Finders Keepers at Øksnehallen

select any photograph to open all in a Lightbox slide show

Today - Saturday 24 August - was the first of the two days of the design market at Øksnehallen - the old market hall in the Meat Packing District of Copenhagen that is just to the south and west of the central railway station.

Finders Keepers is a celebration of small independent design companies in Denmark and includes clothing, household textiles, leather goods as well as ceramics and glass and furniture. There are play areas for children and food stalls on the forecourt.

Finders Keepers continues tomorrow 25 August 2019
at Oksnehallen in the Meat Packing District of Copenhagen

 
 

Denmark's Next Classics

 

This is the last opportunity to see Denmark’s Next Classics at Designmuseum Danmark.

The exhibition shows the work of five designers who took part in a series on Danish television in the Spring that sought to find new designs that could become design classics in the coming years.

From each designer there is a dining chair, a dining table that can be extended, a pendant light, furniture for children, a sofa and a lænestol or arm chair.

With sketches and models for the designs and with audio-visual material - including clips and interviews from the programmes - Denmark’s New Classics explores the process of design.

The designers are Janus Larsen, Isabel Ahm, Rasmus B Fex, Kasper Thorup and Rikke Frost.

Judges for the competition were Anne-Louise Sommer - professor of design and now director of Designmuseum Danmark - and the designer Kasper Salto.

Denmark’s Next Classics
at Designmuseum Danmark until 1 September 2019

the six programmes can still be viewed
on line through the DR site

 

Kulturhavn 2019

Kulturhavn Festival set out in 2001 with three main objectives:

  • To inspire and motivate the audience to engage more in culture and leisure-time by giving them the opportunity to try out new activities and enjoy some sneak previews from the cultural season that lies ahead

  • To familiarise the citizens with Copenhagen Harbour as an urban space, encouraging people, associations, cultural institutions and commercial activities to use and develop this blue urban space

  • To act as companion and a marketing platform for the city's associations and cultural institutions

This year there will be around 230 events and activities including music and theatre on the water; sport from yoga to a “floating water fight” and guided walks and exhibitions.

Kulturhavn Festival
23-25 August 2019. 

 
 
 

Finders Keepers at Øksnehallen

Finders Keepers - a major design fair - is back at Øksnehallen - the exhibition and events hall on the old meat market just to the west of the central railway station in Copenhagen.

Go out of the west end of the station and head for Halmtorvet - the old hay market at the city end of Sønder Boulevard - and the Meat Packing District is on your left.

The design fair will be on Saturday 24 August and Sunday 25 August from 11.00 through to 17.00

FINDERS KEEPERS

Finders Keepers at Øksnehallen in August last year

Copenhagen Gay Pride

 

This has been Copenhagen Gay Pride week with events all round the city with the highlight probably being the parade today with thousands taking part and huge crowds making it a major event.

The city has been decked out with rainbow flags and the colours of the rainbow on major buildings and for light shows..

Løsninger - KADK Afgangsudstilling Design/Architectur/Konservering

 

There are just a few days left to see the exhibition of graduate projects from the schools of architecture, design and fashion at the Royal Academy.

Under the overall title Løsninger, Solutions, there are 235 projects from students who graduated this year.

They look at a huge range of topical design problems from the potential reuse of existing or abandoned buildings, to the development of new materials for construction and for fashion; to the design of shared living to combat loneliness and the possible use of the metro system in Copenhagen to create a new distribution system for goods and there are assessments for marginal lands both for protecting vulnerable landscapes and for building settlements on marginal land as climate change effects existing areas of habitation.

This is an opportunity to see where and how teaching is anticipating future developments in architecture and design and it is fascinating to see how models, drawings and the background research for work are presented.

The fashion projects have already been dismantled - they were moved and shown at another venue through fashion week - but the architecture and the furniture design and the ceramic and glass projects and graduation work on typography and game design can be seen through to the 16 August.

 

Løsninger - KADK Afgangsudstilling Design/Architectur/Konservering

until 16 August 2019 at KADK, Danneskiold-Samsøes Allé 51, 1435 København K

 

St Catherine's College

DR - Danish Broadcasting Corporation - are showing the British crime series Endeavour but retitled here in Denmark as Unge Morse or Young Morse.

Set in Oxford in the 1960s, this is the prequel to the very popular detective series Inspector Morse that was made for ITV and broadcast in England through the 1990s.

This episode of Unge Morse - Bytte or Game - plays out around a chess match between a Russian Grand Master and a computer developed in Oxford.

The computer is pretty amazing - all reel-to-reel tapes and green screens and of course not a UI in sight and, for its architecture, there is an interesting role for a public swimming pool but the star of the programme this week is actually a building designed by Arne Jacobsen … St Catherine's College in Oxford although for the TV drama it becomes Lovelace College.

St Catherine’s was completed in 1964 but retains much of the original furniture and light fittings by Jacobsen so look out for the Series 3300 in a corridor and, of course, the high-backed chairs in plywood designed by Jacobsen and made by Fritz Hansen for the high table of the great hall and now known as the Oxford Series.

 

curious!

April 2019

August 2019

And no the captions are not the wrong way round. That’s what is curious.

This is the new building alongside the suburban railway station of Østerport in Copenhagen designed by KHR Architecture … or rather it is an extensive remodelling of an existing line of shop units that had a fairly brutal street frontage in concrete and now has a new frontage, now offices above the shops and a new office building behind.

Everything is clad - or more accurately everything was clad - in rather distinct panels of glass with a sort of strong raspberry-ice-cream colour. The design has been heavily criticised in the press, in part as being inappropriate on this prominent site, and in part for the glass that reflected bright sunlight and was said to dazzle or even blind car drivers. One critic described it as the “grimmest building” in the city.

Photographed yesterday - as I happened to be walking by on my way somewhere else - it looks as if all the cladding on the front towards the road has been removed. I’m curious to know exactly why and will watch to see what happens next.

Oslo Plads

voted the grimmest

Frue Plads Marked

For three days at the end of the week, the annual craft market will be on Frue Plads - the square next to the cathedral in Copenhagen.

Organised by Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - The Danish Association of Craft Workers and Designers - this is an opportunity to see and to buy some of the very best ceramics, glass and textiles made in Denmark.

Thursday 8 August 12 - 19
Friday 9 August 10 - 19
Saturday 10 August 10 - 16

for further information about the craft market 

320x320-Mobil_final-high.jpg

Lille Langebro

Yesterday a new bridge in Copenhagen opened for cyclists and pedestrians to cross over the harbour from the city side just south of BLOX to Christianshavn.

There appeared to have been no opening ceremony and no notices in the newspaper.

It’s very elegant and forms a gentle curve as it crosses the harbour and my first reaction, on crossing over the bridge, is that it makes the bicycle and pedestrian bridge from Nyhavn to Christianshavn look clunky and over engineered.

 

the new circle line of the Copenhagen Metro to open 29 September

 

The major new extension of the Metro in Copenhagen - the circle line round the historic centre - will now open on 29 September.

Above is the important new station at Trianglen at the south-east entrance to Fælledparken. It shows that much of the new hard landscape in place but the planned avenues of trees along each road edge are still to be planted and architectural features - such as the glass pyramids that will throw natural light down onto the platforms - are still to be installed.

Most of the new stations are at about this stage of completion above ground but the main reason for delay appears to have been caused by late delivery of the trains and the postponement of mechanical, electrical and safety testing.

Photographs of the station platforms and various designs and the different and specific colours for tiling, appropriate for the particular neighbourhood, have been published in some newspapers and show not just different and specific schemes for each station but mark a clear departure from the consistent design and the concrete finish of the existing stations on the first two metro lines that were constructed at the beginning of the century.

DANISH™

It has just been announced, on the site and through their newsletter, that DANISH™ is to close.

They have a distinct, clean and well laid-out site with carefully edited and well-edited text in English - this is a Danish site - and they covered general design topics along with current and ongoing news about design and architecture; assessments of design and architecture studios and reviews of specific new products.

The team were, I believe, four or five people. They established the site with initial grants but then moved over to a financial model that asked design companies to subscribe - rather than relying on reader subscriptions or one-off advertising revenue.

It’s a great loss and shows just how difficult it is to establish and maintain a serious design site with high editorial standards.

The newsletter indicated that material from the site will continue to be available and it is well worth consulting because the articles and reviews set a standard for serious design journalism on line that too few have so far matched.

DANISH™

 

Sankt Hans Aften

Sankt Hans Aften is the celebrations on the evening before the Feast Day of St John the Baptist and, close to the summer solstice and the longest day, is also linked with more ancient legends and beliefs for this is the evening when witches fly to the Broken or Bloksberg in the Harz Mountains - a story that inspired the music known as Night on a Bare Mountain that was composed by Mussirgsky with a later orchestral version by Rimsky-Korsakov.

In Denmark the celebrations open with traditional songs before the bonfire are lit.

Not much to do with architecture and planning …….. or rather this is a brilliant example that shows where city planning has to create public spaces that can be a venue and can cope with events like this that attract huge crowds.

Ofelia Plads - the relatively new public space immediately north of the National Theatre and across the harbour from the Opera House - can accommodate surprisingly large crowds and with plenty of room for food stalls and with good access …. there is plenty of parking spaces for cars below the wharf and for public transport, the quayside is at the end of a bus route that terminates at the end of Sankt Annæ Plads and there is a stop for the harbour ferry just the other side of the theatre …… oh and there is plenty of water if the bonfire should take on a life of its own.

The floating bonfires at the end of Nyhavn and at Ofelia Plads on the Eve of Sankt Hans.

Servitudes - Jesper Just at Kunsthal Charlottenborg

Servitudes, a video installation by the Danish artist Jesper Just, has opened at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen.

The architecture of the gallery space plays a strong part in framing or containing a series of eight videos, including one projected onto the floor, and all are synchronised and seen on a proscribed route along a raised metal walkway with a series of ramps that are reminiscent of temporary access ramps for wheelchairs. These take the visitor through the series of large but dimly-lit spaces and rise high enough to mean that at one point it is necessary to duck down to get under a doorway that normally forms a high and wide link between gallery spaces.

Each film is on a continuous loop and dominate your view point so distort any real sense of scale or time and most visitors seemed to watch each film through so another and strong element of the exhibition is the groups of people seen as silhouettes leaning against the rails of the walkways or, in one gallery, sitting on a bank of platforms.

The videos too have a strong architectural theme and were filmed at One World Trade Center. One has a series of lift doors in a large lobby that are opening and closing to no discernible pattern but with no one entering or leaving and one film has a young woman in a barely-furnished space looking out through high plate-glass windows at a landscape of the city skyscrapers. In another, the camera pans slowly across a finely-detailed glass and steel façade broken by rhythmic tapping that eventually resolves into a young girl, back to the camera. striking a panel at street level with a stone.

The catalogue rightly describes the exhibition as mesmerising.

Servitudes, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen
the exhibition continues until 11 August 2019

Formgivning … from big bang to singularity

  • Connect by Bjarke Ingels and Simon Frommenwiler at entrance

  • BIG at BLOX

  • stairs up with the start of time line

  • PLAY - models of the buildings in LEGO

  • SHOW - Manhattan

  • HOST and LIFT

  • proposal by BIG for BIG in Nordhavn

 

BIG - the Bjarke Ingels Group - have taken over the Danish Architecture Centre in Copenhagen so this exhibition is not just in the two main galleries but flows up and down the staircases and even reaches out into the entrance area. About the only space not occupied by BIG is the half-in-half-out space of the lobby to the underground car park and they also missed an opportunity to take over the public square in front of the building.

Bjarke Ingels is one of the best communicator of ideas and theories about modern architecture - his talks on line are exceptional - so here, at several points in the exhibition, there are life-sized images of the man himself introducing his work and explaining his theories and their application to the phenomenal number of major projects with which BIG have been involved over the last fifteen years.

The main staircase, climbing up from the entrance level, has become a time-line of architectural and cultural history … “the history and future of how thinking, sensing, making, and moving have evolved and will continue to evolve.”

In the gallery at the first landing, PLAY has models of 25 BIG buildings but made by master model makers using plastic LEGO bricks.

Ingels designed LEGO House, in Billund, for the company - completed in 2017 - and here that partnership - between the company and Ingels - is reinforced. This makes a serious point that getting children to see architecture and design as fun from the start - from playing with building bricks or by building dens or play houses - then their approach to their built environment as adults will be more informed and more curious and possibly more adventurous - but the models in LEGO also make sense of these large and complicated buildings by BIG in the way that cartoons or sketches from a good artist can focus our attention on the essential elements of a complicated idea.

Up on the main exhibition area, the floor has been painted with swirls of strong colour that take you to colour-coded areas for this part of the exhibition with each area covering one of the series of main themes. It's a way to group complicated but apparently diverse commissions with sections including - among many others - LIFT, HOST, MARRY and GROW … caps courtesy of the exhibition designer and not mine.

Architectural drawings and rendered digital views - again all colour coded - hang from the high ceiling like banners so it feels like entering a huge medieval bazaar with a touch of Mad Max or Burning Man.

  • model for new apartment building on Dorotheavej in Copenhagen

 

In each section, on trestles, there are architectural models.

Scale models for building projects are the traditional and the well-established tool of the architect and usually a final stage between concept and reality. Models can be the best way for the client and the planning officers to understand what the architect wants to do and models are particularly important if people distrust sketches or are not comfortable with reading and understanding plans and scale drawings.

Here, many of the models are internally lit - to add to the drama - and several use colour for the model that is not used in the final construction but emphasises the main volumes or large building blocks of the architectural composition and there are also some projects where a series of models show how a project evolved as different arrangements of volumes and primary building blocks were tried and ideas developed.

Down the stairs to leave and you find the BIG vision for the future - our future - including concept studies for people building on Mars. As you walk down the stairs, the sections are headed LEAP, THINK, SENSE, MAKE, MOVE.

As an exhibition, it is overwhelming and I will have to get into training and start overloading on energy bars before going back to think about a more carefully-considered review to add to this initial impression. Even if it sounds like it, I'm not carping or trying to be cynical. Seen together, these projects by BIG are impressive and the exhibition really is inspiring. So … the first impression is that it is overwhelming but inspiring.

Ingels is clearly driven - by enthusiasm and with passion - and revelations of theories underlying his ideas should, at the very least, initiate serious discussion about what we need from our buildings now and encourage people to think more about what we want in the future or, to quote, “rather than attempt to predict the future, we have the power to propose our future” although I’m still not sure if that we with the power is us or BIG.

It is appropriate that this exhibition follows on from the retrospective, here at DAC last year, that looked at the life and works of Ove Arup. Both men, although so different in character, can be seen as philosophers who, rather than write, build and make. Both set out to challenge the preconceptions of the staid or the cautious, to move architecture and engineering forward an alternative to simply making sequential improvements or recycling ideas.

If there is one omission, it is that Ingels fronts an atelier - a team of 600 professionals who are divided between offices in Copenhagen, London, Barcelona and New York - but from this first look at Formgivning there seems to be little sense of how responsibility is managed or delegated: an architectural practice on this scale and with this throughput of commissions is as much about management skills and, with growing fame, about the management of expectations as it is about inspiration.

And there is an aspect of modern architecture that the exhibition skirts around and that is the problems and the realities of the present. We tend to gloss over or ignore obvious mistakes of the past as now they are in the past and we want to be rushing on towards the buildings and the materials and the life style and the promises of an attractive and imminent future but in reality, and to be honest, architecture and building, particularly on the scale of many of these projects, is a protracted process where the present is the slowest part. The limbo of the present. Many of the designs here were commissioned five or more years ago and could take a decade to complete or might, even now, be shelved or abandoned as political or environmental pressure dictates a different course.

A case in point is shown in the exhibition with drawings and models for a new building in Nordhavn - the North Harbour - that has been designed by BIG for BIG.

It has been on hold for months because the proposals submitted were rejected in the planning process. A future on hold is frustrating but, sometimes, to take stock and to have to defend a design and to have to fight a corner or, even, when necessary, to accept and understand and take on board concerns should not thwart inspiration but could mean a better building but, in reality, it can be a slow and frustrating process.

BLOX, the new home of the Danish Architecture Centre by the architectural practice OMA, was commissioned in 2008 and completed in 2018. It has been heavily criticised but the rejoinder has been that if this building was commissioned today, it would not be this building that would be commissioned. Will that also be true for some of major projects from BIG that are shown here but are still to be realised?

If there has to be one single and simple contribution that the exhibition makes, it is that Ingels - in the very title of the exhibition - seems to challenge our use of the word design.

For at least the last decade, the word design has been kidnapped by marketing men so, for too many, design has become not so much a process but little more than an ingredient … a selling point to up the amount on the price tag.

Bjarke Ingels seems to have thrown in the towel and abandoned the word to go back to a Scandinavian notion of giving form so, the role of the architect is to have the idea and then to make that idea real … to have the idea and to give it form.

 

Formgivning / Formgiving
an architectural future history from Big Bang to Singularity
continues at Dansk Arkitektur Center / Danish Architecture Centre in Copenhagen
until 5 January 2020

Bag on Året, København 2018 /  Behind the Year, Copenhagen 2018

Blankt Papir Press was founded in 2017 by the art photographer Julia Mejnertsen and is  described as a nano-publishing house.

Through 2018 they collaborated with 80 Copenhagen-based photographers to produce images of the city and it's citizens that were published as 12 books - one for each month - with a limited run of 100 for each.

The premise was that "Copenhagen has been named as 'the most liveable city in the world' several times and we have seen many beautiful vistas of the Danish capital, but reality is always far more complex."

The photographs were shown at the Machine Hall through the Copenhagen Photo Festival as a series of booklets … each the work of one photograph and with the works arranged by the month to which they contributed.

Blankt Papir Press

Copenhagen Photo Festival - Festival Center Refshaleøen

 

For the Copenhagen Photo Festival, the centre is over on Reshaleøen at the north end of the harbour - out beyond Christianshavn and Holmen - on the site of former shipyards.

Many of the workshops, office buildings and dry docks of the yards survive in various states but the area has seen a rapid transformation over the last couple of years with new restaurants, the food market of Reffen - now here for its second summer - a bakery and flea market along with a major new gallery of modern art - Copenhagen Contemporary - now also in it's second season.

The photo festival is spread over three main venues and each with a very different character as exhibition space.

At the north end is a group of stacked shipping containers with open ends where the works of Franziska Gill and Marco Marzocchi are shown and outside, on scrub land with the footings of demolished buildings, are the photographs of White Rage by Espen Rasmussen and the large images for Living Room by Jana Sophia Nolle.

All these works are essentially photo journalism and all gain from the temporary and therefore immediate feel of the spaces where a more traditional and polite modern gallery could make the images appear detached from the subjects. In particular, the images of White Rage seem even more of a challenge when seen outside against trees and rough grass as if they are in a post-conflict site of destruction.

To the south, close to the food market, the Machine Workshop is a huge space that provides the venue for Censored - the main open show for fine art photography - the exhibition Hail by Garrett O Hansen; a video installation - KOMA RETREAT - by Mathias Løvgreen and the installation Behind the Year by the independent publisher Blankt Papir Press.

The space above Copenhagen Contemporary with photographs by Mary Frey could not be more of a contrast. It's a vast and light space with an amazing roof and all recently restored. These enormous halls will be used by Copenhagen Contemporary for work with schools and for additional exhibitions beyond or rather above the space of the vast galleries below. For the Photo Festival access was by a relatively narrow metal staircase with a straight single flight that seemed to go on and on climbing for ever - almost surreal.

Copenhagen Photo Festival continues until 16 June 2019

 

Refshaleøen as a venue for the Copenhagen Photo Festival

Although there are exhibitions all over the city, Refshaleøen is the centre for the Copenhagen Photo Festival.

The area - with huge but abandoned buildings from the shipyards here until the 1990s - has an incredible atmosphere - part dereliction and decay and part alive with energy as the area is being transformed.

It's definitely photogenic with amazing materials, colours and texture and with strong contrasts between areas of decay hard against buildings and areas being given a new life.

But there is an odd disjunction ….

The area has become a playground for the city. Of course that's not in itself a bad thing because Copenhagen needs somewhere where people can make a noise - the heavy metal festival Copenhell is out here at the end of the month - or make a mess and it's somewhere artists and makers and young start-up companies can find work space with low or relatively low rents for now in this interim period before developers and money men move in and they are driven out. The area feels consciously edgy but maybe slightly hyper because everyone knows the clock is ticking.

There are actually expensive places here to eat and drink alongside a huge variety of foods from the food market … and I'm not knocking any of that … I'm as middle class as you can get and come out here to Lille Bakery to buy some of the best bread in the city … but ……

And this is where my inner puritan kicks in …Refshaleøen was a huge and, for the post-war Danish economy, a crucial industrial site where thousands of men worked and worked hard and the memory of that is fading and disappearing. Machinery, hoists, cranes have all gone with little remaining to tell you what was done and where.

I'm not romanticising work that must, for many, have been hard and grim. It's just that it is now 30 years since ships were made here so there must be fewer and fewer people alive who actually worked in the yards. Should people now still try to understand all that and remember? Do we need to understand how we got here to make sense of where we are going?

If you stopped any of the foreign students arriving in droves on their bikes or any of the tourists off the ferry and asked them then very few would even know that this part of the city had been a shipyard. Does that matter?

My first trips to Copenhagen were after the ship yards closed, so I have no first-hand idea of what this area was like through the 1950s and 1960s, except from looking at old photos and maps  and maybe that is the other odd thing that few visitors will understand … this land was claimed from the sea, became a major industrial area and failed and dismantled and abandoned in just three decades. In an age when we are more and more concerned about our impact on our planet, is Refshaleøen a stark example of man moving in, transforming a landscape and moving on leaving the mess … so a monument to hubris … or a lesson in pragmatism … our ability to salvage and make something new once the old is no longer of use?

And if I missed the shipyards, I do remember the area before gentrification began … exploring and taking odd photographs of scrap yards and wire fences and vicious guard dogs and feeling uneasy, knowing I was intruding, and waiting to be challenged or seen off at any moment.

Again I'm not romanticising that in any way but maybe cities need scruffy land on the edge of regulations and outside planning and controls although, I guess, that is not on the agenda of the politicians and developers.

Royal Run

 

Today, the bank holiday Monday, was the day of the Royal Run. The Crown Prince and all his family ran. It was only the second year for the event but this year, held in four cities, 82,000 people ran either a mile or a 10 kilometre course. In Copenhagen, that longer run was from the centre of the city out to Frederiksberg and back.

The organisation in Copenhagen was amazing because a huge part of the centre was cleared of traffic and barriers had to be set up along the course to keep back the crowds who were watching and cheering on the runners. At busy points there were even temporary bridges over roads, constructed in scaffolding, to take pedestrians up and over the course.

Before the start, runners were marshalled in the streets around Sankt Annæ Plads before entering their race by crossing over the bridge at the centre of Nyhavn and setting off by running through the temporary arch of a starting gate. With so many runners, the start was staggered over several hours but runners waited patiently and with very obvious good humour.

The Royal Run has nothing to do with architecture or design but it certainly has a lot to do with city planning and with a positive and flexible attitude by city councils who have to licence and provide the infrastructure and facilities for such a hugely-popular public event.

This was all about encouraging people to participate and if they do not run already, then to encourage them to take up running for a healthier life and it needed a phenomenal amount of planning and organisation by the city to make the event such a success.