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A NEW COPENHAGEN Above:
A NEW COPENHAGEN Above: Inderhavnsbroen, a pedestrian bridge, was opened to the public in July 2016. Its main purpose is to connect the old city centre with the fast-developing Christianshavn embankments When the architect Dan Stubbergaard began working on his pitch for Nordhavnen – a massive urban development project on Copenhagen’s northern waterfront – he knew it had to be outstanding. The project was considered pivotal for the city’s future: the inner city desperately needed more commercial and residential space. To solve the problem, the city drew up a vision of a whole new borough on the post-industrial harbour front, complete with housing for 40,000 inhabitants, new metro lines and work spaces for another 40,000 people, and asked for submissions. After reviewing almost 400 proposals, the city chose Stubbergaard and his studio COBE for the task. “It was a huge moment,” Stubbergaard says. “I knew this would change the city forever, so I wanted it to be brilliant. We needed to show that we understood where the city was going. We needed something that reflected the city’s soul.” COBE’s winning vision for the new city district was an ambitious plan to make the most of an omnipresent element in the Copenhagen cityscape: the water. The studio proposed a series of artificial islands, each with its own characteristics and flavour. They would be connected by bike paths, pedestrian bridges and a carefully planned system of canals, each islet dotted with public parks, greens and plazas. Harbour baths and artificial beaches would swallow a good part of the four million square metre project. “Our vision was a sort of Venice of the north,” Stubbergaard says. “We Danes have always lived by the water, as fishermen, sailors, adventurers. Today we use the sea for recreation, so what better way to offer something beautiful back to the city than working with the water?” The project has become a symbol of a “New Copenhagen”, a city that is establishing itself as a hotspot for all things creative and stylish, informed by a rich tradition of design and an obsession with perfection. It’s a transformation that is driven in parts by a booming economy, but in particular by a new generation of young creatives and entrepreneurs determined to reinvent the Danish capital in their own, elegant image. People like Stubbergaard and his urban islets. FROM THE LITTLE MERMAID TO COPENCABANA It only takes a short stroll around Copenhagen to get a sense of just how radically the city is changing. Tourists still walk the canals from the iconic Nyhavn waterfront, past the royal palace of Amalienborg, and towards The Little Mermaid on Langelinie, just south of Nordhavnen. But that walk is very different from what it used to be. Dotted between the old embankments, copper green statues and 17th century edifices you’ll now find internationally celebrated modern architecture such as the Royal Danish Playhouse, the Royal Danish Opera House and the Black Diamond Royal Library. A new set 70
A NEW COPENHAGEN THE ARCHITECT DAN STUBBERGAARD Dan Stubbergaard (42) is an architect and urban planner, and a former employee of Danish architect superstar Bjarke Ingels. He is the founder of COBE, a progressive community of architects behind some of the biggest development projects in Copenhagen. Stubbergaard graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2001 and lives in Copenhagen with his girlfriend and two children. FAVOURITE PLACE “I love going for walks at the Assistens cemetery. It’s a park and a cemetery, but it has so much history and it’s incredibly beautiful. In my work I often look at the relationship between green spaces and the city, so this one has a special place in my heart.” BEST TIP “I’d recommend anyone to go on an urban exploration tour at Refshaleøen island. You’ll see a lot of exciting stuff going on, people building rockets, small studios, skateboarders... It’s the best way to get a feel of everything that is happening in the city right now.” cobe.dk “WE NEEDED of bridges connects the mainland with formerly isolated factory districts and harbour islets, turning them into hangouts for sunbathers and explorers. The most popular of these is the Paper Island, a former paper storage facility for the Danish newspaper industry, which has been turned into a streetfood market and creative hub. A bit further to the south, you’ll stumble onto Islands Brygge, a new residential area, complete with avant-garde apartment multiplexes overlooking the canals and a new urban harbour bath, playfully dubbed SOMETHING THAT the “Copencabana” by locals. In the city centre and adjacent districts, REFLECTED THE CITY’S SOUL” DAN STUBBERGAARD colourful inner-city plazas and parks spring up overnight. To the east and northeast, desolate manufacturing hubs are blossoming with beach bars, concert venues, design studios and Michelin-star restaurants. Still, everything seems to have its place. As a manifestation of the creative talent that drives the city forward, contemporary Copenhagen is impeccable, stylish, and thoroughly understated. THE RE-REVOLUTION “Copenhagen is a weird mix of something really minimalist and subtle, and something very hyped and fast-moving. No matter where you look, you get a 71
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