October 18th, 2023

The Danish Way

I recently had the good fortune to go on a much-anticipated Nordic adventure. One of my stops was in Denmark. Did you know that Copenhagen was appointed in 2023 as the World Capital of Architecture by UNESCO-UIA? Almost immediately upon arrival, it was apparent why!

Public art can be found throughout the entire city and a few of the very captivating exhibits were located on the BLOX grounds, which is a prominent landmark in Copenhagen. Imagine strategically stacking a bunch of beautiful blocks (or buildings, in this case) on top of one another – this was how BLOX was born.  Exhibitions form the core of the area, but it also houses many offices, coworking spaces, café, fitness center, and residences.  The Danish Architecture Center (DAC) is a national center within BLOX that focuses on design and architecture.




Capture Your City

One exhibit right outside DAC was called ‘Capture Your City – No Filter’.  This is an annual photo contest, with different themes for participating photographers every year.  Fifty-six pieces of work were showcased this year, and the photographers were encouraged to showcase their city in a raw, honest fashion. No filter. No romantic notion. Just everyday life and grit. Over 5,000 photos were submitted for the competition. The winning photo by Natascha Lhea Narvaez Nielsen showcased a typical day in the life of a resident in Copenhagen, where space is a premium.  The kitchen was cluttered, and items fought for space to belong. See more of these unforgettable images here.





Reflection in Common

Another example of public art could be found in the central plaza, near what is called the “walking streets”. This exhibit is called ‘Reflections in Common’. It encourages the pedestrian to stop and take in their reflection amongst the buildings and city view. You can also walk through the pavilion, which is partly landscaped against the mirrored interior, giving the illusion of infinite greenery juxtaposed with historical buildings. It was commissioned by Copenhagen Municipality.



How to Give a Shit

An intriguing and unexpected pavilion named ‘How to Give a Shit’ was also located on the BLOX grounds.  This was a circular exhibit that revolved around a toilet on a platform. As a passerby, it is hard not to stop out of curiosity. This exhibit is an artistic representation of the first biocentre built in Kampala by Architects Without Borders. The goal is to improve sanitary conditions by providing people with public toilets and showers and thus, reducing poverty. It will be on display until the end of 2023.  Read more about this meaningful project here

The examples above are just a snippet of the fascinating exhibitions that I came across during the Copenhagen trip – stay tuned for more exciting architecture and design posts coming up!