update - udlejningsløbehjul

With the recent fine weather these things are everywhere around the city and not just ridden everywhere but abandoned everywhere.

They appeared first in the late Autumn but there are now three companies renting out these scooters.

Initially there was some debate about scooters being legal on the public road; then questions about the possible dangers of relatively fast scooters mixing with bikes on the cycle lanes and pedestrians on footpaths and, more recently, complaints about scooters blocking footpaths when they are left at the end of the hire.

Now, in one national paper, comes a more interesting controversy. The scooters are promoted as not just enabling people to get around easily and quickly and independently but that, powered by batteries, they are ecological good … if you assume that someone abandons a car journey and goes by scooter … before abandoning the scooter. The problem seems to be that the scooters, or at least the first ones, were designed for use indoors and were for individuals so presumably that means not built for continuous or frequent use and not designed for, shall we say, robust use, rented out.

The average life for one of these scooters is said to be between 60 and 90 days so, when taking into account the manufacturing costs of materials and energy and so on, then that is hardly a sustainable 'wheel' print.

To be fair, much of the problem is with the user rather than the scooter. Properly regulated and used sensibly these could provide one solution for getting from metro and suburban train hubs into and around the city and do actually take up less space than a bike when parked properly … it will be interesting to see how this works out but at the moment it is looking more and more likely that the politicians will act first and bring in a ban.

earlier post nice parking

Udlejningsløbehjul? That's the Danish word for rental scooters

 

Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design 2019

 

The exhibition for the prestigious Danish award for the crafts - the Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design - opened today at Nordatlantens Brygge / North Atlantic House in Copenhagen and continues until 5 May 2019.

Artists and designers selected to exhibit this year are:

Anett Biliczki
Sarah Oakman og Maj-Britt Zelmer Olsen
Sarah Winther
Mia Lagerman
Mariko Wada
Bitten Hegelund
Ole Jensen
Kunstnergruppen RØRT: Ædelmetalformgiver og sygeplejerske Kristina Villadsen, Ædelmetalformgiver og arkitekt Maja Røhl, Ædelmetalformgiver og cand.comm. Maria Tsoskunoglu, Ædelmetalformgiver og grafiker Nanna Obel
Christina Christensen
Katrine Borup, Pernille Mouritzen og Bess Kristoffersen
Margrethe Odgaard
Bodil Manz og Jacob Manz
Helle Vibeke Jensen Jensen og Mette Saabye
Charlotte Østergaard
Signe Fensholt
Kristine Mandsberg
Katrine Bidstrup
Sisse Lee

Nordatlantens Brygge

Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere

Axel Salto Stentøjsmesteren / Axel Salto stoneware master

 

A major exhibition of the work of Axel Salto at Øregaard Museum in Hellerup - just up the coast to the north of the city.

Axel Salto (1889 - 1961) studied painting at the Royal Academy and graduated in 1914.

In 1916 he lived in Paris where he met Picasso and Henri Matisse and on returning to Denmark he produced, edited and wrote for a short-lived but influential journal Klingen / The Blade that was published between 1917 and 1919.

He was a member of the Grønningen group of artists and one of The Four with Svend Johansen, Vilhelm Lundstrom and Karl Larsen who exhibited together between 1920 and 1929.

In the 1920s he began to design ceramics and his stoneware pieces were produced in the workshops of Carl Haller - Saxbo keramik in Frederiksberg and he also produced designs for porcelain by Bing & Grondahl with his work shown at the Paris exhibition in 1925.

The exhibition shows a full range of his ceramic works from small stoneware bowls with incised decoration or bold moulding with Japanese style glazes to large scale works with scenes from Classical mythology or stylised nature.

Paintings and strong and very confident ink and linework drawings including designs for the ceramics show clearly the style Salto developed with his training as a painter.

He also worked with the book binder August Sandgren and a selection of designs for end papers are shown in an upper gallery which have a distinct feel of the 1930s with deep colours and stylised and small repeat patterns.

 

the exhibition continues at Øregaard Museum until 23 June 2019

update - Sankt Kjelds Plads - climate change landscape

Sankt Kjelds Plads in July 2018 - looking towards Hahnemanns Køkken - the cafe on the north side of the square

 

the same view in April 2019

 

Sankt Kjelds Plads is in a densely built area of older apartment buildings about 4 kilometres  directly north from the city hall.

Many of the buildings here date from the 1930s but there are large modern office buildings and large  and relatively recent industrial buildings and a large supermarket to the west.

The area has a distinct urban character with relatively wide streets but little planting and not just on street parking but also fairly heavy through traffic. From the air you can see that most of the large apartment blocks have extremely pleasant courtyards with planting but the real problem for this area is that climate change has meant occasional but very destructive flooding from sudden rain storms with the street drainage unable to deal with surface water on the streets and with rain running off the roofs of the large buildings.

The solution has been to put in fast flowing storm drains, surface channels to take water away to tanks or sumps where it can be controlled, and, where necessary, filtered and then released into the drainage system but at an appropriate rate … these sudden storms may last for only an hour but in that time there can be a depth of 30 centimetres of water across the road, stopping traffic, flooding basements and ground-floor apartments and businesses and taking road level pollution through the drains and to the harbour and the sound.

Along with the hard landscaping of drains and surface gullies - the other solution is extensive planting that absorbs rainfall - apart from the most severe storms - and adds considerably to the amenity value of the street scape.

Here at Sankt Kjelds Plads, seven roads converge at what was a very large traffic round-a-bout. That was planted with shrubs and trees but certainly it was not a place to sit. In fact with the traffic it was not a place where many people even cut across.

With the current scheme, small areas of pavement in front of the buildings have been pulled forward and the traffic discouraged and the round-a-bout reduced significantly in size. The new areas are densely planted and have pathways curving through them with seats and with sunken areas that will flood when there are storms to act as holding tanks but have planting that will cope.

This will be the first full growing season for the trees and shrubs and ground cover so it is not fair to judge the scheme until everything becomes more established but already the transformation is obvious.

This links through with the climate change landscaping of Tåsinge Plads about 85 metres away to the east and the main north south road through Sankt Kjelds Plads - Bryggervangen - is also being planted to form a green corridor from the large park - Fælledparken - to the south through to an open area and pond to the north beyond Kildevældskirke.

more images and map

post on Sankt Kjelds Plads July 2018
post on Tåsinge Plads July 2018

looking across Sankt Kjelds Plads from the south side - although it is hard to see through the new planting, the traffic island is still at the centre but has been reduced significantly in size

 

aerial view of Sankt Kjelds Plads after the main landscape work on Tåsinge Plads had been completed - the thin triangular street space on the right towards the bottom - and just before construction work on Sankt Kjelds Plads began so this shows the original traffic island and areas for people to walk kept to the edge immediately in front of the buildings

Amaryllis Hus

The annual Building Awards in Copenhagen were established in 1902 but it was only last year that citizens were asked to vote for a public award for one of the buildings on the list of finalists.

Last year the building selected for that first public award was Axeltorv / Axel Towers by Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter.

The winner this year is interesting. From a diverse list of unusual and quite adventurous building projects around the city, the public selected an apartment with a high-rise tower out of the city, just under 5 kilometres from city hall, out to the south west beyond Vestre Kirkegård … the western cemetery.

This is Amaryllis Hus on Paradisæblevej - designed by Mangor & Nagel and part of a major redevelopment of Grønttorvet - the old wholesale vegetable market - a short walk from Ny Ellebjerg station.

read more

 
 

brickwork

Someone told me that in the late 19th century, as more and more buildings in Copenhagen were built in brick, with brickwork with ornate patterns or fine moulded or shaped details in brick, bricklayers were sent off to Germany to learn to do it properly.

I’m not sure if that is true or not but certainly by the 1890s and into the early 20th century, better buildings in Copenhagen had very good high-quality brickwork with a lot of ornament.

By the 1920s, with the arrival of first classical and then functional styles for the best architecture, brickwork, generally, became less ornate but still of a high quality and not just for public buildings but also for the better apartment buildings.

Patterns of coursing and the use of different colours of brick together enliven what would otherwise be stark or severe exteriors. This apartment block was built in 1930 and is in Skoleholdervej - the road that runs across the south boundary of the north-west cemetery.

Similar brickwork, with alternate courses set forward and back to create the effect of horizontal ribbing, has been used at Amaryllis Hus - the new apartment building in Valby but in sunk panels beside windows within a regular square grid.

the bauhaus #allesistdesign

the bauhaus #allesistdesign
Vitra Design Museum
Bundeskunsthalle
2015

 

Extract - an installation by Ingrid Kæseler

 

Officinet - poster for Extract

This is a large scale installation by the artist Ingrid Kæsler that looks at how we see colour and how we perceive space and also explores the boundaries of the traditional techniques of how textiles can be coloured and how designs are printed or transferred.

At the centre are four large banners - they are described as membranes - that are hung one behind the other and you are encouraged to walk through the narrow space between them to see how the colours and sense of space and distance changes as you look along or through the work.

These banners all the same size but are made up from separate horizontal strips of polyester with 12 strips to each - of different widths and painted in strong acrylic colours. There are six colours, reminiscent of the colours of the rainbow but deliberately different and they are repeated in exactly the same sequence - so a run of six and then the same sequence of six to make up a complete banner. This creates what is almost a modulation or wave across the work as the banners ripple across the surface with the slight vertical folds of being hung free of the wall but also a gentle rising and falling of the bands of colour from front to back from banner to banner.

Each finished banner was laid out over a large squares of aluminium sheet that was turned through 45 degrees to form in effect a lozenge or diamond and the colour was transferred from the textile to the aluminium to create what are, in effect, translucent windows through which you can see through the work and see light from the gallery windows and the colours of the sequence of banners with a surprising sense of aerial perspective - surprising in that the colours are so strong but the distance between them is tightly confined. It is when you look through, from one to the next, that you see that the word membrane is appropriate.

One starting point or inspiration for the work was thinking about how light is refracted by a crystal.

The aluminium squares are actually made from four separate long narrow panels set side by side to form the square and with the colour transferred these have been set out on the floor on either side but not in the original sequence. Where the edge of the aluminium has left slight traces on the textile and where small areas of paint have not transferred each has a trace or an echo of the other so you can reconstruct where each aluminium sheet was placed when the colour was transferred.

The banners are 3 metres wide and three metres high and the aluminium panels are 1.5 metres by 1.5 metres so there is also a precise relationship between dimensions and scale and how we read space and proportions and about we do or do not make these connections.

Extract continues until 21 April 2019
at Officinet,
Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere,
Bredgade 66, Copenhagen

Ingrid Kæseler

 

update - Gammel Strand

 

the official site for the city Metro has news, general information, drawings and a short description of the new stations along with pdf plans of the area around each station at street level

Work is moving forward fast on the hard landscaping at street level above the new metro station at Gammel Strand … a station on the new circle line that will open later in the summer.

The steps down to the platforms and the glass covered lift tower are in place and setts are now being laid in the traditional scallop pattern across the main area so the new arrangement for this important historic street is becoming clear.

There was consultation with local businesses and local residents. Vehicles will be excluded, apart from deliveries, so the only through traffic will be a new narrow bike lane but with markings showing lanes to cycle in both directions.

The existing road, now being removed, runs parallel to the building frontages with just a narrow pavement so with little space for outside tables and chairs for the restaurants here. With the bike lane set forward closer to and parallel to the canal there should be much more space for people to sit outside and the gentle curve of the bike lane takes that bike traffic along the side of the canal further west rather than running as the road does now through in a straight line to Snaregade.

There will be steps down from the street level of Gammel Strand to a lower canal-side level for access to boats but as a sun trap it will certainly be used by people simply wanting to sit and watch what is happening on the water.

read more

 
 

My Perfect City 2 - The smart city: Seoul

 

Last week I posted about an interesting new radio programme on BBC World Service that is looking at which features of our cities now might together make a perfect city for the future.

The second programme was broadcast today and examined how cities use smart data looked specifically at Seoul in South Korea.

Interesting ideas were discussed but the overriding message must surely be that citizens right now should be discussing what data should be collected, how it should be used and who has access to that data.

Passively waiting to see what governments or global companies do and then complaining is not the best approach.

BBC World Service, My Perfect City, episode 2, The smart city: Seoul

for the post here on the first episode see The green city: San Francisco with a link to that programme

nice parking

 

This Spring, in Copenhagen, the new trend for fast transport to get around the city are battery-powered scooters. A couple of companies are providing the scooters that are hired through phone apps of course.

There are two obvious problems that have to be sorted out. First, although many scooter riders stick to the bike lanes, many do not, and if the rider tries boarding tricks of popping up onto the pavement and off or weaving in and out of pedestrians then these things get up quite a speed and accidents are inevitable.

The second problem - and already the cause of heated debate in the newspapers - is that the scooters, even when neatly parked, can be left and are left anywhere so can and do block footpaths. They are also just abandoned - as I spotted here last weekend - and this was not some disgruntled pedestrian moving a scooter out of the way - but a pond well away from the footpath.

OK. Call me old and grumpy.

I Have Grown Taller from Standing with Trees - Claudia Comte at Copenhagen Contemporary

I have grown taller from standing with trees

Claudia Comte

Copenhagen Contemporary 8 February - 1 September 2019

 
 

This is a stunning exhibition in the main hall of Copenhagen Contemporary with the huge space filled with Spruce trunks that are six metres high but stripped of their bark and set on a carpet with a digitally-printed grid that becomes increasingly distorted as you move through the work.

The first rows of tree trunks are upright and set on the grid implying a carefully managed forest rather than natural woodland but the grid might also suggest the grid of roots through which, from recent research, trees are now thought to communicate.

At the centre of the space is a large ceramic sculpture - the only dark form in the space - and beyond that the trunks are falling, either toppled by the ground appearing to collapse or with the apparent hollow created by the falling timber.

You are encouraged to climb on or over the trunks but watching people, it was clear that, as in a forest, the calm and the soft light means most slow down, talk quietly or sit and think - self absorbed. Light from windows and views out have been muted with white fabric that, as in a forest, undermines any sense of distance and direction.

The trees were around 100 years old when they were felled and the growth rings on the cut ends adds that dimension of time to the strong command of the corporeal space.

Claudia Comte at Copenhagen Contemporary

 

Copenhagen Contemporary - summer exhibitions 2

Lengua Llorona

Donna Huanca

22 March to 1 September 2019

Donna Huanca grew up in Chicago. Her parents are Bolivian and she studied in Houston, in Maine at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and Städelschule für Bildende Künste in Frankfurt and she now lives and works in Berlin. This is her first solo exhibition in Scandinavia.

The title, Lengua Llorona, means ‘crying tongue’.

There are sixteen oil paintings on a monumental scale, set away from the gallery walls and at angles to create secondary spaces as you move around the works, and smaller painted-steel sculptures - cut out in complex silhouettes - are set in front of or alongside the larger works. Colour bleeds on to the walls in places and areas of white sand across the floor are shaped and moulded with delicate ephemeral patterns, so this site-specific show occupies the space in an intriguing and very complex way.

Through the gallery there is the scent of Palo Santo - from a holy South American tree and used for cleansing rituals.

There will be a seres of eight performances in the exhibition space during the exhibition period with models decorated with paint and textiles as living paintings.

 
 

The exhibition has been curated by Aukje Lepoutre Ravn and performance dates are listed on the gallery site.

Copenhagen Contemporary

 
 

Seizure -
The Needle and the Larynx
Faint with Light

Marianna Simnett

Copenhagen Contemporary 8 February to 26 May 2019

This is the first solo exhibition in Scandinavia by the London based artist and is performance art without the artist present as Marianna Simnett is central to both works.

I found the Needle and the Larynx disturbing but that is a confession and not a criticism because a key role of the artist is to challenge our perceptions and easy complacency. The uneasiness was not because I am queasy about needles - I am not - but this is presented as the grimmest of a Grimme’s style fairy story told as a voice over about a young girl who threatens and punishes a surgeon because she wants him to make her voice deeper. The film is of Simnett herself having Botox injected into her larynx to stiffen the vocal chord so that the vocal range is restricted and the voice drops. It is actually that disjunction between the tale, performed like a black bed-time story, and the clinical calm of the injection process that seems shocking.

Faint with light is in a separate gallery - a darkened space where a bank of long light tubes set horizontally respond to the breathing pattern of the artist as she hyperventilates until she faints when the breathing becomes slow and calm and the light patterns subside. The effect is hypnotic and very powerful … the effect of hyperventilating is obvious both in the sound track and in the visual light patterns but here there is absolutely no story or narrative so no reasons are given … this is a highly dramatic act of sound combined with the most simple and abstract use of space and light that again sets up a challenging disjunction. Here it is perhaps not the act itself - of collapse and recovery - that is shocking but that this is on a never-ending loop. There is no respite.

Seizure at Copenhagen Contemporary

Wine and tapas and jazz at Design Werck on a Saturday afternoon

 

If you are heading out to Refshaleøen on a Saturday afternoon, then how about sauntering along the canal. This was Design Werck today and, as far as I can gather, most Saturday afternoons. A pretty civilised way to spend a few hours on a sunny afternoon - the front of the gallery faces west and sitting here you look across the canal to Nyholm.

Design Werck

 
 

B&W market - in search of contemporary

This has to be one of the the biggest flea markets for mid-century furniture in Denmark.

In a huge hangar out on Refhaleøen and just across from Copenhagen Contemporary, there are traders and dealers here with a phenomenal stock of furniture and lighting and ornaments and tableware. Most is from the mid 20th century and is what my parents at the time called “contemporary design”.

There are classic pieces of furniture by the acknowledged names but there is also plenty of good furniture of the period, made by all those Danish furniture factories and sold by all those ordinary furniture shops where ordinary people bought good furniture.

It was an interesting mix of customers from students and young couples looking for a bargain to well healed older couples reminiscing ….. remembering when they or their parents “had one of those” or something “just like that”.

This is the place to see just how much the way we live has changed … how many people buy a full set of six or eight matching dining chairs now? And why are there so many chests of drawers? It’s one of the most useful pieces of storage furniture invented. Sadly too many book cases … there is a steady stream of posts and newspaper articles about people still buying books but the number of bookcases here suggest that might be wishful thinking. That, or people vertical floor stack.

Refshaleøen B&W Loppemarked

 
 

select any image to open in Lightbox


note:

the set of six three-legged chairs on an upper shelf are the Heart Chair from Fritz Hansen designed by Hans Wegner in 1952. Wegner experimented with several designs for small chairs that pushed in tightly under a table for a small apartment. Perhaps the ultimate design using three legs and a triangular seat with a round table is the design by Hans Olsen - shown here wth an Egg Chair balanced on the top. Olsen, like Wegner, studied under Kaare Klint. Note how the frame over each leg of the table and the chair back rests form a continuous line. The chair bottom left is the Sawbuck by Wegner from 1951.

 

Update - Lille Langebro

 

The four sections of the new cycle and pedestrian bridge have arrived from the Netherlands on a gigantic barge and are being lifted into place … the work started yesterday and it looks as if all the sections will be in place today.

These photographs show what will be the first fixed section from the city side as it was taken off the barge by a huge floating crane and swung across the harbour and lowered into place to be guided down by engineers on the quayside by BLOX and engineers in two small boats by the pier in the harbour. The sections in place, in the photographs, are the first section from the Amager side and the part that swings open on the the city side - general views are photographed here from Langebro.

The bridge will be completed by late summer and then the opening and closing of the swing sections will be controlled from the bridge house on the existing road bridge.

earlier post
earlier thought

 

Perfect City

I hate to admit this, and it really does seem like a cliché, but, as a Brit abroad, when I can't sleep, I listen to BBC World Service. That's how, in the early hours, I caught a trailer for "My Perfect City" and then tuned in later to listen to the first in this new series that started today 3 March and will run for six programmes.

The idea is interesting … if you look at cities that seem to offer solutions to what are world-wide problem of managing rapid and, apparently, inevitable urban growth and, even if few of these cities are perfect, some ideas and some policies in some cities can stimulate a discussion about what a composite city - what a perfect city - might be like.

The first programme looked at The green city: San Francisco, USA.

Fronted by Fi Glover and with Dr Ellie Cosgrave and Greg Clark as the experts, the first part of the programme was very positive - about the success of the transit system in the city and the ways the city deals with waste … including the example of Bi-Rite food markets where they have a kitchen at the heart of the food market that uses deformed or damaged food or food close to a sell-by date that would otherwise go into the waste system.

San Francisco has a population of 885,000 - so in a good position to be a role-model for medium-size cities - and, of course, that is fairly close to the population of Copenhagen so there are interesting parallels and obvious differences. One comment was that San Francisco is a city that "loves to rehearse the future" - but then the programme got more sharply critical and, therefore, much more interesting.

It was pointed out that San Francisco is city with a population where a high proportion of its citizens have a high disposable income and it is an "enclave of liberalism" … in the order of these things neither necessarily bad problems, of course, but as a role model it is difficult to apply its solutions to cities with high levels of poverty.

So the programme looked just down the Bay - to Bay View and Hunters Point - with serious levels of poverty and high levels of pollution from toxic waste from former heavy industry including shipping docks.

Then, two very strong points were made … first that, in economic terms, sustainable urban development is linked or constrained or even shackled to or by the drive for infinite economic growth but also,  government policies and national economic policies might not be aligned or might even be in conflict with the hopes and aspirations of a city - even a large city - when it comes to green policies.

Next in the series will be a programme looking at The Smart City and that will focus on Seoul.

BBC World Service - My Perfect City

Update - Karen Blixens Plads

 

A bright if slightly cold Sunday afternoon so it seemed like a good time to walk over to the south campus of the University of Copenhagen to look at progress on the new landscaping for Karen Blixens Plads by COBE.

The main construction work is finished and the paving done but the area is still fenced off although it might be the best time to take photographs before it gets swamped with bikes and students.

earlier post

COBE