FRIEND, an inflatable sculpture by Simon Hjermind Jensen

Simon Hjermind Jensen,

Copenhagen, Denmark,



Danish architect Simon Hjermind Jensen created "Friend", an inflatable sculpture 6 metres tall, for Bloom, a festival in Copenhagen encouraging reflection on nature, science and ourselves. The organic shapes of Hjiermind Jensen’s sculpture are inspired by observation of the trees.

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FRIEND, an inflatable sculpture by Simon Hjermind Jensen
Last May’s Bloom Festival was the first festival celebrating nature and science in Copenhagen, an initiative combining nature and science with philosophy, art and culture in sensual, social and aesthetic formats open to all. Located in beautiful, historic Søndermarken park in the Danish capital, Bloom offers stimulating experimental sensorial experiences of springtime.
One of the festival participants was Simon Hjermind Jensen, whom our readers will know for his structures created to activate the spaces in which they are created. In recent years the creative artist has developed a structural concept based on the strength of the curve, which minimises use of material. This concept is inspired by the work of the tailor, in which two-dimensional surfaces are sewn together to create three-dimensional objects in what Simon calls “spatial ornaments”, both because the patterns span three dimensions and because the patterns are based on structural, aesthetic and subjective choices.”
For Bloom, he created Friend, a 6.6 metre-high inflatable structure which came to symbolise the festival and will return for upcoming editions. Jensen worked with fabric for the first time in Friend, which gave him the opportunity to explore more complex organic form and pattern making, as he explains. Starting with observation of vegetation in Søndermarken Park, that is some specific trees, the Danish artist and architect first developed a series of ceramic models, before coming to the structure and, above all, the method by which to produce his sculpture. He explains his way of working: “One model was chosen for the project. Directly on this I composed a pattern, which I then scanned, recreated and unfolded in the computer and subsequently drew, cut out, and sewed together in tarpaulin.”
Friend’s shape narrows where it rests on the ground and widens at the top, where it reaches the sky, like the trunk and crown of a tree. And, while the shape and silhouette of the project are abstract and asymmetrical, with a little imagination we can sense a back, a stomach and a head, hence the association with a human body standing erect: a friend waiting in the middle of the lawn to spend some time with us in the park. 
Simon Hjermind Jensen’s Friend project is a lucid reflection on whether organic shapes can create a stronger sensation of relationship between us and nature than the square shapes commonly used in architecture. The organic forms found in the landscape and vegetation inspire Hjermind Jensen, and he has a special interest in the emotions he feels when observing these forms. These emotions create a sentiment of relationship and belonging, leading to the concept of sympathy. Looking at the images he has shared with us, we must say that his experiment does seem to suggest this concept, at least in the eyes of the smallest visitors!

Christiane Bürklein

Project: Simon Hjermind Jensen
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Year: 2021
Images: courtesy of Simon Hjermind Jensen


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