By Gulden Timur, photos by Kulbroen Team and Niklas Adrain Vindelev
“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality” – writes Plutarch. This quote is still relevant in our times, the age of constant stress and anxiety. People do not have time and ignore the need to recharge their inner battery. Society has a demand for regenerative spaces – the places, activities, and different sensual stimulation that regenerate a person’s mental and physical energy. These places, ideally, are unique for each individual mindset and needs. Regenerative spaces are supposed to increase productivity, energy, mental clarity and set a peace of mind. Sounds like a good plan after a long working day, right?
The first project related to regenerative space, Kulbroen, is a city development unit based on preserving an old industrial relic – the bridge that was built in the 50s. It is owned by the Aarhus municipality. It is located close to Comwell Aarhus and Bruuns Gallery.
As Kulbroen’s General Manager Marc Sejr Eggen, explains: “the idea was and still is to transform a public space to a space for the city”. The plans about the building change as time flies: the team of architects are constantly working on the project conception, value, experience that it can give to people – all based on the feedback.
Although it is quite odd for the general public space to be in the business district, there is an interest in creating “dynamo”, the meeting space. Before, the idea has been endorsed as the summer bar-cafe and received feedback from its visitors.
The only people using this space without any business agenda, are the socially vulnerable (the poor, homeless, drug and alcohol addicted people). Also, there are regular Aarhus citizens. As a result, it is a place with remarkable mix of people. Thus, the idea of having a meeting space for everyone is very valuable, because such various interaction might raise awareness and mindfulness of people. Mindfulness here is defined as the practice of paying attention to the present moment, doing it intentionally with no judgment. Kulbroen consults a team of mindfulness professionals, that address this concept through the social events.
Marc says: “It is interesting to bring people together that do not normally interact and see what that means.” But this connection must be facilitated in a right way: not around status, but shared interests. He adds: “I understand that we cannot be a 24/7 place for everybody, but I enjoy having a challenge to say ‘Okay, if there are some mistreated and excluded people, it would be nice to include them in the space’.” So Kulbroen should propose various agenda to meet everybody’s interest.
Loneliness, stress and depression overwhelm the society, they touch everyone: businessmen, internationals, students, socially vulnerable. People need to interact to cope with these feelings, and that is why there is a need for a meeting space. Everything might move towards “Kumbaya” [universal harmony, hippie voc.]
Regarding the design, Marc admits: “This building was a guess. We didn’t know what is going to be around it. We do know now.” The wooden walls were a necessity but building certainly benefits because of them: wood looks cozier and more hyggeligt. It is better than white meeting room, because wood gives people a better sense of space and suits all kinds of events.
Most of the events have been created in collaboration with others. Kulbroen positions itself as an open cultural institution, encouraging ideas from the community.
Overall, Kulbroen is very much about people being together and having social experience – what is especially relevant in the winter aftermath and the seasonal affection disorder.
This interesting project has been discovered at the Kaospilot graduate projects’ presentation – a room-sized “cocoon” made of blankets, pillows and canopies. Its author, Nathalie Wahlberg, has explained what cocoon has to do with the idea of regenerative space.
The first cocoon was a result of the workshop called “Crafting regenerative art”
“Me and Lena (another author) have been talking about the need for transformational space. In a society overwhelmed by technology, by productivity and efficiency, rationality and consumption, stress exhausts our internal and external systems. So, where is that space where you can have time to transform?”
Nathalie recalls that the idea came to her at Kaospilot, where she felt the need for own space, to think and to contemplate and regenerate.
The premise is that people need to be have creative energy to solve the world crisis. “That is why we want to create a full immersive space that will be designed for the senses, to facilitate the connection with mind and environment.” Nathalie and her partner have been working with vision, taste, sound, smell, touch, so people can enjoy a different emotional and sensory stimulus.
Cocoon is a liminal space, where you do not know what you will become, but you are present and relax among others. This sense of belonging and community care provides a different emotional stimulus and chance for creativity boost. Before, this function was performed by religious places, to connect with “higher self”, but in the secular society the need for a safe spiritual space is still crucial.
Just like butterfly in the cocoon, a person inside goes through “death” and “reborn” living cycles. Also, there is idea of womb and nurturing space. The individual leaves regenerative space renewed, revitalized and much more productive than before.
The idea of cocoon can be adopted at the festivals, facilitating regeneration and connection. Moreover, there are companies that might want to have cocoon as well. Yoga, meditation and relaxation are very relevant in this context.
Thus, if you feel depressed or overwhelmed by the daily routine – find your regenerative space. It might be an already existing one, or you can create your own – it all depends on your preferences. After the regenerative space, you will find yourself more energetic and ready for the new endeavors. So, this shot is worth a try.
For more information about Kulbroen and regenerative spaces, please visit: http://www.kulbroen.com.