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The team — He knows his furniture classics. Kasper Uglebjerg, or just ‘The Owl’ turns up when repairs and maintenance are needed in the university's historic buildings. Meet him here in the University Post series on all of us who are part of the team at UCPH.
It is definitely in the central administration buildings you will find the coolest furniture at the University of Copenhagen’s (UCPH). And the Rector’s office is way ahead, that is for sure. There’s a lot of design that I really like in the buildings on Frue Plads. Le Corbusier, Arne Jacobsen, PH, Wegener and all the Le Klint fruit-shaped lights that fit in wonderfully. I got my love of design furniture from a childhood home with many fancy things. I’m really into furniture and I like to restore them. We have a large furniture warehouse here at CSS for the entire City Campus and Panum. There are some really nice pieces of furniture, but sometimes the people who administer them are unaware of the design classics they possess. The most wonderful furniture can be discarded because of a tiny scratch.
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I’m not fanatical, but I try to live healthily. I do a lot of strength training and a bit of running. I have recently gotten really into hiking. It all started last year, when I was invited to Tanzania by my father and brother-in-law to climb Kilimanjaro. It’s almost 6,000 metres of altitude, I can check the exact number on my diploma at the office. It took nine days, and it really made an impression on me. That’s probably one of the wildest things I’ve ever tried. I have ants in my pants, and I cannot just lie on the beach enjoying the sunshine for too long. I don’t have too many ties that keep me home in Denmark, so now I am going to do a bit of travelling on my own. I hiked in the mountains of Mallorca this spring, and next week I will be hiking in a national park outside Bilbao called Picos de Europa.
You need to almost be a sculptor to create some of the details in the doors and wooden panels around the historic university buildings. Look at the main door on Krystalgade street for example. There’s a spiral there in massive wood. They must have used a tuning iron and chiselled out all the details. I don’t think I could do that today. Then I would have to cheat and put it through a CNC milling machine or something like that, so I have great respect for the craft. I appreciate it a lot more than, say, KUA 1, 2 and 3 or South Campus, or whatever it is we are supposed to call it. It is just glass and steel with doors of cardboard with a few wooden ceilings slapped on from the inside. There is real history here. There is a lot more spirit in these old buildings at CSS and in the square at Nørregade and Krystalgade, and there is a lot of history hidden in the dust above the ceilings. It’s great to get up every day and know that you have to take care of these old buildings.
Kasper Kent Uglebjerg (43)
Employed by the University of Copenhagen since 2013
Does a wide range of tasks in the field of maintenance and restoration at City Campus.
I’ve been to the rector’s office many times, but never to receive a bollocking. I was there a lot in connection with his recent move, but sometimes I just put my head through the door and say hello. It actually means a lot to me that the people who are staying in the different offices are doing well in their places. They also need to influence how we organize things so that they can feel at home. We have a large art storage room at UCPH, but we also borrow works from the National Gallery of Denmark or Ny Carlsbergfondet. It’s no laughing matter when you are standing there holding a work of art worth half a million. Then it’s white gloves and a self-calibrating laser, so that it hangs absolutely in line. People actually come and check that we use the right painting hanging methods. But they have now checked me so many times that they trust me to be spot on every time. It’s a pretty cool assignment.
Throughout the time I’ve been at UCPH, I have never met anyone unpleasant. There are, of course, some people I’ve gotten a bit weary of from time to time. Like if I’ve been out repairing their windows for the fourth time in a month, because they didn’t close them when it was windy and rainy. But they’re really nice people anyway. I was actually employed here originally on an eight months contract with a wage subsidy, but I’ve been here now for almost ten years.
I regularly tell my colleagues that I have my tenth anniversary in April in the hope that they put something together. But they just say: Sorry. This only happens when you’ve been here for 25 years. So I’m not even half way there. I may end up having to bring in the cake myself. I would really like to stay here until I retire someday. It’s a brilliant place to work. No two days are the same, and it suits me really well.
The workshop in building 20 at CSS looked like a bombed out crater when I was hired. I started cleaning up and creating some structure so that you can actually find things and use the workshop for something. Luckily, I’m a put things in boxes person. I have built all the drawers and shelving systems at the workshop, so I know where things are, and today the workshop is my second home. I spend a lot of time there, but one of the cool things about working at UCPH is that I get around all the different corners of City Campus and meet people and fix different things. It is a lot different from standing on the same construction site for seven months, fastening plasterboard to ceilings and sitting there, listening to the same six people down in the trailer every day.
Three or four years ago, I had to do a citizen’s arrest here at CSS. There was an addict who came here frequently and thought that he was entitled to live here. One morning he was walking around bothering the staff on their way to work. They were terrified of him. We found him in the toilet where he was injecting himself with something. We told him politely that he had to come out because he was not allowed to be there. But he didn’t give a shit to be frank. He ended up striking one of my colleagues, and so we had to detain him until the police arrived. He had apparently also stolen some stuff. It was pretty crazy. We had to go in and be a witness in court, and he ended up being given a prison sentence. This was not much fun – he was just a poor dude. That’s why we have guards in here now, so we can call them in if we have a situation like this.
It’s often quite laddish stuff we get up to outside working hours in the craftsmen group. It’s great time, and sometimes we invite some of the external craftsmen along too. Then we go to Roskilde and drive go karts or play paintball. We have a good community, and we are organize our own Christmas party on top of the big Christmas party at UCPH. We also go out sometimes and get some beers in the craftsmen group without any bosses there. We either go to a pub or go out and eat lunch at a restaurant when we have an early day off on Fridays. I’m called Uglen ‘The Owl’ because my name is Uglebjerg. Just bring in The Owl, I sometimes hear them shouting to each other. Otherwise, they just call me Kawer.