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Outing in Oslo

We arrived in Oslo, Norway in time to enjoy lunch in the sun and to take in the excitement and apprehension of our adventure ahead.

It turns out Friday night is ‘culture night’ in Oslo and we stumbled across a beautiful art exhibition. In the late 1960’s a closed competition was held for a proposal for the exhibition to be shown in the Nordic pavilion at the 1970 world fair in Osaka, Japan. The pre established theme was ‘Protection of Environment in an industrialised society’ and a Norwegian architect named Sverre Fehn (1924-2009) submitted the below design titled 531135.

It’s an inflatable structure operated by ventilation machines created to mimic breathing and convey a warning about environmental dangers, particularly air pollution. In order to enter the structure you needed to pass through carefully controlled air locks, once inside, the exhibit was mesmerising.

The subtle movement and the pure colour convey a strong message that our bodies are precious and should be protected. Outside the structure were a variety of origami type creations, each with its own unique charm.

This piece reminds me of a designer I know; Derek Lawlor who is known for his use of innovative techniques, in particular wax cord applied to knitwear. If you haven’t heard of him check him out.


On the way out we spotted a cabinet displaying Kodak plus x fan negatives showing the structure as it was in the original competition entry, I am completely fascinated by these.

Though Fehn’s creation was not selected, it left its mark on architectural concepts going forward, the idea that buildings could be mobile, responsive and constantly changing.

Even the cafe was styled to match the exhibition. Love this.

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