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Superkilen celebrates diversity in Copenhagen

Superkilen is a kilometre-long park situated in the Nørrebro area just north of Copenhagen's city centre. Superkilen is home to more than 60 nationalities, and is considered to be one of the most ethnically diverse and socially challenged neighbourhoods in the Danish capital.

Overview of Superkilen
The Red Square and Black Market seen from above. The bike path makes its way through the red pattern, and in the Black Market the white lines curve their way around the objects. Photo: Superflex

 

The hope is that Superkilen can help revitalize the area by giving it a global identity and unifying its inhabitants.

The park comprises 3 areas: the ‘Red Square’, the ‘Black Market’ and the ‘Green Park’. Bike lanes traverse the park, which features playgrounds as well as spaces for basketball, football, cultural activities, picnics, socializing and relaxing.

Multicultural symbolism

The park aims to support the diversity of local inhabitants by using globally-found objects which symbolise the home countries of those who live in the area. The objects include neon signs from Qatar and Russia, bollards from Ghana, an imposing sculpture of a bull from Spain and Palestinian soil. It is a world exhibition within the space of just half a mile.

The Black Market
The Black Market at night with the Moroccan fountain and the white lines. Photo: Superflex.

 

“Normally when you design a park in Copenhagen, you only have two or maybe three kinds of benches to choose from. Now we have the entire world (to choose from)”, says Jakob Fenger from the art group Superflex.

Superkilen is the result of a collaboration between the architects from Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Berlin-based landscape architects from Topotek1 and the Danish art group Superflex. Together they have created a fusion between architecture, landscape and art.

 

WATCH VIDEO: Jakob Fenger from Superflex show us Superkilen

For the people, by the people

The local people were actively involved in the process of choosing the different objects to be placed in the three different areas of the park.

"We went traveling with five different groups of people from the Superkilen neighbourhood to a country of their choice, following a specific story or memory that would eventually lead to objects for inclusion in Superkilen", says Fenger.

The five trips went all over the world and some very different objects were brought back. For instance a sound system from Jamaica, a bull from Spain and a boxing ring from Thailand, all chosen by inhabitants from the area.

Each object is described on a small stainless plate next to the object. All of the objects were either produced as exact replicas or purchased and transported to Superkilen.

Bollard The bollards from Ghana and a bicycle park are seen in the background. Photo: Superflex.

Three zones, three colours, one neighbourhood

The Red Square
A red carpet covers the entire square, the lines and edges creating a big red pattern. If entered from Nørrebrogade the square is an open space, serving as an extension to the activities in the nearby hall.

The Black Market
This is where the locals meet. There are benches and barbeque facilities, tables for playing backgammon and chess, and a Japanese octopus playground. The pattern here is composed of white lines, which curve around the furniture to highlight it.

The Green Park
The soft green hills appeal to children, young people and families. Many of the sport facilities have been moved here, with brand new pitches for hockey and basketball. The area also attracts people for picnics, sunbathing or just taking a nap on the grass.

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