Derborence Island

09 Oct 2011 | Will Foster - Stockholm, Sweden

The Sjöfartsgatan wasteland in Stockholm reminds me of a work by Gilles Clement called 'Derborence Island' built in Parc Henri-Matiss.  Derborence Island is a 3500qm concrete wall structure enclosing an environment left to free to grow without any intervention as a long-term refuge for urban biodiversity. This work resides within the Clements conception of the 'Third Landscape”; spaces that lie outside of cultivation or human use and are often important for the upkeep of biodiversity.

Although Clemant's artificial Island is more extreme in isolation and scale I see many similarities with the condition of the Sjöfartsgatan wasteland.  The wasteland has an overgrown monumentality and the large expanse of gravel and wire fence surrounding the site provides similar barrier effect. The site can be observed but not entered, (well....with out some effort.)  Also in the same vein that Derborence Island has been critisized as a visual intrusion I could see that this space could easily bring about divided opinions.

But the surrounding context of the two is different. Derborence Island is a constructed situation where as the Sjöfartsgata wasteland is a serendipitous creation and subject to change. Perhaps extinction.

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