A new urban scene in Brabrand

Café Europa is an open invitation to people living and working in Gellerup, in particular to the 1,200 City of Aarhus employees working at the new municipal administration building Blixens. The café is closely integrated with the entrance area of the office block, but is also an independent oasis.

Troldtekt acoustic ceilings in restaurant
Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen, architect

Serving a wide range of good-quality coffees, cakes and lunch dishes, Café Europa 2019 can be found off a small ‘side street’ to Blixens’ large entrance precinct, known as ‘The covered urban space’. The island counter occupies a central position in the café, and visitors can choose to sit on high café stools around the bar or settle down at the tables and chairs.

The café is run by the Copenhagen catering company Europe 1989 Kantiner, which also runs a coffee roastery (Europa coffee and tea) at Blixens, as well as a buffet area where employees can collect their lunch.

At lunchtime, the entire entrance precinct fills with lunchers, who also flood to the café and the restaurant, where the atmosphere is slightly more intimate. The café is located on the perimeter of the imposing building, and can be accessed either from the precinct level or directly from the street, where there is also alfresco seating. In this way, the café, restaurant and coffee bar help to ensure a fluid transition between Blixens’ interior and exterior environments.

Important interplay

The City of Aarhus has sited the large new office building Blixens in the middle of Gellerup as part of an urban redevelopment project. The entrance level is arranged as a public space with a concrete floor, where the emphasis has been on trying to ensure a smooth transition between the indoor and outdoor environments.

Different materials with their own textural feel have been used for the various units in the building, which are designed to highlight the urban character of the public space as well as greater diversity. On the choice of materials, Mads Marquard Markersen, an architect with Arkitema Architects, says:

“It was important to find a distinctive ceiling with material integrity which wouldn’t be overshadowed by or blend in too much with all the other materials that were being used.”

Troldtekt has a refined ‘rawness’ about it, and an informality far removed from the atmosphere of conventional office buildings. At the same time, the material supports the outdoor feel of the urban space, as Troldtekt ceilings are seen in many different contexts, for example in unheated rooms and on patios. Finally, its acoustic properties were also important for controlling the sound in the large atrium.”

>> Read more about the office building Blixens