Challenged with exploring horizontality within the context of urban space in Copenhagen, the team first took a while to brainstorm the meaning of “Horizontal” in the urban setting. Among ideas that evolved were the concept of horizontal movement, and the perception that access to the public space is provided almost universally on the horizontal plane. 

An exploration of the city using photography and video was conducted and visual material was gathered to support the ideas from brainstorming. New inspiration was found, particularly the perception of vertical obstacles and the way that they impede the horizontal space. 

At one point, Marco tried to adjust his personal perspective, lying down on the street and adopting a horizontal position. The result, a minor public scene evoking concern for his safety, was a provocative illustration of what happens when conventions are broken in the urban space. 

After collating the reference material, dominant themes were identified and the killer design opportunity sought. Issues around access and perspective were identified as the most provocative. By examining footage from various perspectives, a “new” horizontal space – the planes above street level -was identified. 

After further consideration, the team resolved to propose that this unused urban space be used to augment the city, enhancing accessibility, navigation, communication and community. 

“Living Layers”, interactive spaces above the city’s streets, present both a design opportunity and a new responsibility to citizens, private enterprise and city planners. Possible applications include marketing, way-finding, tourist assistance, urban-scale art and traffic reporting. Potential problems include: information overload; reduction of daylight at street level; and night-time light pollution from suspended displays. 

The final concept was a city of illuminated trails, tracing the movement of citizens into a living fabric of life. The idea incorporated elements of all four perspectives specified in the brief.