03 March 2011

Under construction

Copenhagen is torn up, guts hanging everywhere. If this was a person in an emergency room there would be triage, no way would you attempt to fix everything at once. But in Copenhagen we do. Let me just give you a few examples: the metro city ring/all over Copenhagen inside and out, diverting traffic, evicting graveyards, you name it. The heating company doing extensive maintenance on scattered locations all over Copenhagen. The pedestrian street is a mess because they are making a new pavement, the upcoming vegetable market, a massive project. And simultaneously while uprooting Town Hall Square for the metro, they are completely renovating the big ugly Industriens Hus (The House of Industry) right next to it. It's messy, it's noisy, and traffic is diverted into knots that never seems to untangle.

Town Hall Square (I beg you?) City Hall hiding outside the picture on the left. 

Usually I don't go to Town Hall Square if I can avoid it, basically I consider it the a**hole of Copenhagen. I will try not to point out the irony of how this is also home to City Hall... But yesterday I got a hot tip that the construction site street artist Bert is attempting to ease our suffering with some of his wooden wonders (remember the nipples?). It is a work in progress, interrupted by overzealous uniforms. I have to wonder if these guys are robots? How can they not tell that this is a good thing?


A good thing. Can you even believe that this needs to be pointed out?

There should be a focus on ways to make construction sites bearable. Make a contest for the best decoration, donate a couple of murals for the people of Copenhagen (after all it's public space), something. In the pedestrian area they have at least made attempts to pretty it up. Nothing amazing, wild or even mildly interesting, but at least they try. The same cannot be said about the rest of the city. Shame on City Hall for leaving Copenhagen bare like that, with her skirt up. And let Bert do his job, dammit!

Street Art fighting ugly mess

Bert in progress, say hello to Industriens Hus.. 

Town Hall Square mess

...I'm out of words. 

Politiken, Kennedy & Bert



Bert & The Bear

Bert, you magnificent woodman, don't ever stop!

A link fest:
Bert's own blog here
More Bert on Classic Copenhagen here
And a whole set of Bert on flickr here


  1. I really like the Berts, especially the six-eyed bust :)

    In relation to Industriens Hus, I recently stumbled upon this video:
    Byggepladsen illumineret. I think it does help making the construction site bearable and it is definitely an improvement over the usual giant advertising banners covering whole facades :P

    Great post, as always.

  2. Bert's work is brilliant! Adds some much needed color to a very ... (ugly, at the moment) Copenhagen.

    Any website links on the plans for the Industriens Hus renovation? I've always liked their assortment of neon logos...

  3. Hi Xuriguera,
    you always impress me by being so updated on Copenhagen with cool links. The light show is a great idea, but most people use this square by foot in the daytime. I have been going over options, and I think it should be possible to make living fences, like ivy or some kind of vertical gardens?

    I am absolutely not looking for more advertising in cover up action, that is if possible even uglier. We must think further.

    After you left this comment, Bryant stopped by asking for news on Industriens Hus, so you helped him out too. Like a blog within a blog, so cosy.

  4. Hi Bryant,
    check out the link Xuriguera left for us on Industriens Hus. I was never a fan of that building, but I do approve of the play with light. Maybe I'll drop by and see it live sometime.

  5. Hi Sandra,
    Glad you like the links :) I'm sure you're right that it must be very inconvenient and annoying to have the whole city upside down...

    At the Industriens Hus webpage they have a lot more information and a live webcam. Besides, they periodically update their flickr account with new sets with photos of the construction site, e.g: januar 2011.


  6. Hi Sandra,

    Thanks for bringing Bert to the world.I've become a big fan.Perhaps we'll be seeing a Bert coffee table book from Thames and Hudson?(I jest)
    But seriously.Is he sponsored by the local council or just a renegade wood carver?



  7. Hi Ian,
    you are so welcome! I am a big Bert fan too, as you can tell. Due to the nature of his work it is not often I come across it, this was quite a fest for me, despite the dull sky. If the "show" is still around when the sky comes out, I will aim for a reshoot, and I even hear that there are more pieces now.

    Bert is not sponsored, but your true blooded renegade wood carver. And to prove it he has been chased away by both security and police while setting up this show. Shameful act of vandalism, to prevent something so amazing from taking place, I say.

    A coffee book on Bert would be something else. I think there are going to be more street art coffee books in the years to come, making even the photographs of these short lived wonders precious too in their own way.

    :-) a good weekend to you from Copenhagen

  8. Thanks for the heads up Xuriguera and Sandra. I must admit, the new plans look impressive and it is a definite improvement over the original building.

  9. Hvorfor skal folk dræbe kreativiteten?

  10. Ih jeg vil ha sådan en hjemme i min stue!

  11. Næste gang Bert laver en udstilling må vi have det annonceret her tror jeg. Jeg vil også gerne have et par træ-bæster stående!


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