Imagine a dark, grey sky. Now add wind – and then maybe occasionally some rain….You are standing in the urban square at the gateway of the second largest city in Denmark. Besides the weather, you find nothing but empty space and a bench there.
With more than 15 million visitors passing by this spot every year and with a huge spot for Aarhus in his heart, this emptiness was just too much for architect and developer Frantz Longhi.
”For many years, it was of great concern and actually a continuous vexation for me how this building, originally designed by C.F. Møller, had been suffering a destiny as a ”ghost building”. Even though the building is situated very centrally, almost as a gate to the city, the place has been almost forgotten. This is very sad for the building as well as for the city and its inhabitants. So we decided to rent the ground floor of the building and the right to utilise the area connected to it for the next 20 years”, explains Frantz Longhi, who, besides his education as an architect is also the owner of Danish Property Management as well as the owner of the renowned design brand Kähler.
For more than a year it has been his dream to develop that specific area of the town: The holistic experience of the outdoor shopping area combined with an extension indoors is meant as an invitation to tourists as well as to people already living in the city to take a break.
”From what we know, this pedestrian street in Aarhus is the most visited in Denmark, so it is of great importance that we welcome our guests in an open, inviting and interesting way. Aarhus Central Food Market was therefore developed using the mindset of a temporary installation. This makes it possible for us to keep the area sharp and fresh and with easy access for every layer of the food industry”, Frantz Longhi states and continues: ”The vision of Aarhus Muncipality on how to develop and build on this area has inspired great cooperation. The area deserves it and this openness towards new projects is one of the reasons why Aarhus is such an exciting city to work with”.
Food brings us together
One of the central co-operators in the process of developing Aarhus Central Food Market has been the Food Organisation of Denmark. This organisation works with the goal of enhancing the possibilities of developing experiences about and with food, whether those are in restaurants, festivals, shops or any other place. Therefore, it was natural for CEO Anna Lund to join forces with Danish Estate Management and Frantz Longhi very early in the process:
”The idea of developing a city through food is not only good for ‘my business field’, it also makes the inhabitants proud of their town and willing to explore food as well. In the beginning, I was a bit sceptical about how static the architectonical handle would be – but I love how the temporary design indoors as well as outside creates space for events, meetings, movies and concerts. In this way food and architecture are common drivers for lifting a town and its inhabitants into new experiences and for meeting new people and experiencing a taste of new cultures”, Anna Lund states.
Aarhus-Hallen was built by C.F. Møller in 1938.
Aarhus Central Street Food opened on 1 October 2016.
Number of visitors during the first two opening days: 10,000.
Design of exterior area: Aarhus Municipality
– Idea and design of inside area as well as activating the area: ACFM/Danish Property Management