Public Design – Big and Small Scale


Plassen Molde

Photo by Adam Mørk


Cultural Centre, Molde

Photo by Adam Mørk



Photo by Adam Mørk


Plassen Molde

Photo by Adam Mørk


Inside Plassen

Photo by Adam Mørk


Theatre at Plassen

Photo by Adam Mørk


The entrance at Plassen

Photo by Adam Mørk


The view from Plassen

Photo by Adam Mørk


jazz concerts are regular at Plassen

Photo by Adam Mørk



Photo by Uno Uniqa Group


Playfurn by UNO

Photo by Uno Uniqa Group


Playfurn active

Photo by Uno Uniqa Group


UNO behind Playfurn

Photo by Uno Uniqa Group


Active Playfurn

Photo by Uno Uniqa Group


Playfurn in the colour you prefer

Photo by Uno Uniqa Group


Playfurn as a courtyard

Photo by Uno Uniqa Group


Climb the high Dots

Photo by Uno Uniqa Group


Playfurn motivating movement

Photo by Uno Uniqa Group


Whenever you are in the public space, you are part of experiences, products and planning made for public use. DANISH™ zooms in on two projects at each end of the scale as representatives of public design made by Danish hands.


Big scale

“Plassen” Cultural Centre in Molde, Norway, provides a flexible and robust framework for the cultural, recreational and social life of Molde. This paper cut-out project created by Danish architects 3XN folds the existing square out from a two-dimensional surface towards the upper district, creating a three-dimensional shape that bridges the difference in height and opens up the square in the north-south direction. The space is converted into a multi-functional and integrated whole, providing common premises for the city’s local theatre, Teatret Vårt; the literature festival, the Bjørnson festival; the local library and the annual Molde International Jazz Festival as well as housing private offices, storage space, rehearsal space, a library, café, restaurant, an exhibition center, and several theatre and concert venues of varying capacities.

The design of the Cultural Centre is as a flexible and multifunctional space, with the entire building composed of a series of flowing transitions between the different stages, including for the gallery, café and public spaces, which creates the illusion that the inner and outer spaces are one. Emphasizing this principle are the wide horizontal windows panels of the Plassen Cultural Centre which visually integrate the inner life of the building with the urban surroundings. The use of identical local stone on both the exterior and interior walls as well as on the ground floors gives the impression of the structure merging with the pavement on the square, creating cohesion and a sense of belonging to the space. The building’s form leaves the view intact, even optimizing it and making it more accessible to all, while preserving as much of the public square as possible.

“There is room for celebration in this building, both inside, on top of it and around it. And it withstands being invaded by happy people throughout the year – year after year.”

Jan Ammundsen, Senior Partner & Head of Design, 3XN

3XN named the building ‘Plassen’, which translates into ‘The Square’, because the solution preserves all of Gørvelplassen’s surface and even enhances its possible functions. ‘Plassen’ is a relatively low-rise building consisting of just three floors and a simple and compact structure that respects the scale and regular shape of the surrounding buildings and harmonizes with the expression of the Nordic urban context and existing identity of the area.



Small Scale

At first, the idea was based around an apple; today it´s a “Dot”. This iconic piece of outdoor furniture, designed by Hans Sandgren Jakobsen, meets the flexible needs of its users with the possibility of multifunctionality served in discrete Danish design aesthetics.

The focal point of the “Dot” was originally the simplistic shape of an apple for Danish designer Hans Sandgren Jakobsen. At that point, he had no idea that he was about to create the foundation for the entire series “Playfurn”, which emerged 15 years later in collaboration with Uno Uniqa Group.

“When I designed the Dot, I deliberately took my inspiration from the organic shape of an apple. Now refined and condensed, it is still, however, that natural expression that gives the series this welcoming, but quirky feature”

The words come from designer Hans Sandgren Jakobsen about the unique, bead-blasted piece of furniture that won him an important design award in 2001.

The main idea behind Playfurn was to offer people the opportunity to do everything, from jumping, to working out or taking a break using the Dots. You can create circles, different levels of heights, squares or lines depending on your choice and can use the series for decorative purposes or informal business meetings.

Playfurn is created from a long-lasting sustainable material that can endure the Scandinavian weather. The shape of the furniture pieces in the series and the choice of colours provide users with the possibility to design their own personal expression and means Playfurn is capable of fitting in just about everywhere – from public parks and institutions to international companies.





Companies mentioned in this article

The goal of DANISH™ is to promote Danish architecture and design in a broad perspective, and demonstrate all the potentials in these fields.

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