In Copenhagen over the weekend, Chart art fair unfolded its artistic presentations and projects, yet the biennial-style festival is also gaining a reputation as a test-bed for architecture. Each year it hosts an architecture competition, this time on the topic of materiality, which sees five pavilion proposals to fruition during the fair across Chart’s locations of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Charlottenborg and Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art.

Thisy year, the first prize was awarded to ‘Sultan’, a design which used repurposed, discarded IKEA mattresses as material. Architects Anne Bea Høgh Mikkelsen, Katrine Kretzschmar Nielsen, Klara Lyshøj, and Josefine Østergaard Kallehave procured every element from the innards to the exterior, wood, metal, foam, and fabric of the mattress – proving how one man’s trash can really build an interesting looking structure.

‘The project allows you to play along and to imagine the presence of the people who have slept on these mattresses in the past. Sultan raises a very important concern about how hard it is to recycle things in a modern society, because of the complexity of the society we’ve come to live in,’ says jury chairman, David Zahle of BIG, who selected the project out of five finalists.

CHART architecture pavilion

‘Furthermore, it is a strong artistic idea to use dreams of past owners to create a pavilion that allows for repurposing the materials used. IKEA is one of the biggest players in the world, and if you want your idea to really make a difference, you need partners with a big reach. So I hope IKEA comes and visits the pavilion and takes up the idea of reusing as many of their products as possible.’

Chart Director Nanna Hjortenberg sees the architecture competition, run in collaboration with Arup and Bloxhub, not only as a stepping stone for emerging Nordic architectural talent – yet also an event that could pave the way for innovation towards a more sustainable built future.

Wallpaper* Design editor Rosa Bertoli, also on the jury, praised the project for its core focus on recycling: ‘We are constantly producing things but we don’t quite know where they end up and I think that finding new purposes for objects has to become the future of architecture and design.’ The Sultan pavilion was on view from Friday 30 August until Sunday 1 September. §

Sultan pavilion at CHART