Editor’s Note: This video is a segment from the CNN Style show.
Celebrated Danish architect Bjarke Ingels’ distinctive buildings are redefining skylines across the globe, from landmark projects in his native Copenhagen to the rebuilding of Two World Trade Center in New York.
At just 41 he runs his own practice – Bjarke Ingels Group (or BIG) – comprising nearly 350 employees with offices in London, New York and his native Copenhagen.
What unifies BIG’s projects is the concept of the hybrid. “I really love when you take necessity and marry it with desire, or take utility and combine it with enjoyment,” Ingels said.
A key example of this is the rebuilding of the Amager Resource Center, a waste-to-energy plant located in an industrial area of Copenhagen. Set to open in 2018, BIG’s proposed designs include a tower that emits smoke rings to remind the public of their carbon emissions, and a ski slope on the roof.
“We thought ‘Why not make the roof into a public park?’ And because we don’t have hills in Denmark, we would make it into a ski slope,” he explained in the latest episode of CNN Style.
“We don’t do things just for fun. We actually like to have fun, and I think you should take fun seriously, but our buildings end up looking different because they perform differently. The power plant ends up looking like a ski slope because it is actually a ski slope.”
Ingels’ attitude may be indicative of a fundamentally Danish approach to design. “All Danes are brought up with an awareness of design. The French claim they can taste the difference between different water, but Danes can actually recognize design classics.”