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Copenhagen Based Artist brings Wooden Pallets to Life

22 May 2017

Creative people can take almost any material and come up with ways to make something useful, beautiful or both. While used wood pallets may not inspire the general populace to use their imaginations, an artist in Denmark turned wooden pallets into interactive art that is galvanising the residents of Copenhagen to rediscover some neglected corners of their city.

Big and Green

Thomas Dambo likes making art projects on a grand scale. He is known as a kind of Michelangelo of discarded materials and was the force behind a holiday village of recycled materials in the centre of Copenhagen.

With his latest project, titled Forgotten Giants, in which he created wood sculptures of colossal but friendly figures, Dambo found uses for recycled pallets, a fence and an old shed. In addition to the 600 wood pallets he used, Dambo also scavenged other scrap wood that people had thrown away.

Dambo has built six giants and put the sculptures at the outer limits of the wild areas of Copenhagen. These areas are not normally visited a great deal, but they are accessible by public transport or on a bicycle. In fact, if you are travelling by bike, the giants have been placed so that visitors can complete a circuit and visit all of them in a single day.

Playing the Game

Finding all the giants is a bit like a game or a treasure hunt, with clues and maps that can be accessed on the artist’s website and stones near the sculptures that bear poems and riddles for visitors to decode.

Volunteers Dambo found locally helped him craft the used wooden pallets and other recycled wood into works such as Sleeping Louis, a giant who is napping on a hillside surrounded by beautiful nature. When visitors find Sleeping Louis, they can climb into his huge mouth, take a nap themselves or just relax in his company.

Range of Locations

An artist from Chile assisted Dambo with finding uses for recycled pallets, and so the sculpture known as Oscar Under the Bridge is named for him. This giant really does live beneath a bridge. Hill Top Trine is a female giant who sits on a crest. She is also made of used wooden pallets, and visitors can climb on to her enormous hands, which are a bit like viewing platforms, to get views of the surrounding countryside.

These sculptures have not only been a glorious and ingenious use for scrap wood: the scrap materials have been recycled into artworks that are a real asset to parts of Copenhagen that deserve to be visited more. The sculptures have played a significant role in revitalising the area, encouraging people to get out and about in a fun and healthy way and also stimulating local businesses. The volunteers who assisted with building the sculptures also gained valuable experience in finding wonderful ways to reuse recycled pallets.

Dambo’s artworks are also a haven for wildlife. The giant called Little Tilde is home to nearly 30 houses for birds or squirrels who want to find shelter within during the cold months of winter.

Dambo’s creations show that there is almost no limit to what can be created with used pallets, some effort and some imagination.

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