Designing a Skatable Downtown Sculpture in Malmö w/ Alexis Sablone | North America has some catching up to do
WKND skater slash architect Alexis Sablone was part of a dream project of designing a skateable sculpture in Malmö, Sweden. Damn those northern euro’s are so far ahead of the curve when it comes to joining skateboarding and community it ain’t even funny. Medium Skate Mag got down with Alexis to find out how the whole process came about and if it’s scalable to bigger cities.
Can you give me some back story about the Malmö project? How did it come about? Where in the city is it?
I’m good friends with Sarah Meurle and a couple years ago I was invited to “Skate Malmö”—the event, but also, you know, to just skate Malmö for the first time. It was such a fun time and that’s where I met Gustav (Eden) who’s the official Skateboarding Coordinator for The City of Malmö—or holds some amazing title like that. Anyhow, this past spring he contacted me saying the city was inviting 3 designers, each to design skateable sculptures/installations around the city. He was wondering if I would be interested and I was like, ’Seriously? YES.’
Can you take me through the timeline and process from top to bottom?
It was a remarkably quick timeline. Rich (Holland), Soren (Enevoldsen) and I took an initial trip to Malmö and found sites we were interested in. Those sites were approved by the city. Mine is an elevated square in a public plaza called Värnhemstorget.
The actual design process was really short. I had been drawing rough ideas in the month leading up to the site visit, but after that, there was about one month to finalize the design, 3D model it, make construction documents etc. It’s funny because for the first 10 days after finding the site in Malmo I was on a skate road trip through Portugal. So, I was literally drawing in the van and then making clay models all night in my hotel room trying to come up with something I was happy with. Ultimately, Bryggereriet agreed to fabricate it within the budget and executed it beautifully, all in such a short time span. I’m still amazed it all came together.
And they’ve deemed it as a sculpture that you can skate, versus a skate spot or park. What’s the theory behind that?
Yeah. I think the idea is that spots like this can benefit the whole community—not just skateboarders. By bringing new energy and encouraging play in public spaces there’s the chance to activate otherwise underutilized and under-appreciated areas.