and Fritz Schlegel. Only four years after its 1924 completion, a new extension of the store had to be initiated with the same team of architects. This time from scratch with the neighbouring house demolished. Great consideration was still given to the old buildings, and the time was not yet ripe for the new modernist tendencies binding the architects to the original style of pillars and windows.
Come 1933 and another extension was underway; this time with only Vilhelm Lauritzen as architect. In the meantime, modernism has made its entrance, and the Daell brothers were enthusiastic about this modern, functionalistic view. Thus, the surrounding old houses were demolished to make way for a large, modern department store. Designed by Lauritzen with a modern, simple plaster façade in a brown shade referencing the neighbouring cathedral. Lauritzen hid the preserved white pillars cunningly behind white paint so that the long window frame bands seem unbroken. Daylight pass freely through the wide windows and permeate the rooms. From the inside, you had a clear view of the surrounding urban space.
Daells Warehouse was steadily growing until the 1980s, employing at most 2,500 people and and its peak in the 1970’s half of the Danish households received their mail order Christmas Catalogue. After 13 years of deficit, the department closed in 1999 and subsequently underwent a complete renovation. Today, the Daells Department store building house the Hotel Sankt Petri.