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Waste segregation in leather and steel at Copenhagen Town Hall


In 2018, Copenhagen Local Authority decided that Copenhagen Town Hall was to undergo a “green” transformation. As part of these efforts, Gottlieb Paludan Architects designed a new indoor waste segregation system, using materials that complement Martin Nyrop’s architecture. Copenhagen Town Hall is an exponent of the National Romantic style which is often regarded as a Nordic form of Art Nouveau. Martin Nyrop not only designed the building, he also designed parts of the interior, ranging from furniture and wall decorations to tiled floors and door handles, which now form the physical framework of a modern workplace.

The brief was to replace the old steel bins with a new design focusing on waste segregation. The idea is to make a feature of an object that has a practical function and to place the waste segregation system in a prominent place, adapting it to the building in a way that respects Martin Nyrop's materials and detailing. Unique to the bins is the use of leather and lacquered steel which fits into the environment and creates a refined yet natural look which harmonizes with the wide variety of wood framing the house.

Furthermore, the system had to be both flexible and portable. The stand for the bins controls the segregation. The bins are modules that may be used singly or they may be combined in groups of two or three. The symbols on the lids indicate four different types of waste: biodegradable, plastic, residual waste and glass.