10 December 2013

TED and I

“Who are you and why did you come today?” I am in the UN City in Copenhagen, attending the TEDx Copenhagen Salon Green Natives event, and I can’t answer these questions in a way that would make any sense. Other than to say, they have caught me mid-journey on a road paved with trees, urban planning, bicycle infrastructure, with engaging people and keeping the city clean. Ask me later.

TED talks (in case you don’t know them) are a severely hyped American concept of inspirational talks in a tight format, by the chosen for a selected live audience. They are held all over the world, and subsequently uploaded to the internet, so you can skip the sucking at the inevitable kissykissy mingling part (hi), and watch them in the privacy of your own home.

I am not a fan of buzzwords and labels, and as such I don’t consider myself a “green native”, or even someone who attends TED talks. I always feel somehow out of place at these events, but I went because: trees. Among the highlights were Søren Hermansen off the small Danish island Samsø, who have turned it completely self-sustained by wind turbine energy. And food entrepreneur Søren Ejlersen founder of Årstiderne, a subscription of locally grown vegetables in season, delivered in boxes to your doorstep. But I was equally inspired by the charismatic catering lady, and the star shaped building framing the event.

As luck would have it, a kind member of the UN staff offered to give me a quick tour of the premises. The building designed by Danish 3XN, is highly energy efficient and eco-friendly, in clever ways that I was itching to check out. It bugs me that I had so little time to aim and shoot, it was just a matter of catching it on the run, in the fast fading daylight. Yes, the dungeon bugs me, as you can probably tell from my infrequent posting pattern. Ugh.

UN City, Copenhagen shutters

Adjustable, perforated metal shutters, taking orders from computers inside. Letting in daylight, but keeping the sun from overheating the building. On my way in here, holding up the line, to get this shot. Torture. I wish I could go back and position myself just a liiiittle better.

Between the star points are hilly lawns, with stairs leading up, and then down to the level below. Perfect for lunch breaks, and naughty house guests smoking funny smelling stuff...

Smokers in the mist

Smokers in the mist. Walking on top of the auditorium.

Star corner UN City

Looking back into the corner of the star.

Rainwater slide for re-use

Possibly my favorite detail: rainwater is collected and used for flushing the toilets. Nearly enough to eliminate the use of municipal water. Flushing toilets with drinking water does seem extravagant, when you think about it?

Despite the open center, with balconies all the way up, the acoustics were impressive. Almost like a living room. The roof is covered in solar panels, supplying the building with much of its own energy.

Birds eye view of UN City, Copenhagen

And then the floating stairs, in a polished lacquer finish, like a grand piano. So good.

Stairwell reflection UN City, Copenhagen

Not the least because of the reflections. Pushing the patience of the nice UN man here: just one more shot? One more...

Stairwell reflection UN City, Copenhagen

And just as I was getting warm... it was over. 

The linkfest:
As soon as my favorite talks are uploaded, I will link to them here.


As promised:

Søren Hermansen TEDx speak.

Søren Ejlersen, TEDx speak

(Søren's rule)


  1. Hi Sandra, I am affected by the winter too... Ewww, when i see pics from friends in LA!!! Anyway, this place is nice, do you know the name of the architect? Although i can probably easily find it on the Internet... lazy me.
    Sending you big hugs from cold Paris.

    1. Tired and forgetful, I blame it all on the dungeon. The building is designed by 3XN, I added it to the post, thank you for reminding me. Please send some sun, warmth or at least some daylight. It is urgent. Hugs back from cold Copenhagen.


I love comments! Go ahead, make my day. :-)