Our History

Our History


Our History

Imagine, no counters and formalities, the future - and it is gorgeous - is arranged in displays you could practically move into. It is the only shop in the world which can truly call itself the MOMA of modern living" 
Noted travel writer Temple Fielding on Illums Bolighus in the 1950s

Illums Bolighus was originally founded in 1925 under the name of BO. The man behind this initial venture was a Danish entrepreneur named Kaj Dessau, who was blessed with a strong sense of aesthetics as well as a flair for business. Working with his artistic consultant, Brita Drewsen, he created a concept that had never been seen before: a store with arranged and furnished interiors, where textiles, appointments, and furniture all interacted as art. The exceptional foresight displayed by both Drewsen and Dessau, as well as their impeccable sense of style and quality, played an important role in the international acclaim long accorded to Danish interior design. 

After the store was purchased in 1941 by the Illum, Berg, and Trock-Jansen families, who also owned the A.C. Illum A/S department store, it was renamed Illums Bolighus A/S. The present building, which with understated extravagance manages to stand out on busy Amagertorv in the heart of Copenhagen’s teeming Strøget district, was designed in 1961 by Kay Kørbing, renowned architect and Member of the Architects’ Association in Denmark. The trendsetting and visionary display windows of Illums Bolighus have always been a feature of the store, which has reflected social development and progress ever since it opened as BO in 1925. These windows also serve to illustrateIllums Bolighus’ business concept: an attractive and inspirational shopping environment that is always at the cutting edge of both fashion and societal mores. Other than maintaining the name, business concept, and the stylish and classical edifice, however, Illums Bolighus no longer has ties of any sort with the Illum department store.

Illums Bolighus is now owned by a Danish investment group headed by the store’s Managing Director, Henrik Ypkendanz. Since his appointment to that position in 2001, the store has enjoyed overwhelmingly positive development in customer reviews and employee retention, in addition to markedly increased profitability. It is, quite understandably, a source of great satisfaction to Henrik Ypkendanz that he is now a co-owner of one of Denmarks’s most successful interior design stores. 

Under Henrik Ypkendanz’s exceedingly capable leadership, the Illums Bolighus brand has expanded greatly in recent years. Along with its Amagertorv store, Illums Bolighus also has two shops within the Copenhagen International Airport, as well as a branch in Aarhus on the Jutland peninsula. In the autumn of 2006 the first flagship store outside of the borders of Denmark opened in the ‘House of Oslo” interior design centre in Oslo, Norway.

There, too, Illums Bolighus stands out as a paragon of classic and contemporary design and accessories for the home. In October 2010 a Flagship Store in Hamngatan in the very centre of Stockholm in Sweden opened, followed shortly by a store in Malmø in 2012. Most recently, in 2013, Illums Bolighus opened a store in the historic and picturesque town of Bergen, Norway.


Have you tried our new escalators?

Our six escalators at Amagertorv have been a part of the Illums Bolighus DNA since 1960, but Saturday 4 June the 57 years old escalators had to be upgraded. As we value traditions, it goes without saying that the escalators were supplied by the same German firm Geysel, who installed the original escalators 57 years ago. We filmed the process and want to share it with you, so enjoy 3 days of work narrowed down to 2 minutes. Enjoy!

Historical timeline

2018 Illums Bolighus opens a 700 mstore in Hørsholm

2018 Illums Bolighus opens a 3,500 mstore in Oslo at Vikaterrassen

2017 Illums Bolighus opens a 200 mstore at Tivoli Hjørnet

2017 Illums Bolighus opens a 850 mstore in Stockholm

2017 Illums Bolighus opens a 4,000 mstore in Oslo at Glasmagasinet

2016 Illums Boligus opens a 1,500 m2 store in Hamburg

2016 Illums Boligus opens a 1,000 m2 store in Lyngby 

2015 Illums Bolighus opens a 2,000 m2 store in Mall of Scandinavia 

2013 Illums Boligus opens a 2,500 mstore in Bergen 

2012 Illums Boligus opens a 2,000 mstore in Malmø

2008 Illums Boligus opens a 3,000 mstore in Århus 

2006 Illums Boligus opens a 3,000 mstore in Oslo

2005 An investment group takes over Illums Bolighus

1961 The building is redesigned by architect Kørbing

1941 The store BO is renamed Illums Bolighus

Historical timeline
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