Superkilen was created in the context of a greater urban development project for Copenhagen’s district of Nørrebro which is an ethnically and socially mixed neighbourhood. Frictions and tensions occur due to the differing notions of co-existence, diverse norms of social behaviour, and varied traditions of the residents. The urban development plans needed to take these factors into account.
The area consists of a slim strip of land. We subdivided the plot into three spatial sections which were allocated different functions, defined by different colours. There is an activity zone (The Red Square), a meeting point (The Black Market), and a leisure area (The Green Park).
When the furniture for these areas needed to be selected we involved the neighbourhood’s residents. In public meetings they were asked to make suggestions. In the end 108 objects and 11 trees from all over the world were chosen. They have either been imported or were reproduced on site. For instance: a Moroccan fountain, a Kazakh bus stop, a Japanese play structure in the shape of an octopus, a Thai boxing ring, a Qatar dentist’s sign, a swing bench from Baghdad, the Spanish Osborne bull, posts with neon advertising from different countries, and even soil from Palestine.
The collection of foreign objects and icons refers to the many cultural identities in Nørrebro. Their arrangement openly displays the immigrants’ conflicting backgrounds while at the same time celebrating their diversity. The realised project has become an expression of a heterogeneous society. It is a public space with a strong identity drawing on a sense of otherness and hybridity in the middle of the Danish capital.