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‘The Town / The Light / The Ocean’

 

The site

The Town Hall Quarter in Kristiansand is a block of historically significant buildings bordered by streets on all four sides. The facades of the old structures have been preserved, including the fire station with its characteristic tower. These facades now form a framework for the large, newly-built structure devoted to municipal administration.

Structurally, the Town Hall Quarter employs a glass-ceilinged atrium over a deep, open space with municipal offices occupying its perimeters. The central space is open and it spans four stories up to the glass ceiling, which allows daylight to filter in.

The significant end wall of the floorplan was envisaged as a site for a largescale textile artwork. The project sought a woven tapestry with a motif capable of presenting modern-day Kristiansand in a contemporary, abstract visual idiom.

 

The artwork

The artwork is inspired by the journey to Norway – the experience of sailing from Northern Jutland in Denmark to Kristiansand, nestled on Norway’s southernmost point, characterized by its proximity to the ocean and the mountains beyond.

Hence, the expansive end-wall weaving designed for the Town Hall Quarter combines elements characteristic of Kristiansand when the town is experienced from the fjord to the south east. The town’s skyline runs connectively through the entire motif, portraying the characteristic shapes of the buildings – the cathedral, the fire tower, and the larger structures which serve to localize the motif.

The light in the motif stems from a place where sources of light are densely gathered and possess a great intensity and variety of colour. The strong light in the foreground is reflected in the ocean, which simultaneously mirrors the last of the sky’s blue at twilight. More distant, faint sources of light in the background create depth in the motif.

There is no fixed agreement of geography or scale between the town’s ‘skyline’ and the light. Both are used as independent elements in the composition to create a balanced motif which reflects contemporary Kristiansand.