New York based artist Tom Fruin recently created a dazzling upcycled house called Kolonihavehus in the plaza of the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen. Kolonihavehus consists of many reclaimed pieces of plexiglass enclosed by steel framing. As light hits the walls of the house, the complex skin formed by the plexiglass and steel framing provides a visual effect reminiscent of a church’s stained glass window panels. When night falls, the Kolonihavehus is internally lit and becomes a beacon of color on the banks of the canal.
Kolonihavehus was fully constructed from hand-cut and hand-welded steel picture frames. Ranging in size from 2×2 inches to 24×36 inches, each picture frame holds a single piece of found plexiglass.The frames were welded into individual panels which were then bolted together, wrapping around the metal structure. The discarded plexiglass was collected from a local closed-down plexiglass distributor, a framing shop and a dumpster outside the Danish Architecture Centre. For entry/exit points, a pivot mounted door and several operable windows were installed. Completely portable, the Kolonihavehus can be dismantled into its component parts and transported in a van. It left the Royal Danish Library in mid November 2010 and will hopefully reappear somewhere else soon.
Kolonihaveuses are a throw back to the 19th century Danish tradition of Kolonihave, which translates to ‘little house with garden.’ Used as an escape for apartment dweller, Kolonihaveuses were originally small garden sheds situated on the outskirts of cities. By providing a contemporary refuge for Copenhagen’s residents and visitors, Fruin’s sculpture is a lively take on the original use of Kolonihaveuses.