Bauhaus #itsalldesign

Designmuseum Danmark, Bredgade 68, Copenhagen

A major exhibition has opened at Designmuseum Danmark on the history, staff, teaching and work of the Bauhaus school of architecture and design.

This is a reassessment conceived by Vitra Design Museum and Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn to mark 100 years since the opening of the Bauhaus.

review to follow

the exhibition continues until 1 December 2019

Designmuseum Danmark


Growing Smart Cities in Denmark

This report from Arup Smart Cities was commissioned by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was published in 2016. It makes important points that should be considered alongside a recent report on updating the Finger Plan and a major report on a strategy for the development of the Copenhagen region. Planning for future urban growth has to factor in new technology and the role of smart data.

It gives a brief overview of the approach to digital and smart technologies in the Danish cities of Copenhagen, Aarhus, Vejle, and Albertslund and, for context, brief assessments of developments in smart technologies in other countries.

The report identifies a growing number of companies undertaking research and developing projects but one aim of this report is to find ways for these to be scaled up and to find ways to ensure that they are carried forward.

The approach is two-fold, looking first at growing smart Cities in Denmark - so at digital technology for urban improvement and mentions several times the word liveability - but for obvious reasons looks at the financial and investment potential of developing these new technologies in Denmark.

There is encouragement for education to address a potential shortage of people with appropriate digital skills to teach a new generation of students who will be qualified when research departments scale up projects - to take them forward - and to work with business who have to assess long-term returns from what is often considerable investment

"Denmark has an opportunity to become a world leader in smart cities"

Obviously Copenhagen is an optimal size with 600,000 people in the city area and about 2 million in the greater metropolitan area but Denmark is also trying out smart data systems in smaller communities. The concern is to make systems work together between different cities and across different systems and different standards.

Generally, people in Denmark have a positive and proactive approach to the problems of climate change and the report suggests that there could be a similar and favourable attitude to smart technology and the report emphasises that Denmark has a strong record for citizen participation which is clearly important.

There is a high use of current technology in the country - 85% use the internet every day where the EU average is 65% - and the report cites the positive example of wind energy - a technology where Denmark is now a world leader.

In fact, Denmark is top of the table in EU countries under five criteria: 

Connectivity / Human Capital / Use of the Internet / Integration of Digital Technology / Digital Public Services

It is also interesting that the report identifies that Denmark is strong in design, architecture and technology and education and has a well-developed health system where the benefits of new technology are clear so citizens are receptive to change.

Generally, good urban design is associated with liveability so people should be open to using smart technology if a user-centred approach is taken Danes appreciate good design so digital technology should be well received providing it is "simple, easy to use, and unobtrusive." 

The report recommends that to encourage the development of smart technology the government has to:

Develop municipal digital governance
Strengthen city collaboration
Clarify standards and regulation
Address public concerns
Communicate the opportunity


download full report from ARUP


related sites:
 Copenhagen Solutions Lab
Copenhagen Street Lab
Copenhagen Data
Space 10

smart city data in action …..


The 5C bus route through the city provides one good example of the use of smart data in Copenhagen.

New buses were introduced on this major cross-city route last year. They cross the city passing through the major transport hub at Nørreport, stop at the central railway station and run out to the airport so it is crucial that passengers have reliable and up-to-date information.

Displays at the bus stop show the arrival times for buses approaching the stop - an information service already well established - but once on the bus there are side panels that show the next stop with information about changing to an onward bus service or to a bus whose route intersects. Large overhead displays show clearly for the next stop times for buses on other routes and, as the bus approaches the central station, there is not just information about the next available train and the time of departure (updated in real time) but also the platform where the train will depart.

Passengers have access to the same data on their phones and phones and for passengers travelling with a rejsekort or travel card that record trips for both the reference of passengers and as data for the efficient management of the system.

With the opening of a new circle line of the metro this year and plans for a light railway, the system will, more than now, allow passengers to swap between different systems and data systems should make this as easy and as reliable as possible.

Yellow at Officinet

An exhibition at Officinet - the gallery in Copenhagen of Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - to show the works of the Danish artist Torgny Wilcke and the English artist Simon Callery.

The artists have used the colour yellow as a common element and both use what are essentially functional every-day materials - for Callery heavy canvas and Torgny Wilcke timber and metal strip from roof covering.

Both work on a large scale and have a strong presence in the space and both hint at potential practical uses for their works … the wall pieces by Simon Callery reference storage and the large floor pieces by Torgny Wilcke have been used for seating so they are challenging boundaries between art, craft and design.

Both use proportions to give order and and to assume control of the space in the gallery. 


the exhibition continues at Officinet until 24 March 2019
Bredgade 66, Copenhagen

Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere /
Danish Association of Craft and Design

Torgny Wilcke

Simon Callery


SPACE10 Redesigned


Last night was the opening of the redesigned interior of SPACE10 - the Research and Design Lab in the Meat Market district of the city.

They now have a new street-level gallery space and café area - a Test Kitchen that has been developed with Depanneur - and the office space on the first floor has been rearranged so the work areas can be reconfigured for an increase from 10 to 30 people now working here.

Spacon & X have designed the area to "not to last but to adapt" with a strong steel framework with panels that can be inserted as required, in part to reduce noise, for work pods.

With this project, SPACE10 and Spacon & X have reassessed how people work in flexible common space with the aim to boost "innovation, wellbeing and morale."


The opening was also an opportunity to launch SolarVille


SPACE10 Redesigned
Spacon & X




This is a research project by SPACE10 about democratising access to clean energy … exploring ways to bring energy to 1.1 billion people who have little or no access to electricity. Neighbourhood generation could get around the high investment costs of centralised energy networks where there is little incentive to innovate.

This miniature neighbourhood in wood has been built to a scale of 1:50 as a working prototype. 

It shows how some households could generate their own renewable energy using solar panels and some households purchase excess electricity directly from the producer using block chain to make a self-sufficient community.

The scheme would include storage system to provide energy at night - now feasible with the rapid development of batteries - and Blockchain technology could regulate the system for the sale of electricity and payments by verifying and recording transactions.

The project was a collaboration between SPACE10, Blockchain Labs for Open Collaboration; WeMoveIdeas India and Blocktech with the model by Tempral and SachsNottveit.

 SolarVille can be seen at SPACE10 until 29 March


SPACE10 have published a related online report
A Brighter Tomorrow

Life Between Buildings

Life Between Buildings - Using Public Space, by Jan Gehl, 1971
first English edition 1987 and new edition in English 2006 and 2011


In the introduction to this edition, Jan Gehl explains that Life Between Buildings was published in the 1970s to point out "the shortcomings of the functionalistic architecture and city planning that dominated the period."

"The book asked for concern for the people who were to move about in the spaces between the buildings, it urged for an understanding for the subtle qualities, which throughout the history of human settlements, had been related to the meetings of people in the public spaces, and had pointed to the life between buildings as a dimension of architecture, urban design and city planning to be carefully treated."

Although the first edition was published over 30 years ago, walking around recent developments on Amager and in the South Harbour area and certainly when walking around the redevelopment of the Carlsberg site, it appears that, even now, too often, the observations set out by Jan Gehl have been forgotten or ignored. There are seats and there is planting but too often these seem to be a token scattering of street furniture rather than reflecting a coherent approach for these areas.


Snaregade and Magstræde

the east end of Snaregade from Gammel Strand (top left) - the building to the left is the courtyard house now used by the Minister of Culture

the warehouse of Sthyr & Kjær rebuilt in 1903 with the frontage 6 metres back from the historic street line


 Life Between Buildings 1

Gammel Strand, now in the centre of the historic city, is approximately on the line of the foreshore and the first wharves of the early settlement and would have looked across the short distance to islands where the castle was built.

From the west end, Gammel Strand has the canal along the south side with Borgen, the castle, on the other side. It gradually widens out into what is, in effect, a long triangle and across the end is a large courtyard house, now the ministry of culture, and there are then two blocks between there and Rådhusstræde with the line of the building frontages of Gammel Strand continuing on as the city side of a narrow lane first called Snaregade and then, beyond the cross street Knabrostræde, continuing as Magstræde.

This narrow lane, Snaregade and Magstræde, is just 7 metres wide at the Gammel Strand end and barely wider along the whole length. This is essentially a street with no space, let alone space for Life Between Buildings.

read more


Life Between Buildings 2

This square in the centre of the historic centre is on the land of a Fransciscan monastery founded in 1238 and closed in the late 16th century when the land was used for houses of various sizes. Most were rebuilt after the fire of 1728.

This is now one of the most picturesque old squares in the city but is a bit of a hidden gem tucked away on the north side of Strøget - The Walking Street - behind Heligaandskirken. It is a triangular space about 70 metres long and just 45 metres wide at the inner end and 20 metres wide at the east end where the narrow end of the square has the street called Niels Hemmingsens Gade runnng across.

Most of the entry points into the space are through alleys or secondary pedestrian spaces off the square such as Kejsergade and the space is covered with setts and is free of vehicles apart from access for deliveries.

read more

map by Christian Gedde showing the square in the middle of the 18th century


Israels Plads - Copenhagen's biggest urban carpet

Life Between Buildings 3

In 2016 there was an exhibition - Our Urban Living Room- Learning from Copenhagen - at the Danish Architecture Centre that looked at the work of Dan Stubbegaard and his architectural office COBE established in 2006. In the catalogue, the work by COBE on redesigning the large public square at Israels Plads - completed in 2014 - is described as “Copenhagen's biggest urban carpet” and there is a sketch of the square with the surface drawn like a giant Persian rug with tiny people on it and the corners rucked up.

These corners of the carpet are now the bold steps rising up across the south-east corner of the square and a prominent V-shape of steep steps at the north-west corner of the square that covers an exit ramp from the underground car park below the square.

Israels Plads has new trees in a bold pattern of circular planting and seating areas; courts for sport; play equipment for children; open space for events like flea markets and plenty of areas where people can sit and watch was is happening here.

With this extensive new work, the square is now closely linked to a large and well-used public park immediately to the west and is adjacent to Torvehallerne - very popular food halls - immediately to the east, that opened in 2011. This is all just a block away from the major transport interchange of the station at Nørreport - an area also remodelled by COBE - so within a few years, and with justification, Israels Plads has become one of the most popular and best-used public spaces in the city.

read more


Superkilen - a super wedge

Life Between Buildings 4


Copenhagen has a number of linear parks of which the largest and most ambitious is Superkilen in the district of Nørrebro just to the north of the city centre. The north section of the park forms a green wedge down from Tagensvej - a major road - and continues through to Nørrebrogade and then, across that main shopping street, the series of parks runs on to link with Nørrebroparken.

Superkilen or Super Wedge follows the route of an old railway that cut through the district which explains the long narrow site with much of it behind buildings. There is a mixture of architecture, including some good industrial buildings that have been adapted to new uses, and some apartment buildings look down on the space but, unlike a square or street, it is not enclosed or defined by building facades. 

In strict architectural terms, the shape of the park seems odd and irregular with space leaking out so the opposite of Skydebanehaven or Shooting Gallery Park in the city that is enclosed by housing so that it is almost like a secret garden or secret playground owned by the community.

However, at Superkilen, if space leaks out, that means that the opposite or reverse is true, so spaces run into the park to draw local people in to make it a strong and important part of everyday life in the neighbourhood.


read more


How to Build a Good City - Jan Gehl on Louisiana Channel 


If you don’t know Copenhagen well, or if you have not come across the work of Jan Gehl and his approach to planning in the city, then a good place to start is with How to Build a Good City - an interview with Gehl that was posted last year on Louisiana Channel.

I have been meaning for some time to post a link here to Louisiana Channel. This is an important and fascinating series of on-line films and long interviews from Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and although, as you would expect, many of the interviews relate directly to exhibitions at the museum or to the works of artists in their collection, the films range widely in their subjects and locations … there are interviews with leading architects and designers, including several with Bjarke Ingels, a series of interviews about the work of Jørn Uttzon and an interview, posted recently, is with Kim Herforth Nielsen of the architectural practice 3XN about their designs for the new Fish Market in Sydney.


Louisiana Channel

Copenhagen - most liveable city in Europe

Copenhagen has just been voted top of the top twenty "most liveable" cities in Europe.

The phrase liveable city is slightly awkward both in English and in Danish - it is translated as "mest udholdelige" - but this ranking from ECA International is more relevant than rankings in tourist or visitor guides because this is a consultancy that provides reports and specific information for large international companies to asses relative merits of different cities if they plan to establish a new office or relocate staff. These reports look at transport, housing, schools and facilities across wide ranging parameters.

It’s interesting that Stavanger is higher in the ranking than Amsterdam, Basel, Vienna or Stockholm but Oslo is not in the top twenty. Also note that the city of Aarhus is only just outside the top ten.


The ECA International top 20 most liveable cities for European expatriates

1. Copenhagen, Denmark
1. Bern, Switzerland
3. The Hague, Netherlands
3. Geneva, Switzerland
5. Stavanger, Norway
6. Amsterdam, Netherlands
6. Eindhoven, Netherlands
6. Basel, Switzerland
9. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
9. Gothenburg, Sweden
9. Dublin, Ireland
12. Aarhus, Denmark
12. Rotterdam, Netherlands
14. Zurich, Switzerland
15. Bonn, Germany
15. Munich, Germany
17. Vienna, Austria
17. Hamburg, Germany
19. Stockholm, Sweden
19. Edinburgh, United Kingdom

skud på stammen at Design Werck

Barndommens Land designed by Aske Foersom and made by Sara Ruff
En Gyngestol designed by Søren Nissen and made by Kasper Wium Kristiansen and Abia Manzanares
Bord designed by Tine Mouritsen and made by Gunver Lindeskov Søgaard

This week is the last opportunity to see the exhibition at Design Werck in Copenhagen of furniture made by students who are about to graduate as cabinetmakers. The students from next> in Copenhagen worked in partnership with designers and the furniture is made from lime wood from trees felled at the Rødovre City Hall when the main entrance courtyard was replanted.

SKUD PÅ STAMMEN continues at Design Werck until Sunday 10 March 2019
note: Design Werck does not open on Monday or Tuesday

Design Werck

Margrethe Kaas at Design Werck


An exhibition has just opened at Design Werck in Copenhagen of paintings and sculptures by the Danish architect and artist Margrethe Kaas. The gallery space at Design Werck has beautiful light in space where furniture and decorative arts are also shown.

Margrethe Kaas was given her first set of paints at the age of four and painting has, for her, been a major vehicle for exploring colour. The large-scale colour studies show an architectural sense of planes and space and there are also topographic studies including here painting from visits to New York and London and a painting to reflect the colours and energy of Berlin.

the exhibition continues at Design Werck through to 31 March 2019

Margrethe Kaas
Design Werck

Lynetteholmen - a new island across the harbour

Included by ministers in the launch in January of their 52 point Capital Initiative was a major project for a large, new island to be constructed across the entrance to the harbour. Work could start in 2035.

Under a heading Room for Everyone it was, in fact, the first point of the 52 - but already the proposal seems to have generated a fair amount of criticism.

The island, to be called Lynetteholmen, could have housing for at least 35,000 people and eventually work for as many and would include coastal protection measures to stop surges of storm water entering the inner harbour but it would have a fundamental impact on the character of the inner harbour by closing off views out to the sound and would restrict the routes of access into the harbour for large and small vessels.

Although the new cruise ship terminal at Nordhavn is outside the proposed island, the drawing shows further quays for large ships on the seaward side of the new island so it is not clear if these would replace the present berths for cruise ships along Langelinie Kaj.


Politiken published an article on the 3 March with comments from a workshops with architects and engineers and planners where it was suggested that the island, as shown in the drawing first presented by the Prime Minister in October, is too close to the Trekroner fortress and is too large with several critics suggesting that it should be broken down into a series of smaller islands. No further decisions can be made until tests of the sea bed are completed and until related projects are confirmed including the plan for a major road link across the east side of the city that would have to cross the harbour and the proposal for an extension of the metro through a tunnel between Refshaleøen and Nordhavn.

Lille Langebro


Apparently the main sections for the new cycle and pedestrian bridge across the harbour will arrive in April. These have been manufactured in The Netherlands but delivery was delayed when a section was damaged beyond simple repair in an accident last summer as it was being loaded onto a barge to move it to Copenhagen.

The new bridge - Lille Langebro or Little Langebro Bridge - will cross from Langebrogadegade on the Christianshavn side of the harbour to Christians Brygge, immediately south of BLOX on the city side.

It makes every sense in terms of planning and will provide an important and safe new route for cyclists riding between Amager and the city which means that they will not, as now, have to go up and across the main bridge. On the city side there are traffic lights for crossing Christians Brygge and the bridge lines up with Vester Voldgade which runs up to the square in front of city hall and the new metro station there and should keep thousands of cyclists each day clear of HC Andersens Boulevard which is probably the road in the city with the heaviest road traffic so this is all good joined up planning.

But …..

But there is a part of me that regrets or do I mean mourns a further bit of chopping up the harbour … taming it …. domesticating it … making it look more and more like a river and less and less like one of the great and possibly the greatest ports of the Baltic.

This photograph was taken a few weeks ago and soon this view will be lost … or maybe I just mean different and maybe it’s simply indicating that I’ve lived in the city for long enough to be rattled by change.

earlier post on Lille Langebro

Lille Bakery


Lille Bakery at Refshalevej 213A is in what I've been told were the drawing offices for the apprentices at the ship yards.

The bakery was launched on the savings of a group of friends and with crowd funding so there is a very strong community feel to the project. The space has communal tables with a comfortable mix of furniture and is open to the kitchens and bakery.

Sourcing of ingredients is ethical and, where possible, local and the bread is fantstic … the large sour dough loaf I tried had a strong and incredibly tasty crust and it is certainly worth my bus trip or 30 minute walk preferably walking both ways to justify trying all the different cakes.

Check out their web site - it could hardly be better and includes information about booking the space for events and for their "bread subscription" to order loaves by the month.

Lille Bakery




When work started on the new development on Papirøen / Paper Island at the centre of the harbour opposite the national theatre and the warehouses there were demolished then Cobe - the planning and architecture studio of Dan Stubbergaard - had to move out and they moved to Nordhavn to former warehouses on Orientkaj.

This is more than appropriate for Cobe produced the masterplan for this major area of redevelopment and, of course, designed the restoration of a concrete silo here that is now apartments and slated to become possibly the iconic building of contemporary Copenhagen.

At the old site, behind the popular food halls, they had a fairly open house and here, to encourage visitors, as the new community out here grows, they have opened a café at the entrance from the quay.

In partnership with Depanneur, they serve good coffee, basic but good rolls and cakes and beer and so on. There is a long communal table and also low seating and Cobe show models and photographs of their work around the space and there is a carefully-selected range of books and design items for sale.