Hidden Gems of Malmö Skaters’ Landmarks
Written by Gustav Svanborg Edén
Take inspiration from New Nordic Voice Competition film The Scars of Ali Boulala (Max Eriksson) and explore Malmö from a skater’s perspective. Malmö’s reputation as a skateboard-friendly city doesn’t stem from its mild weather and smooth, modern architecture. Rather, it is a result of what the skaters have created themselves, but not all that gets skated is created for skateboarding. Here is a selection of some of Malmö’s classic skate-landmarks.
Gustav Svanborg Edén is the project manager for Skate Malmö – a partnership between Malmö’s skateboarding non-profit Bryggeriet and the City of Malmö.
A skateboarders’ view of the city remains at eye-level. Less interested in the king portrayed by the statue on top of the pillar at Stortorget (King Karl X Gustav, 1896), the skaters’ eyes have drifted to the granite ledge and smooth surface of the top level of the base. For many years, these few metres of granite smoothness were as close as Malmö got to the stone plazas seen in warmer countries.
Insikt/Utblick by Pål Svensson
The sculpture Insikt/Utblick (Insight/Outlook) by Pål Svensson at Posthusplatsen offers a challenging concave full-pipe for skaters willing to risk looping their boards into the water. Pål Svensson’s vision of the sculpture is to be interactive and he has welcomed its use for skateboarding.
Konsthallstorget in Malmö was developed as an open, concrete space with an elevated stage. Although not designed with skateboarders in mind, the square quickly became a central meeting-spot for local street-skaters. In order to support the life that skateboarders brought to the space, the municipality introduced granite benches adapted for skateboarding. This way, skateboarding is encouraged to blend in and be a part of urban life. The benches are as much for sitting as they are for grinding.
Also occupying the square are two sculptures designed by students at Bryggeriet Highschool’s skateboarding program. Inspired by the Art Centre’s current exhibition by William Scott, students had the opportunity to design sculptural skate-obstacles. The result is two skateable spaceships that will be present in the square until the end of September.
When Värnhem Square was built in 1998, it attracted skaters from all over the region. In 2018, to breathe new life into the spot, professional skateboarder, architect and artist Alexis Sablone was invited to create a skateable installation for the space. From ground level The Lady in the Square may appear to be a series of concrete objects for commuters waiting for their connection, but seen from above the skate-adjusted forms create the outlines of a face.
Train Bank Spot
In the 1990’s Malmö offered few skateboarding opportunities. Inspired by the Portland skate scene, the skaters adopted the mantra “If you don’t have it – build it” and taught themselves how to pour concrete and build their own skate spots. By documenting their progress they inspired skaters from all over the world to build their own scene. In doing so, Malmö’s backwater DIY-spots became renowned skate magnets for travelling skaters from around the world.
One of the most iconic DIY-spaces in Malmö is TBS or Train Bank Spot, famous from the Malmö skate films Strongest of the Strange and In Search of the Miraculous. The spot builds on the opportunity to ride up the banks onto the metal fence and has grown gradually over the years. Through dialogue with the municipality it has become a sanctioned skate space.