The Circle Bridge

Copenhagen has a new wonderful pedestrian bridge, 'Cirkelbroen' - or the Circle Bridge. It opened last week and has been on it's way for years, but it was certainly worth the wait. 

It was designed by Olafur Eliasson, mentioned before on this blog in several contexts. He explains how he, when asked to design a pedestrian bridge, immediately dismissed the 'straight line from A to B' style, but made it an exploration of meandering, walking slowly. He made it a pleasant room in it self, a place to stop and take in the view.

I think the result is just beautiful. I love the tall ship references and the red railing, and it looks stunning from all angles. I sailed under it a few days before the official opening, and it even looks great from underneath!

The Bridge connects two points in the busy Copenhagen harbour, and needs to be able to let ships through, and does so in a most unusual manner: it pivots! 

You can see a short time lapse here, that shows the final construction work, and in the end of it, you see how the bridge actually works. 

(all images here are by Anders Sune Berg, copyright Studio Olafur Eliasson)


Irving Harper

A few days ago, Irving Harper, one of my new found design heroes, died at 99, in his home in Rye, New York - surrounded by a lifetimes worth of work from his hands; and his house was, quite literally, filled with something that interests this blog particularly - his fantastic paper sculptures and model experiments.

Not many people in Denmark know of Irving Harper. I discovered him by chance, browsing around on mid-century modern Pinterest boards. In US he has become the widely acclaimed designer of that particular era, that he deserves to be - and now I am going to pay him a little tribute as well, and here's hoping that some of you feel like getting to know this abundant, wonderful design mind a bit better. 

He was the man behind lots of iconic designs from the era, mainly as an employee for George Nelson and Herman Miller (many of these have just lately become credited to him), but he worked for other manufacturers as well, and in many fields of design. He did lamps, furniture, kitchenware, textile design and graphic design. He made Herman Millers logo and had great impact as an design director for the company

He loved modelling in paper, he found paper to be a versatile, inexpensive, quick medium to work in, and one that only required a knife and some glue. And his work in paper - which filled his house to the brim - was simply amazing. It leaves me breathless. 

Here is a little taste. I will end the post with some nice links, also to a couple of very fine YouTube videos, if you have gotten curious. 

Images for this post are very hard to credit - they seem to have been reposted over and over again.
Some are by Leslie Williams, some are from Elle Decoration, some unknown by me. 

Some may be from this 2013 book: Irving Harper: Works in Paper.

Here are two fine videos from YouTube:


Grattis, Tove! (It's Tove Jansson's 101 year birthday today)

A few days ago I discovered a folder of notes and images I meant to blog about, exactly a year ago. I somehow missed the date last year, but I won't neglect to pay tribute to one of my literary heroes on her birthday - and since it is Tove Jansson (1914-2001), mother and creator of the Moomin Troll, among many other things, perhaps it is not at all odd to celebrate her 101st (instead of her 100th!).

To those of you, who only know vaguely of the Moomins, as quirky, animated characters from children's shows - as I did in my own childhood - she is a wonderful acquaintance to make as an adult, as well. She was an incredible artist, especially graphic artist, but she also painted and drew other things than sweet, melancholy trolls. She was a great writer, for both children and adults, and a kind of philosopher in her own right.

If you want to explore the non-Moomin side of her writing, I warmly recommend 'The Summer Book'.

Not so many years ago, I knew only of her wonderful children's book 'The book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My' (beside, of course, the images of the Moomin trolls, printed everywhere on mugs and t-shirts and the like). That book, from 1952, somehow remained in print in Denmark, while the rest of her work didn't, and I had marvelled at it's strong and unforgettable images, it's fantastic use of color (and cut-outs!) and really powerful graphic detail, many times.

(It is even turned into a wonderful app - and there are other digital activities, read more here!)

Here's an example - an excerpt of one of the pages:

Having enjoyed that book so much, as a work of art and poetry, I decided spontaneously to start reading her work, and get to know her better. I read Swedish, and started collecting her Moomin books in their original language instead (Tove Jansson was a Swedish-speaking Finn and wrote in Swedish), and one summer I practically lived in Moomin Valley.

The novels about the life in Moomin Valley are infinitely readable for adults (and for children from, I would say, around 7 years and up). Here is a list of the titles.

I still haven't finished reading every one of of the Moomin novels (which are now on my book shelf, all of them!) but I sometimes read a chapter or two, or an entire novel. I love their strange and beautiful mixture of really weird (but all so human*) creatures, their sweetness, sadness and complete unpredictability.

I think these guys will follow me for the rest of my days. So grattis (= congratulations in Swedish), Tove Jansson. here she is, drawn by herself, surrounded by some of her creations.

 *And yes, they do feel so human, her fanciful characters. And they are, of course. Have you discovered what kind of Moomin character you are? (here is a great wikipedia list, in Swedish)

I have known for years. I am a Filifjonke, or a Fillyjonk, whether I like it or not.
With a touch of Mymlen (Mymble), perhaps?