It doesn’t take long for one to understand why Copenhagen is one of the world’s finest examples of a liveable city. Whether walking by the canal or cycling through residential pockets, you get an incredible sense of ease and comfort, achieved by the Danish ideals of a balanced lifestyle and their unique design ethos. Based on Functionalism born out of post-war austerity, the exacting lens in which it is applied in the city’s buildings is remarkable to witness.
One need only visit Copenhagen’s newer communities like Orestad and Nordhavn to experience the incredible legacy and vision that still endures. These residential neighbourhoods exhibit bold concepts while keeping liveability in mind, wrapping them in light, bodies of water and generous space.
Orestad does this with 8Tallet, an award-winning complex that features a striking exterior filled with charming pockets of light-filled spaces for families or friends to gather, while sitting next to the scenic plains of Kalvebod Faelled. Cycle 15 minutes and you’ll see another landmark structure – The Tietgen Student Residence Hall. The circular school dorm built in 2006 is inspired by traditional Chinese Hakka architecture but updated with the modern lines of the Danish.
In Nordhavn, you’ll exchange the fields for the sea, and find harbour baths that encourage communal relaxation and even a rooftop gym. Looking more like sculptures than buildings, the Silo and Portland Towers lend avant-garde to the neighbourhood as a residential block and office tower respectively.
Unveiled in early October, Amager Bakke, also known as Copenhill, is designed by the visionary Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. The futuristic compound is actually a recreational area that includes a striking ski-slope – Copenhagen’s first – as well as plenty of grounds for hiking, running and climbing.
The twist? All this sits upon a waste-to-energy plant, in a bid for the city to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital. So trust the bold Danes to bring the community together through play on a slope of green Neveplast, while below them, waste is converted to power – an organic reminder to live sustainability.
PHOTOGENIC WORLD EXPO
Creating innovative public spaces is also big with the Danes, and nothing exemplifies this flair better than Superkilen. Set in the bohemian neighbourhood of Norrebo, this public park has become quite the Instagram star.
It’s really a showpiece for the community, with over 60 nationalities in the city’s most ethnically-diverse area, and is a project fed by online contributions and local residents. You’ll find a manhole cover from Israel, a fountain from Morocco or a mound of red soil from Palestine, surrounded by graphic lines and colourful geometry.
Divided into three main sections The Red Square, The Black Market and The Green Park, the park offers a range of cafes, communal intersections and relaxation spots.
CYCLING ON THE CIRCLE
Another landmark is Cirkelbroen, or the Circle Bridge. The iconic structure by the Copenhagen Harbour is made up of five circular platforms looking like various ripples upon the water, hoisted by poles that creates the impression of a ship by the quay.
The Danish-Icelandic designer, Olafur Eliasson, invites pedestrians and cyclists alike to slow down upon this 35m-long linkway, and one of the best times to do so is after nightfall, when the bridge lights up beautifully, hovering above the Christianshavns Canal.
If you didn’t know better, you would think this place is always under construction. Housed in a former coal crane, architecture firm Arcagency has created a one-of-a-kind hotel for … just one couple.
The Krane offers a unique one-room experience at the top in the engine room, and is far from its industrial resume. Stripped down and refurbished with luxury in mind, the 50 sq m room exudes effortless chic, encased in black and natural light. Wrap-around windows ensure generous views of the harbour, city and the sea, and terraces at both ends welcome the sunset and sunrise.
Explore the city with the hotel bikes, then come home to champagne, your private spa experience, or just a bath with a view. Exclusivity is the buzzword always at The Krane.
FROM COPENHAGEN TO THE REST OF DENMARK
Other examples of great architectural design also happen outside of Copenhagen, and Billund, just 45 minutes by flight, has become a destination highlight with the Lego House. The world-famous brick toy now has a home of all homes in the city, and Danish architect Bjarke Ingels pays tribute with a playhouse that looks like 21 stacked bricks.
Within the rainbow complex replete with signature colours from the toy are interactive exhibitions, building zones and imaginative models created by professional Lego builders. Rekindle your sense of play and creativity within the compound, then seek more entertainment at the original Legoland nearby.
Over at Aarhus, Denmark´s second-largest city, one can find another childhood dream with a treehouse hotel near Mariager Fjord. Lovtag invites one to snooze next to a pine tree, in a comfortable cabin suspended 8m above ground. Architect Sigurd Larsen has transformed rustic to Nordic minimalism with the brand, with opportunities for guests to enjoy tranquil views, have fresh salmon from the nearby fjord or go walking in the forest.
Aarhus is also home to The Infinite Bridge designed by Niels Povlsgaard and Johan Gjodes. Initially a temporary art exhibit for Sculpture By The Sea event in 2015, the circular structure received such warm response that a permanent one was constructed at Aarhus Bay. The stunning pier is the perfect spot to stare out into the sea, then enjoy a summer day out at the beaches nearby.
Admire the architectural landmarks of Copenhagen and beyond with Singapore Airlines (SIA) and seamless connections with its partner, Scandinavia Airlines (SAS). Singapore Airlines flies direct to Copenhagen five times weekly, and from Jan 1, 2020, it will fly daily to the Danish capital. A world-class in-flight experience and eye-opening design adventure await with promotional fares to Copenhagen starting from S$908. Sale ends Nov 6, 2019. Visit singaporeair.com for more details.
Read more travel tales of Copenhagen here.