Foto © Catharina Gotby

Elma. Venice BIennale 2012 Nordic Pavillion

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Venice, Italia

Katarina Lundeberg and Fredric Benesch

Project team
Alva Hult, Vicki Lundgaard

Lies-Marie Hoffman

Elma is cut out of an Elm that during the past 103 years grew in the Royal National Park in Stockholm. As one of the last standing Elm trees in Europe of this age it was infected by Dutch elm disease, and had to be taken down this year.

The wood was worked fresh and brought into this new locality, new cracks will emerge in response to the Venetian humidity and caresses of visitors will varnish Elmas aging surface.

As the Nordic pavilion once was shaped in relation to the trees on site, Elma is a homáge in reverse, drawing its geometry from the pavilion itself. The wooden piece, no longer growing, is turned horizontally exposing its wooden heart. By chainsaw and hand tools Elma was transformed into an architectonic piece ”a light house” that has gained its form from an interpretation of the geometry of Sverre Fehns Nordic Pavilion.

Sverre Fehn created an architectonic structure to eliminate shadows. Elma confronts the pavilion with new surfaces, polished and raw, cut in different angles with variations in tactility giving back some shadows and light reflections.

In section the cut angles originates from the height and plan of the beams dimensioned to eliminate direct sunlight and from the angle of the beams that surrounds the biggest tree in the outer corner of the pavilion. In plan Elma is a projection of the free space in between the two layers of beams.

In the encounter between our conceptual ideas and the intensive qualities of the chosen piece of wood a new reality emerges. Surfaces were polished to expose the material and Butterfly joints was formed to keep it together. Key figures of our thinking are carved into the surface.

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