50 Queens installation by BIG

BIG designs 50 Queens installation to highlight "importance of gender equality"

Danish architecture studio BIG has created a sculptural installation in Copenhagen, Denmark, to mark Queen Margrethe II's 50th Jubilee.

Officially opened by the Queen of Denmark last weekend, the temporary 50 Queens installation aims to draw attention to the country's "fearless women".

50 Queens installation in Copenhagen
BIG has created the 50 Queens installation in Copenhagen

"Our exhibition celebrates the untold stories of women who have made significant contributions to Danish history but haven't yet been properly recognized," said BIG partner Giulia Frittoli.

"As more focus is brought to issues of social justice and equality, we are so proud and honored to contribute to the conversation and give a voice to those who haven't been heard."

Installation in Kongens Nytorv
It encircles a statue of Christian V in Kongens Nytorv

Designed by Frittoli and BIG partner David Zahle, the installation encircles an equestrian statue of Danish king Christian V within Copenhagen's Kongens Nytorv (King's Square), which has been temporarily renamed Dronningens Nytorv (Queen's Square).

It consists of 49 white pedestals of different heights that each represent a historic woman, alongside a single pillar that was left unnamed so that people can suggest additional women to include.

Each of the pedestals contains a metal plaque with the name of a female pioneer along with a QR code that directs people to a page with more information about their life and work.

Installation in Copenhagen by BIG
The installation consists of 50 pillars

The installation was curated in collaboration with the Kunsthal Charlottenborg museum to mark 50 years of Queen Margrethe II's reign, and the 49 women that it represents were selected by a jury led by former politician Ritt Bjerregaard.

They include writer Thomasine Christine Gyllembourg-Ehrensvärd, Danish queen Thyra Danebod, poet Tove Ditlevsen, actress Trine Dyrholm, geophysicist Inge Lehmann and educator Natalie Zahle.

BIG hopes that the exhibition, which will be in place until 18 September, will stand in contrast to the majority of male statues that are positioned around the city.

"With 50 Queens, I hope we can raise awareness about the importance of gender equality and social diversity in our cities and public spaces to inform how we can improve our urban communities of today and plan for more equal cities of tomorrow," added Frittoli.

White pedestals in Kongens Nytorv
Each pedestal represents a historical woman. Photo by Marcus Mørk

To coincide with the installation, BIG collaborated with jewellery company Georg Jensen to create a necklace that was gifted to the queen. Designed as a "miniature representation" of the 50 Queens installation, the necklace was made from 50 sterling silver blocks.

Founded by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, BIG is one of the world's best-known architecture studios. It recently completed a cantilevering housing block in Amsterdam and is designing a "flood-proof" floating city called Oceanix Busan.

The photography is by Laurent De Carniere, unless stated.

More images

50 Queens installation by BIG
50 Queens installation by BIG
50 Queens installation by BIG
50 Queens installation by BIG
Photo by Marcus Mørk
50 Queens installation by BIG
50 Queens installation by BIG
50 Queens installation by BIG
Photo by Marcus Mørk