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Nowzar Hedayati

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Papirøen and Copenhagen Street Food

Papirøen or "The Paper Island" is a small island, located on Christiansholm Island in the center of the city of Copenhagen.

In 1958, it became home to the Danish Press Association. Since then it adopted the name Papirøen. The Danish Press Association called the Island its home until 2012/2013. After they moved out, Papirøen became home to numerous companies, who enjoyed the view as well as the close distance to the city center. One of those companies was "Copenhagen Street Food".

Copenhagen Street Food was a huge selection of tiny, multi-national fast food style restaurants housed in one of the warehouses on Papirøen.

Over the years, it became more and more popular to Copenhageners and the tourist. Not just because of its great quality of food and amazing location, but because of it incredible coziness factor. It was what Danes call "Hygge".

Perhaps one of the main reasons that it was so cozy and comfortable, was because it used to look very messy and unorganized yet, it was warm and fun. Copenhagen Street Food on Papirøen, wasn't just a tourist attraction, or a food court; It became an extraordinary public space for people to hang out.

During the summers, it was almost impossible to find a seat outside. People were sunbathing, drinking, eating, watching boats and kayaks passing by, or simply relaxing. Even the harsh Scandinavian winters were no match for Copenhagen Street Food's popularity. Fires and blankets kept people warm outside, while the inside was absolutely packed.

The messiness and unsystematic environment gave Copenhagen Street Food its character. A character that I believe it will be very difficult to duplicate.

On 22nd of December 2017, the Copenhagen Street Food in Papirøen closed down and move to another location much further away from the center.

The warehouse looking structure in Papirøen is now demolished, and it will be replaced with a new multi-functional structure by 2021. I am sure that the new development will look amazing and it will have its own unique attractions for the citizens and the tourists, but it will be very difficult to remake the character and the coziness that the Copenhagen Street Food in Papirøen used to bring to the city of Copenhagen.

To make a new "Food court" here is like making a Venice in Las Vegas. It will definitely try to emulate it, or perhaps it will even look "cleaner" and "more organized", but it will definitely lack the character it originally had. It will probably look like any other food court in any malls around the world, but it will not be something memorable, something unique, and something exclusive to Copenhagen.

However, the architectural company responsible for redevelopment of Papirøen, has been very successful in creating great landmark masterpieces for the city of Copenhagen. In fact, COBE architects used to call Papirøen there home for many years, so they are very familiar with the popularity and character that Copenhagen Street Food brought to Papirøen. So let us wait and see if the new development is going to bring the same character to the island and if it is going to be a popular public space and a tourist attraction.

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