Norwegian design and architecture celebrated at Serpentine Pavilion

In a week when Norwegian design and architecture are making a real impact on the British capital, the Norwegian-designed Serpentine Pavilion played host to an event celebrating Kjetil Thorsen, the architect behind the much acclaimed pavilion, and the designers taking part in the forthcoming exhibition 100% Norway.

Around 250 guests from the world of design and architecture had made their way to Kensington Gardens and the Pavilion, a timber-clad structure which resembles a spinning top and has proved a huge hit with both the British audience and press. Norwegian Minister of Culture, Trond Giske, who was present at the event which was organised by the Norwegian Embassy, highlighted in his speech that the building demonstrated the very best of Norwegian and Scandinavian design.

He also spoke about the design exhibition 100% Norway, which takes place at London’s Earls Court from 20-23 September and this year specifically focuses on textile, glass and porcelain design. “Environmentally friendly solutions in art and design are central to this year’s exhibition,” Giske said referring to the fact that the Norwegian exhibition stand is built with recyclable cardboard and featuring products made very much with the environment and sustainability in mind. “It is my hope that this exhibition will bring Norwegian design to a wider audience in the UK and beyond,” Giske concluded.

100% Norway 2007, once again curated by Henrietta Thompson, features new work from both new and more established names such as Norway Says, Catherine Maske, Sari Syväluoma and Anne Haavind. According to Thompson, the exhibition would show how, with beautiful, innovative new pieces, contemporary designers are now breaking the mould. “Our stand at Earl’s Court this year offers a snapshot of the identity, character and culture of Norwegian society in a bite-sized show that will hopefully demonstrate the significance of Norwegian design on every level,” she said in her speech. “Norway, without a doubt, is one of the most interesting places to watch for fresh design talent and trends.”

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion commission, now entering its eighth year, is an ongoing programme of temporary structures by internationally acclaimed architects and individuals. It is unique worldwide and presents the work of an international architect or design team who, at the time of the Serpentine Gallery's invitation, has not completed a building in the UK. This year the building was in addition to Kjetil Thorsen, of the architectural practice Snøhetta, also designed by the internationally acclaimed artist Olafur Eliasson. Thorsen, who was present at the event, naturally praised the Serpentine Gallery in his speech.

The spectacular and dynamic building brings a dramatic vertical dimension to the more usual single-level pavilion. A wide spiralling ramp makes two complete turns, ascending from the Gallery’s lawn to the seating area and continues upwards, culminating at the highest point in a view across Kensington Gardens and down into the chamber below. The Pavilion acts as a ‘laboratory’ every Friday night until November with artists, architects, academics and scientists leading a series of public experiments.

Around 250 guests attended the event at the Serpentine Pavilion where the Norwegian Minister of Culture, Trond Giske, 100% Norway curator, Henrietta Thompson, director of the Serpentine Gallery, Julia Peyton-Jones, and Kjetil Thorsen, the architect behind the Pavilion, all held speeches. Photos: Siri Aronsen / Royal Norwegian Embassy

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The event at the Serpentine Pavilion was attended by 250 guests.Photo: Siri Aronsen / Royal Norwegian Embassy

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