Composed of over 400 islands, the small Scandinavian country of Denmark is an archipelago whose culture is dependent upon the North Sea waters that it sits upon. A new project is currently underway to add even more islands in the formerly industrial harbor of Copenhagen, the country’s largest city with nearly 800,000 residents.
Copenhagen Islands, a cluster of floating landforms conceptualized and funded by Statens Kunstfond (the Danish Arts Foundation) and Havnekulturpuljen and designed by Copenhagen-based architects Studio Fokstrot in collaboration with Marshall Blecher, will together form a new type of public park with space for public events in a novel setting. Aptly described by the designers as a “parkipelago,” the buoyed islands will serve as platforms for a wide variety of activities, including perimeter swimming, fishing, mussel farming, gardening, and even relaxing at a “floating sail-in cafe,” all accessible via the personal boats and kayaks commonly operated by locals and tourists alike.
Unlike a typical urban park, the islands will be able to take on a variety of arrangements to suit the needs of its users. “During summer,” the designers wrote in an official description, “the islands can be distributed to unused parts of the harbor, serving as an adventurous escape for the increasing amount of kayaks, sailors and general users of the harbor coast line. During winter and for special events or festivals, the islands can be brought together as a super-continent, creating a cluster more easily accessed from the harbor side.” Each platform will be made of steel and recycled floatation elements clad in locally-sourced timber approved by the Forest Stewardship Council.
A prototype of the concept, CPH-Ø1, was first placed in the harbor in 2018 as a single, 200-square-foot platform with a linden tree at its center. Still in operation, the artificial island has hosted several public events, small-scale exhibitions, and picnics, and will reportedly be joined by three other islands by the end of this year. The team behind Copenhagen Islands hopes their success will inspire other cities to activate their post-industrial spaces, claiming that the islands “can be adapted to any harbor, with the specific characteristics of the given city, and its need for harbor life.”