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Danish architects in the spotlight

07.10.2014  09:33

Denmark was strongly represented at World Architecture Festival 2014 in Singapore. A new initiative coordinated by the Embassy of Denmark aimed to promote Denmark as a forerunner within sustainable architecture, city planning and design and to increase the network and potential for Danish companies within the sector.

Throughout the festival, delegates and architects from all over the world met with Danish judges, speakers, representatives from shortlisted practices, design and manufacturing companies and representatives from the Embassy of Denmark. The initiative organised by the embassy consisted of an exhibition for Danish design combined with a half day panel session.

Danish award winners
During the festival, representatives from Bjarke Ingels Group, 3XN and ADEPT, all shortlisted firms from Denmark, pitched their projects live in front of the jury, and 2 out of 4 ended up winning an award. Bjarke Ingels Group won the “Culture” category with the subterranean Danish Maritime Museum, located in Helsingør in Denmark, and ADEPT won the category of “Higher Education and Research” with Dalarna Media Library, located in Sweden.
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Putting people first
The purpose of the Danish presence was to strengthen the awareness of Danish architecture and design, and this success criterion was met in particular during the panel session Great Green Living on the last day of the festival.

The Ambassador of Denmark to Singapore, Berit Basse, addressed in her opening speech Denmark’s decision to transform into a green economy and also the ambitious goals of becoming carbon neutral and free of fossil fuels. This goes hand in hand with the need for architecture to be sustainable in order to have a greener future. She also stressed the focus of Danish architecture to evolve around people through Denmark’s architectural policy “Putting People First”.

Inspiring panellists and a curious audience
The panel showcased Danish skills within architecture and urban design on a broad scale with representatives from 3XN, ADEPT, AG5, schmidt hammer lassen, Gehl Architects and Realdania Foundation. The debate was moderated by Group Director Larry Ng Lye Hock from Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority, who took an active part in the discussion on how to create liveable cities and sustainable communities.

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The audience had many questions for the panel and seemed highly interested in Denmark’s experimental architectural approach as well as the Danish openness to dialogue on the level of city planning. The presentation by Gehl Architects opened up the interest of the audience to Denmark’s urban planning and bike-friendliness, and a number of individual architect presentations highlighted the Danish skills in international settings: AG5’s Jakarta project “Gran Rubina”, schmidt hammer lassen’s “Urban Mountain” in Oslo and finally Atelier Dreiseitl’s water park project in Singapore, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

Works towards a common goal
The feedback from the audience indicates a true desire to learn from the Danish experiences:

“The Danish presence at this year's WAF and INSIDE Festival was a definite highlight. From individual project presentations to group panel discussions and the physical presence and commitment of the Embassy of Denmark, it was refreshing to encounter such clarity of thought, translation and delivery across all these platforms. I left WAF with a lasting impression that the Danish collective work together as a design focused nation towards a common goal – a better place for all. It is much more than just an assemblage of businesses from the same geographic location,” said Keith Dougal, Senior Associate, Woods Bagot Australia.

The Ambassador of Denmark, Berit Basse, confirms: “The feedback on our presence at WAF has been positive. There is a great interest for Danish architecture and design in Singapore and South East Asia – especially in regards to our way of focusing on people, sustainability and local culture”.

The Danish platform was sponsored by DanishDesignCo, Duba B8, ege Carpets, ROCKWOOL, Danfoss, Kvadrat, LEGO, Carlsberg, Georg Jensen, Carl Hansen & Søn, SPACE Furniture and Bang & Olufsen.

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