Well to set the scene, as I ever so often do, I once again wandered the streets of Copenhagen, and let my eyes scatter the scenery. Herer, I came upon a little treat for you dear readers and followers. Small graphic banners, illustrating the silhouettes of iconic places in Copenhagen, all placed in strategically eye side for the pedestrians.
I have never noticed these graphic designs before, but they somehow speak in their visual language on a more subtle level. Right here in front of my eyes, the Copenhagen Municipality was trying to communicate to me as a resident, how they conceive Copenhagen.
For those of you who read my last post, I was discussing the Copenhagen Cityscape, as being a classic European cityscape consisting of church towers and only sporadic tall iconic architecture. By looking at these silhouettes, this perception seems transparent in the self-identity of Copenhagen Municipality.
Storytelling by the Silhouettes
In the Graphic design, you see a mix of the old historical Copenhagen and the contemporary. You have the classical church towers and tourist sites represented by Frederikskirken which is also known as the Marble Church, The Round Tower, Børsen and Tivoli; then you have the iconic tower on Langebro represented and the Power Station H.C. Ørstedsværket. Lastly the Royal Library the Black Diamond are figured as a representation of the contemporary architecture in Copenhagen. And not least the old city hall represented by its clock tower.
Each and every silhouette they help tell the story of Copenhagen. From Christian IV who led the Round Tower, Børsen and Christianborg Palace built in the 1600s, and which every Dane from early on is told to be the one who constructed Copenhagen. Then the later Frederik V whom together with the architect Nicolai Eigtved built the Marble Church, as part of a grand new city plan development for Frederiksstad.
Through vast urbanisation at the beginning of the 1900s were people in thousands moved from the countryside to the city, taken up industrial jobs. Copenhagen goes from being a small village to a big city, shaping the city and slowly forming a municipality in the light of growing Danish welfare policy. Unwords til today where the city is competing to be the number one tourist city and the number one choice of living in Denmark. Striving to be seen as an innovative city with an edge.
Graphic Design as a Tourist Guide
By this strategic use of graphic design around town, the idiom becomes an instructive tool for shaping a city identity by the residents. But even more so it works as subtle branding of Copenhagen to the tourist. Here you are given a small free guide by the Copenhagen Municipality to some of the must-see attractions in Copenhagen.
The graphic design is from 2012, hence newcomers as Axel Tower and Borhs Tower are naturally not represented in it. And the same can be said about the blue planet and some the new residential areas of Copenhagen. Though they all are excellent examples of contemporary Danish architecture which has made its mark on the cityscape of Copenhagen they are all new.