Metropol - Bringing Sexy Back!

Project from 2023. Umeå, Sweden

Metropol investigates the romantic stories stored within the walls of central Umeå – its old venues and cafés located at block Höder. The contemporary iterations derive from historical perspectives with the essence of  tension as a central aspect. What was once a block filled with life and anticipation is now a parking lot, and this proposal attempts to bring back the tension that once characterised Umeå.

Stories from Metropol

Stories from Metropol and K4 as told by Elenor and Maud and the Facebook Group Umeå Old photographs [SE: Umeå Gamla Fotografi] filled with experienced (now retired) dancers. 

Shadow theatre as an architectural device

To provoke mystique, we built a shadow theatre to provoke encounters on the street or ‘inside’ the new Metropol. The structure mimics the architectural vernacular of old “outdoor dance floors” situated in the outskirts of Umeå and the curtain pattern provokes a homely environment, as if you are peaking into someone elses’ living room. 

Spatial interventions

Before Kungsagatan meets Vasagatan, the neon sign of “Metropol” sits nicely along the wall of the house, inviting us in. “Metan”, as we called it, is originally a restaurant but we are not here to dine - really. The dark and hidden corners of the interior provide comfort, or places to hide. Here, we exist without our parents knowing, and we drink the liquor served to us by the older men working at the restaurant. Metan provided a space for alternative gathering that contradicts the conventional and rigid system we are brought up in. Here, we don’t do fine dining, and we help each other out with the dishes (if you know what I mean *wink* *wink*). We don’t want to be told whom we are supposed to meet or not, nevertheless wait for someone to approach us. This is somewhere where the tension already is.