Vision is created on Paper Island

COBE is one of Denmark’s most successful firms of architects, making a name for themselves with a string of impressive projects. In February this year, they also won the competition to draw up a master plan for a completely new district on Paper Island in Copenhagen. By coincidence, it is also the place on the harbour front where the company has established itself in a large and basic warehouse, just opposite the Royal Danish Playhouse and a stone’s throw from the Opera House.

Troldtekt - COBE
Photo: Thomas Mølvig, architect MAA

Paper Island, actually called Christiansholm, was where for many years the Procurement Association of the Danish Press kept its large stocks of gigantic paper rolls in vast storage halls closed off to the public.  It all changed radically in 2013 when the paper storage facility was shut down and the island was taken over by enterprising people, creating a plethora of cafés, designers, Copenhagen Street Food, showrooms and innovative businesses of all kinds.

It stands to reason that an architectural practice like COBE flourishes best in a space which is designed for intensive use. Here, there are no carpets, rugs or tasteful art adorning the walls. Instead, an air of informality pervades the building which is more reminiscent of an artist’s studio or workshop. In the basement, there is a canteen and exhibition, while the impressive army of employees occupy open plan spaces on the first floor. Various areas and meeting rooms are screened off with glass walls.

The grey concrete walls are completely bare and untreated and together with the white-painted Troldtekt panels create an atmospheric setting for drawing office activities. Here, an important part of Copenhagen’s future is being developed and in a few years time Paper Island will be one of the biggest attractions in the capital.