Floating public spaces - Copenhagen's "parkipelago"

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Copenhagen’s newest public space is just 25m2 and creating quite a splash in the Danish city.  It’s a man-made wooden island with just one tree, part of an experimental “Copenhagen Islands” project which could see a “parkipelago” of similar floating wooden islands scattered around the harbour.

Created by Australian architect Marshall Blecher and Magnus Maarbjerg from Danish design studio Fokstrost, the project’s aimed at bringing life and activity back to the former industrial harbourside. The first prototype ‘Ø1’ (after the single letter danish word for island) was recently launched and can be found floating around the south of Copenhagen harbour. Open to the public it’s so far been used for barbecues, stargazing, swimming and sunbathing, by local fishermen, and has hosted small events, including a lecture series on the future of harbour cities.

 The small floating island in Copenhagen could be just the beginning.

The small floating island in Copenhagen could be just the beginning.

“It is a simple and iconic metaphor for an uninhabited island and represents the first taste of a completely new type of public space coming to Copenhagen,” say the project team. “Moveable, floating, public spaces free for people to explore and conquer.”

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The project team are hoping to add a floating sauna island, floating gardens, mussel farms, a floating diving platform and a floating sail-in cafe. “The islands could be brought together in the wider parts of the harbour for events and festivals, or moved to catalyse activity in newly developed or underused locations.” Blecher believes other countries could build similar islands.

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Ø1 was handmade in a boat building yard using traditional wooden boat building techniques. Sustainable materials were used including local recycled wood, with the platform supported by a network of recycled plastic bottles. It features a 6m linden tree - a species known for its symmetrical growth habits -  growing at its centre. The tree sits in a 2.5m3 tank below water level, and is held upright with bracing around the rootball and the trunk below the level of decking.

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Marshall Blecher & Fokstrot are also working on a range of other projects in the harbour including a floating fish market and a floating cabin with the broader goal of reimagining the relationship between cities and the sea in a time of rapid urban development and sea level rise.

Photography is by Christian Emdal. Drone photography is by Airflix.

Marshall Blecher - www.marshallblecher.com

Magnus Maarbjerg of Fokstrot - www.fokstrot.dk