Paper Island

cobe paper island map cobe paper island map
From paper
to people

Year: First prize in competition 2016, completed 2023

Client: CPH City & Port Development and CØ P/S

Program: Mixed-use including residential, hotel and retail

Size: 45,000 m²

For 300 years, Paper Island – an industrial site previously dedicated to paper storage – was off limits to the public. Yet almost over night, it was then opened up to the public and transformed into the fourth most visited public attraction in Copenhagen – a new district with street food halls, art exhibitions, fashion shows, concerts and flea markets. However, the urban life created here was always planned as a temporary urban experiment, as a new development was planned to reutilize this unique and valuable location in the city. The existing buildings proved to be in very poor condition, antiquated in terms of both maintenance and sustainability. The new design therefore had to be based on tearing everything down and building new structures from scratch, while staying true to the fundamental belief in the power of transformation – in this case not the transformation of an actual building but of an urban and invigorating mood. The new Paper Island is based on the re-imagination of the unique spirit of the place.

cobe paper island history

The former industrial harbor in the center of Copenhagen

cobe paper island history

Rolls of paper being loaded onto ships at Paper Island

cobe paper island history

Paper Island with its former storage buildings

cobe paper island diagram
From secret island
to tourist attraction
cobe paper island model
cobe paper island exterior
cobe paper island exterior render

The old industrial halls had many purposes. From paper storage to X Factor events, summer parties, band nights and furniture showroom.

cobe paper island collage
cobe paper island exterior

2012: The island was closed to the public.

cobe paper island crowd

2017: A vibrant urban living room on the waterfront.

cobe paper island exterior
The halls
will be reborn

Paper Island is an example of how Copenhagen is transforming from an industrial city to a place for people. When Cobe helped reprogram Paper Island from industry to food market, it soon became the fourth most visited tourist attraction in Denmark. Learning from this success, Cobe chose the publicly accessible and robust architectural type of the industrial hall as a programmatic premise for the redevelopment of Paper Island into a sustainable setting for a vibrant culinary culture.

cobe paper island interior

The new Street Food Hall.

cobe paper island interior

The Event Hall.

cobe paper island interior

The Public Swimming Pool.

cobe paper island exterior

The Green Hall.

When the island has been redeveloped and rebuilt, cultural activities will occupy the new halls to create a diverse and multifaceted ground-floor level.

cobe paper island model
cobe paper island model
cobe paper island collage

The new development is historically inscribed in a very unique location on the border between the former navy island of Holmen and Christianshavn, Copenhagen's old industrial warehouse district.

cobe paper island diagram

The historic warehouses of Holmen and Christianshavn together with the old storage buildings on Paper Island, have been the inspiration for the design of the new Paper Island.

cobe paper island exterior
cobe paper island exterior
cobe paper island exterior

Small pocket spaces, lowered wooden platforms for boats, a wide harbor promenade and a public pool create a capacity for thousands of people to enjoy this blue urban living room.

cobe paper island plan

By placing the new buildings on top of the halls as one big perimeter block, an intimate and protected courtyard space emerges that serves as both a private rooftop garden and a public green space on the ground floor.

cobe paper island exterior
cobe paper island plan
cobe paper island model
cobe paper island top view

Today, Paper Island is one big construction site.

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Client: CPH City & Port Development and CØ P/S

Program: Mixed-use including residential, hotel and retail

Size: 45,000 m²

Year: First prize in competition 2016, completed 2023

Collaborators: Inside Outside, Via Trafik, Transsolar, MOE, NCC

Awards: MIPIM Awards 2017 Finalist - Best Futura Project

Team: Alexander Ejsing, Anders Gade Jørgensen, Antonia Szabo, Artur Gorski, Bart Smets, Ben Allnatt, Birk Folke Daugaard, Caroline Richardt Beck, Claes Nilsson, Clement Bue Maali, Cristina Marigo, Dan Stubbergaard, David Boss Jessen, Eik Bjerregaard, Greta Tiedje, Hjalte Thorn Bidsted, Iben Marie Borbye Pedersen, Kenn Andersen, Kristoffer Harling, Lars Harup, Louise Flach de Neergaard, Mads Birgens Kristensen, Majbritt Lerche, Marianne Filtenborg, Marie Harvard-Delcey, Mark Aron Thomsen, Matilda Andersson, Mette Heide, Nicolai Duedahl Hende, Nikolaj Harving, Peter Laust Røhr Hønnicke, Piotr Zalewski, Rasmus Lassen, Rune Madsen, Sigrid Marie Poulsen, Simon Sjökvist, Steffen Ommundsen, Sune Mogensen, Susanne Skov Kunert, Søren Schaumburg Jensen, Ted Schauman, Teresa Fernández Rojo, Thomas Bang Jespersen, Thomas Krarup, Ulrich Pohl, William Gardner

Photographer: Rasmus Hjortshøj - COAST

Image Credits: Please note that we had used a small number of images for which the copyright holders could not be identified. In these cases it has been our assumption that such images belong to the public domain. If you claim ownership of any of the images presented and have not been properly identified, please notify Cobe and we will make a formal acknowledgement.