Here is the hidden agenda of BLOX
11. June 2018
Most Danes have discovered that there is new, remarkable building on Copenhagen's harbour front. Fewer are aware that the purpose of the building has to do with nothing less than Denmark's future growth and prosperity.
Christian Bason in the new Danish Design Centre
Agnete Schlichtkrull

The opening of BLOX in May gave the general public a new, smart design shop and a platform for varying exhibitions on architecture, design and construction. But there is good news for companies, too, as the Danish Design Centre is also moving in to the big new building on Christians Brygge. We strive to make design a resource that Danish companies can draw on to develop solutions that match the global challenges faced by cities, thus supporting economic growth and job creation in Denmark.

The plan for the content of BLOX emerged in 2013 as part of the then government’s growth plan for creative industries and design. The goal was to create a distinctive multi-purpose building to house actors in the field of urban development, architecture and design. The building was also to serve as a meeting place for entrepreneurs, companies and institutions. It is the latter element that is the less widely known – but crucial – agenda for BLOX: to bring many different actors together, across disciplines and sectors, in an effort to generate new ideas and business opportunities.

At the Danish Design Centre we strive to empower Danish companies to use design thinking, competences and approaches in order to strengthen their gain position in a digitized and globalized world. Currently, for example, we are working with Faaborg-Midtfyn Municipality to develop good mobility solutions for citizens and businesses in rural districts.

As part of this effort, we are organizing a design competition aimed at developing new, sustainable mobility solutions that enhance citizens’ quality of life and make the dream of a good and modern life in rural Denmark a reality. Another goal of the project is to generate growth for local companies.

Meanwhile, the Capital Region of Denmark has begun efforts to develop a strategy for using digitization and new technology to make the region a better place to live and work. When the region, which in this context calls itself Smart Greater Copenhagen, chooses to use design as a method, it is because the investments and the development that regions and municipalities initiate have to match citizens’ needs. Perhaps elderly citizens call for very different digital services than we generally imagine? In other words, the Region’s solutions have to be driven by what is most meaningful for the citizens. That is good design.

In Denmark, design is a part of society’s DNA. We are not always aware of it, but the development of our furniture, buildings, public infrastructure, even our new digital companies, has always been guided by design. And now, in the BLOX building and in the new community it houses, we can nurture the generation of new ideas and promote Denmark’s strong position in the field of design.

The Danish Design Centre does not lead an isolated existence in our new glass and steel-encased offices. We may reside in a glass house on the harbour, but together with the in-house association BLOXHUB we recently invited 34 entrepreneurs into the building complex as part of Innofounder – an incubator that we run together with Innovation Fund Denmark and the Copenhagen Institute for Interaction Design (CIID). The entrepreneurs come here to spend their workdays (and experience their ups and downs) in a building where design-driven business and knowledge thrive, alongside the many other companies that have joined the community.

We are proud to be a part of Denmark’s new beacon for design, architecture and new ideas, and we look forward to inviting business and industry in.