Superkilen. A public park carved out of the multi-cultural district of Nørrebro. This was a collaborative project done by BIG, Superflex, and Topotek1. The concept is a modern take on the universal garden. But instead of Greek ruins carefully curated in an English garden, this is a diverse, perhaps blatantly bizarre, collection of objects from around the world. These artifacts are intended to identify with the rich diversity of the neighborhood. Ranging from a large Moroccan fountain to a giant donut from Pennsylvania. I've read there is even an elephant slide from Chernobyl.
This is my second time seeing the park. What I find fascinating about it is that you approach the park through the dense urban core of Copenhagen, a city that is very muted in its color palette aside from the token image of Nyhavn. You seemingly turn a corner and are immediately blasted with an overwhelming amount of color in a unique void of the city. It is a diagram that is reality. This experience however, I found the park has aged.
The red quarter-pipe wall had graffiti all over it. The wall now has a new chain-linked fence to prevent people from falling or perhaps trying to climb it. The red paint is wearing off in areas of heavy traffic. The park was littered with make-shift skate park amenities. But this just proves it is still heavily used. On a cold, drab winter day the color shock offers a perfect contrast to jumpstart your day. It some how propels you to want to be active. I only wonder if they paint it to maintain the saturation?
I can't imagine this space working in many other cities. It's surrealism can come off as lavishly bizarre. Urbanistically, it benefits from being integrated with a bicycle highway. So it sees heavy traffic which warrants active public engagement. But ultimately the Danes cherish their public space. Culturally this city seems to embrace public space as an active experiment. They openly celebrate the unique character of Superkilen and demand more of their public space than simply a park and bench!