Vipp Garage opens in Copenhagen

Culture, design and industry merge at Vipp Garage in Copenhagen

A harmonious cultural hub, Vipp Garage, opens its doors in the Islands Brygge district of Copenhagen

“Architecture is a bit like music,” explains architect Frank Maali. ‘You compose. You try things and tweak them to get a feel for what’s right. Maali talks about the design of Vipp Garage, the latest addition to the Danish brand’s headquarters in Copenhagen’s Islands Brygge district. The campus includes former low-rise industrial structures, all converted by Maali and Gemma Lalanda (who established their joint studio in 1998 and began collaborating with Vipp in 2004) from different eras.

“The garage was the last structure on the site to be developed,” says Vipp CEO Kasper Egelund. “Six years ago the architects made a proposal and we got approval from the planning authorities.” However, the construction plans were blocked because Egelund did not want to disturb people nearby (including the Mogens Dahl concert hall) with a construction site. But the pandemic helped him realize his plans. “It was quiet and things were closed, so there weren’t a lot of people to disturb,” he says.

The project transformed a neglected mid-century garage into a flexible space to host cultural activities including exhibitions, conferences, dinners and musical events. Spanning 200 sqm in total, the space is a combination of old and new building fabric of steel, concrete, brick and glass. The floors are in polished black concrete pebbles, and the walls are clad in dark patinated steel plates. Meanwhile, a courtyard has been cut through the existing structure to bring light deep inside, and there is a roof terrace, also available for events. The building was designed in close dialogue with its neighbors on site.

“It belongs to a family of buildings,” explains Maali. “The “music” that we play in the other buildings gives its notes and its rhythm to this one. And this architecture is unique for the place – it was made especially for this site. This is our language and our architecture for this situation. To which Egelund adds, returning to the musical references, “And if you travel around our site, you can see the architects composing their own kind of music here.” §

James C. Tibbs