Superkilen: Copenhagen Park Project awarded

The district of Nørrebro is a multiethnic society in the northwest of the Danish capital Copenhagen. It is a vibrant place where many different cultures live peacefully next to each other. This quarter got the attention of architects, landscape designers and city planners all around the world: Its artistic refurbishment was awarded with the 2013 Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design by the American Institute of Architects.

Superkilen is a spectacular park project which was realized by the two architect companies BIG and Topotek 1 together with the artist group Superflex. The district has been divided into three zones, each with its own theme and color scheme. The square for markets, culture and sports is completely covered in shades of red. Streets, open spaces and house walls are shining in bright tones of pink, orange and crimson, turning a grey area into a lively dynamic spot. The zone with the most living areas is colored black with white lines winding through the streets. The largest part of the district is the green park area where hills and playgrounds invite families to spend their time.

There are one hundred different urban elements from over fifty countries placed throughout the whole district, for example a bench from Ethiopia, pipes from Israel and soil from Palestine. These everyday and free to use items are turned into exhibition pieces and represent the many different cultural heritages of the inhabitants.

The Jury of the American Institute of Architects commented on the award: “This project is a joy! This is not only original, but stunning to behold. It is noteworthy for its aesthetic approach, which is straightforwardly artificial rather than pretending to be natural.”

Superkilen is a city project which changed the looks of an otherwise very dull place into a vibrant and lighthearted area. It is cost effective and relatively easy to realize. The idea could be used as a model for other cities. 

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Cane-line: New Outdoor Lounge Furniture

For 25 years the Danish company Cane-line has been making design garden furniture. When developing materials it is very important for them that the furniture is maintenance free. According to the manufacturer all Cane-line products are UV-resistant and can be cleaned easily.

In 2013 Cane-line expanded their outdoor collection with a new line of lounge garden furniture. A special frame, made from conic pipes, gives the series an aesthetic look. It consists of several modules easy to combine. According to thehe company  outdoor life was never that easy. The CEO of Cane-line, Brian Djernes: “Today we see that private customers as well as companies and hotels use their design garden furniture differently than they used to. Low maintenance is a must, but multi-purpose as well. This is why we focus more and more on designs which can be adapted to many situations.”

The new catalogue from Cane-line shows all new products. There is a new interpretation of the classic swings for the garden as well as chairs with an elastic and lightweight material called Rope.

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From Grey to Green: Europe’s largest Sky Garden opens to the Public

An exciting project is developing in Berlin right now. In the middle of the densely populated German capital a group of volunteers are building Europe’s largest community roof garden on a parking deck. The 12.000 m² surface has not been used since 2003. 22 meters above ground level vegetables, fruits and herbs will be growing in the near future on euro pallets, in carton boxes and in rice bags.

Everybody can join in; there will be community beddings which can be cared for by groups of people and other lots which can be rent. The main idea behind the Himmelsbeet (Sky garden), as it is called, is that people are being brought together through working with natural resources and that city dwellers learn how to  produce own food from regional grounds. Schools and kindergardens can go there to teach the children about planting and growing, there will be workshops about gardening and even a café on the rooftop. The demand is high for such a project, there are already waiting lists for the beddings.

The project is depending on donations, the organization is non-profit based and needs support. The company Neudorff is donating soil and other materials.

The roof garden will be open for the public in May and the initiators are more than excited about. this europewide unprecedented gardening project ; if it were successful it could be a great example for other cities worldwide. 

Further Information:  Himmelsbeet / Neudorff

Making Gardening an Experience for Kids – With the Right Tools

In a time, in which children are more tempted to sit at home and play video games instead of spending their free time outside, parents sometimes need incentives to get their kids interested in what nature has to offer. Gardening tools and even growing equipment for our youngest are becoming more and more popular.

The German nursery garden BKN Strobel for example just launched a campaign named “Ich bin im Garten” (I’m in the Garden) where children can grow their own little plants in colorful pots. The attached labels have QR-Codes so they can look up information about their plants on a special website.

The German company Romberg, which specializes in plant growing and hobby gardening products offers a miniature greenhouse complete with seeds and substratum which can be kept inside the house. It comes together with an easy illustrated instructional book.

The Finnish tool producer Fiskars also has its own collection for kids. My First Fiskars “Boxi” consists of a shovel, a rake, a spade and a brush, each designed for small hands and with vibrant colors, for helping the adults playfully with the  duties in the garden.

Every child is gifted with a great sense of curiosity and openness towards natural things. It is important for them to develop a healthy relationship towards Mother Nature and that we teach them from an early age on what a fun activity it can be to cultivate plants and handling natural products outside. With the right tools, materials and appropriate instructions gardening is fun and an educational experience for our youngest.

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New Trend: Insect-Hotels Shelter the Bugs in Your Garden

More and more people who own gardens discover that it is not only important to care for their plants and to feed the birds, but that insects are vital to a healthy environment as well. This awareness has created a new trend: So called insect-hotels are becoming popular in German home gardens.

The small wooden boxes which are supposed to be hung somewhere outside attract several species of beneficial insects, like ladybugs, bees and beetles. There are different “rooms” for them, each with a specialized habitat, for example fir cones for ladybugs or sawdust for beetles living in wood. These bugs can hibernate safely in the hotel, they can reproduce and they can nest there. This has lots of advantages for the garden because these small animals pollinate plants and get rid of garden pests like aphids.

There are already several producers of insect-hotels in Germany, and since the demand is growing, new companies specialize in these tiny homes, like Luxusinsektenhotels. They offer different insect-hotels carefully designed looking like a country home or a luxury hotel. They can be ordered ready-made or as construction kit.

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