FROM CAR PARK TO MEETING PLACE
Since its opening in 2015, Malmö Live has been a cultural meeting place for both the citizens of Malmö and guests from other parts of Sweden and abroad. The core of the building is the concert, hotel and conference operations, but Malmö Live also offers facilities for exhibitions, and public performances, cafés and restaurants, as well as areas for spontaneous meetings and lectures.
The Nordic Choice-owned Clarion Hotel & Congress Malmö Live opened on 2 May 2015. A month later, on 4 June, the City of Malmö officially opened the Malmö Live district with a large outdoor concert, with Nordic Choice simultaneously throwing a massive indoor party. On 28-30 August, the Malmö Live Concert Hall was opened as part of a premiere weekend filled with concerts and events.
How it all started
Trade and industry has long played a vital and expanding role in the development of Malmö, creating enormous economic benefits for the city and thousands of job opportunities. When, in December 2007, the city executive board gave the green light to the construction of a new, top-quality concert, conference and hotel facility, Malmö had long been in need of just such a resource.
This decision had been preceded by several stages of inquiry into the development of the market for conference and exhibition centres as well as an assessment of the best possible location for such an undertaking and what might otherwise be required of a successful concert, conference and hotel facility.
In April 2008, the City of Malmö issued a call for applications from parties interested in participating in a project and a land allocation tender regarding the construction and management of the facility. After a comprehensive selection process, five consortiums were invited to participate in the project and land allocation. The jury decided to recommend that the two proposals that best fulfilled the criteria set out in the competition programme should be allowed to proceed to the negotiation phase. In May 2010, the proposal from Skanska and the architect firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen entitled “Kontrapunkt” (“Counterpoint”) was awarded the contract. A month later, the ground was broken and in August of that year it was decided that the new facility would be called Malmö Live.
The name of the winning proposal “Counterpoint” alludes to the musical term that describes how two or more previously independent melodies are combined to form one musical piece; and in the same way it can now undeniably be said that Malmö Live’s various building elements interact in true counterpoint tradition.
Water under the bridge(s)
Water has been a constant theme throughout Malmö’s history, both in terms of indicating boundaries and providing opportunities for growth and development. On the banks of the canal, we have Malmö Live on one side and the medieval city on the other. In this way, Malmö Live coexists with the past; with the docks that Frans Suell had built in the 1770s; with the protected Sjömansgården where the harbour guards lived at the end of the nineteenth century; and with the time when fishermen sold herring straight from their boats at the quayside and the entire district was thriving. These days, the vibrant dealings of the old fishing port are but a faded memory, although the name lives on in Fiskehamnsgatan (Fishing Port Street), that runs along the edge of the canal. Now, thanks to Malmö Live, a sense of vibrancy has once again returned to the area!
Built out of passion and Danish design
Malmö Live consists of three main buildings that are connected by a common entrance level where all visitors are welcomed. Skanska was the contractor and property developer for the conference and hotel buildings, while the City of Malmö was the property developer for the concert hall component that is now home to the municipal company Malmö Live Konserthus AB. The hotel and conference operations, along with the restaurants, are managed by Clarion Hotel & Congress Malmö Live, part of the Nordic Choice chain.
Skanska’s assignment did not simply consist of developing and building a concert hall, conference centre and hotel. In total, the development covered some 90,000 square metres at Universitetsholmen, with the focus on creating a district that connects Malmö City with Västra Hamnen (The Western Harbour) – and that would become a Malmö landmark.
The architect firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen based their design on the site itself, its location within the city and the many intended functions of Malmö Live. The result is a building that is open in all directions and that has no designated front or rear; a building that people can simply pass through or in which they can choose to linger. Malmö Live is an urban space that erases the boundaries between inside and out.
Now and into the future
Today, Malmö Live is the city’s social and cultural meeting place, somewhere people live and work, with green walkways and views out over the water. Where once there was a car park there is now a hotel, conference centre and concert hall with generous spaces for people to meet, socialise and share experience.