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Orientkaj Square

One of the largest urban redevelopment projects in Northern Europe concerns the northern areas of Copenhagen where the new Orientkaj metro station is located. This includes the new square created around it, designed by COBE Architects. 
Having completed its construction, By & Havn - the company in charge of the development of Ørestad, the Copenhagen harbour, and its daily operations - commissioned Light Bureau to develop a lighting design specifically for the site. Working with By & Havn, COBE Architects and the Municipality of Copenhagen, the company began to explore the possibilities of adding a light installation that would bring colour and movement in addition to its function of illuminating the area.  

The project was limited by a number of objective situations, including the station plaza’s cast-on-site concrete construction, which made it impossible to install ground-recessed luminaires or new poles. No appliances could be installed on the elevated railway structure either. So artistic lighting could only be achieved using the existing luminaires. 
Several lighting solutions were considered, but none of them worked properly from the 5-metre-high poles located near the elevated railway. These limits gave rise to the idea of "Hacking the light" which led to the design and creation of the elements installed on the poles. These elements have a pleasant appearance during the day and enliven the space at night with bright and colourful projections. The new lighting solution also enhances people’s feeling of safety.   

With minor adjustments, it was possible to reuse the existing LED luminaires, and after several physical and digital prototypes, the chosen solution consists of elements resembling adjustable reflective steel leaves with individual patterns and colour themes.  
These leaves filter light downwards onto the square and reflect some of it back onto the elevated railway.  

There are four different themes, all inspired by the general narrative of the old free port as a duty-free zone for goods from around the world. They are therefore inspired by the cranes and old timber of the harbour, the waves of the open sea, and the below-water rings of the docks that are closed in between the new buildings, connecting old and new, near and far. 

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  • Year
  • Client
    By & Havn
    City of Copenhagen
  • Architectural project:
    COBE Architects
  • Lighting project:
    Light Bureau
  • Awards:
    Platinum, Build Back Better Awards 2023, lighting category
    Shortlisted Darc Awards 2023, Spaces - low budget category
  • Photographer
    Rune Brandt Hermannsson, courtesy of Light Bureau

Products Used: