Søren Kierkegaards Plads 1 - Copenhagen
The Black Diamond (Danish: Den Sorte Diamant) is a cultural and art center in Copenhagen, home of the Royal Library of Denmark, and of three museums: the National Museum of Photography, the Museum of Danish Cartoon Art, and the Danish Museum of Book.
Architecture and location
The Black Diamond building was completed in 1999 as an extension to the historical building of the Royal Library, conceived in 1906 by architect Hans Jørgen Holm, located in the heart of Copenhagen and overlooking the city’s harbor.
Designed by Danish practice Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, the 226,000 square foot extension houses six reading rooms of the library, the exhibition galleries of three museums, a 600-seat auditorium-concert hall, a cafe, a restaurant, a bookshop, workshops and administration offices, and a roof terrace.
The center takes its name from the peculiar polished black granite cladding of the two main buildings which compose it. A large glazed atrium connects the two parts and accommodates most of the center’s public functions. The extension is linked to the old building through a glazed skywalk, decorated with a large abstract painting by renowned Danish artist Per Kirkeby.
The Black Diamond in Copenhagen, exterior view from south, aerial photo, south elevation drawing, interior view of the atrium, and interior view of the glazed walkway with the painting by Per Kirkeby on the ceiling; all images courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Exterior view of the glazed walkway which connects the old building to the extension designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects; photo by Bo Nielsen
The Black Diamond, exterior views from south-west and from west; photos by CTG/SF and by Marco Zanferrari
National Museum of Photography
The National Museum of Photography (Danish: Det Nationale Fotomuseum) is one of the most important European museum dedicated to photographic arts.
The museum’s collection, which comprises about 50,000 pieces dating from 1839 to the present, is divided into sections dedicated to Danish, and to international photography, and includes works by William Henry Fox Talbot, Roger Fenton, Cecil Beaton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Klein, Richard Avedon, David Goldblatt, Nan Goldin, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, Candida Höfer, Paul Graham, Olafur Eliasson, and Shirana Shahbazi, among many others.
Works from the permanent collection are displayed on rotation through thematic exhibitions; the museum also hosts special exhibitions and includes a documentation center and a study room.
Museum of Danish Cartoon Art
The Museum of Danish Cartoon Art (Museet for Dansk Bladtegning) presents comic strips and satirical drawings, created by Danish cartoonists from 1890 onward, to illustrate the political and social life of Denmark in the 20th and early-21st century, a period in which cartoons published in popular national newspapers and magazines have played an important and peculiar role in Denmark’s culture. The museum holds a collection of over 150,000 original drawings by more than 200 cartoonists.
Danish Museum of Book
Through special exhibitions, the Danish Museum of Book (Denmark Bogmuseum) showcases some of most significant and rarest pieces from the Royal Library collections. The collection, among the most important in Europe, includes about 4,500 incunabula, 1,000 Medieval manuscripts, 6,500 century foreign books of the 16th century, 150 volumes printed on parchment, and 100,000 scientific books dating from the 1400s to the 1900.
Along with permanent and temporary exhibitions, the Black Diamond hosts special events, concerts, educational classes and workshops, film screenings, theatrical performances, meetings and conferences.
Exhibition “We built a house” at the National Museum of Photography, 2016, Photos: Torben Eskerod
Exhibition “The Weather Diaries” at the National Museum of Photography, 2015, photos courtesy of Cooper Gorfer
Cover image: The Black Diamond from south-east; photo by L. Lesnard