In NY, Blurring Lines of Nordic Design

Places / December 22, 2010

Snohetta, the New York- and Oslo-based architecture firm selected to design the only building on the National September 11 World Trade Center site, is making a major statement about Nordic art and design at Scandinavia House, at 58 Park Avenue.

“Nordic Models + Common Ground: Art and Design Unfolded” was curated and designed by Craig Dykers, principal director at the firm.  The work from five Scandinavian nations – Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland – covers a wide range of projects, from a violin to an apartment house, to chairs, lamps and signage.

“It’s art and design, architecture and landscape architecture,” Craig said.  “It’s about crossover opportunities being explored across political and geographical boundaries.  Its main intent was to blur the edges between disciplines.”

The exhibit features works by 41 different artists and designers displayed in one main room of Scandinavia House, as well as corridors leading to it.  The curator worked for three months to achieve the right political balance between the five Nordic nations, to create a calm environment for the pieces to be viewed.

“The embrace of socially responsible design, which imbues the works in the exhibition, is an eloquent reflection of the egalitarian way of thinking that is at the heart of Nordic societies,” he said.

Elements in the exhibit are displayed to juxtapose one work to another, focusing on the connection between things, rather than their separation.

“In effect, the show was built up like the Modernist exhibits from the 1920s and ‘30s,” he said.  “There’s a very natural, organic feel to it – elements are displayed as dynamic and tilted, with movement that leads the eye to the next part of the exhibit.”

The exhibit runs through March 9, 2011.

http://www.scandinaviahouse.org/events_exhibitions_upcoming.html

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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.




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