After months-long preparations, the city’s newest workshop and maker space UNDERBROEN – housed, as the name suggests, under one of Copenhagen’s bridges, Langebro – opened its doors to the public on 6 June 2016.
The event was celebrated with a well-attended opening reception, where guests were offered a guided tour as well as inspiring words from the City of Copenhagen’s Mayor of Culture and Leisure, Carl Christian Ebbesen; the director of MAKER, Louise von Müllen; BLOXHUB’s hub director , Torben Klitgaard; board member of MAKER and managing director of the Roskilde Festival, Henrik Rasmussen; and maker Christopher Nielsen, who is the daily manager of the place together with his workshop partner Rasmus Nielsen – in close cooperation with Mikkel Holst from the City of Copenhagen, who apart from fostering the original idea for the place also oversaw the arrangements for the opening reception.
The daily management of UNDERBROEN is the responsibility of MAKER, which is also the organiser behind the big Copenhagen Maker festival in September. The association handles the task in cooperation with Christopher and Rasmus, who over the past few years have established the creative workshop community Vrkstedet: a community with more than 500 members, which has been based in Copenhagen’s Østerbro district until now. When UNDERBROEN opened, Vrkstedet relocated to be part of the new community under Langebro – which is now ready to welcome interested members of the public.
The partnership between the Danish Design Centre and UNDERBROEN – which lies in natural extension of the active support that the Danish Design Centre provided during the establishment of UNDERBROEN – is based on a common interest in the innovation and scaling potential of the maker space movement and the related workshops as urban production units where mainly professionally oriented users (makers), workshop technologies and underlying values are brought into play in new, relevant collaborations that are driven by design. The goal is to shape and test new and experimental approaches to design and production and to explore and develop the huge potential for new and sustainable growth that the maker culture represents.
The scaling potential stems from the continuous technical development of the UNDERBROEN space, which enables processes where prototypes can be translated into local, national and international products or solutions. Thus, the partnership also enables a qualified focus on new possibilities in mass production and new business models.
UNDERBROEN is thus intended as a framework that helps established companies and organisations develop new products by challenging conventional methods and procedures – including their own. UNDERBROEN aims to provide a space where the possibility of disruption based on new technology, open-source principles and design thinking can help develop both the mindset and products of interested companies – in an initiative representing a direct execution of the Danish Design Centre’s strategic aspirations on the Future Fabrication platform. Thus, the Danish Design Centre contributes its close relations to Danish companies, and the partnership already has several specific initiatives in the pipeline that aim to translate this vision into scalable and ambitious projects. Please contact Christian Villum from the Future Fabrication team if you would like to know more, have an idea our would like to join the process.
Apart from the Danish Design Centre, the partnership behind UNDERBROEN involves several other partners, including the City of Copenhagen, Culture and Leisure Administration; Copenhagen Solutions Lab; and, not least, Copenhagen’s new design, architecture and construction powerhouse, BLOXHUB, which includes both the Danish Design Centre and UNDERBROEN as integrated and active partners.