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The Twist: Norway's New Art Icon

I am a Norwegian writer with careers within art, design, history, tourism and journalism. My second home is in a small village in Spain.

The Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group’s building twists and spans 60 meters across the Randselva river, where it makes a harmonious interplay with the area's beautiful woodland nature.

The Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group’s building twists and spans 60 meters across the Randselva river, where it makes a harmonious interplay with the area's beautiful woodland nature.

Sculpture, gallery and bridge all in one—such is the new signature building, The Twist, in the middle of the art collector Christian Sveaas's sculpture park at Kistefos. The beautiful and sensational building designed by the Danish star architects at Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is a must-see for architecture and art lovers from Norway and abroad.

Visitors enter The Twist from the south side of the river through a double-high dramatic space. Idyllic paths and forests surround the building.

Visitors enter The Twist from the south side of the river through a double-high dramatic space. Idyllic paths and forests surround the building.

An Art Icon at Kistefos

Hills, forests of pine and spruce and colorful wildflowers form a scenic landscape around The Twist, Norway's new art icon. The slender, curved building is already on the list of "must-see" cultural destinations in international publications as The New York Times, Bloomberg and The Telegraph.

With its 1000 square meters, it forms a unique combination of a functional bridge and an amazing sculpture both from inside and outside. It also gives visitors the chance to encounter art made by some of the world's foremost artists.

The twisted, white building spans in all its architectonical glory across the silent waters of the trout river, Randselva, connecting people with fascinating art and nature all in one place.

"Point of View - Part 2" by Michael Elmgren and Ingar Dragset. A male figure looks in while the audience looks out through a floor-to-ceiling window at the lower level of the building. The surface of the figure appears to absorb its surroundings.

"Point of View - Part 2" by Michael Elmgren and Ingar Dragset. A male figure looks in while the audience looks out through a floor-to-ceiling window at the lower level of the building. The surface of the figure appears to absorb its surroundings.

A Glimpse Into Another World

The sculpture park around the building is expanded with at least one sculpture every year. As of 2020, there are 46 sculptures in the collection, among them sculptures made by contemporary artists such as Anish Kapoor, Yayoi Kusama, Claes Oldenburg, Tony Cragg and Jeppe Hein. Some of them are made especially for Kistefos, like the sculptures "Point of View - Part 1" and "Point of View - Part 2" by Elmgren & Dragset.

The visitor gets his first encounter with the male figure in "Point of View - Part 1" when he arrives the main sculpture park area. The male figure looks into the park through a hole in a wall. The second encounter with the male figure is when the visitor goes downstairs to the basement of The Twist. There he meets face to face with the male figure standing on the outside, looking into the building through the glass wall. His surface of polished stainless steel—almost like a mirror—absorbs all the nuances of its surrounding nature: vegetation, stones, water, light and even us.

Twist or Optical Illusion?

The movement of the slender building translates beautifully inside the building too, when the wood paneling appears to twist along with the building.

But even though it looks like the long, white, solid-wood planks are curved, it is just an illusion; all the lines in The Twist are straight. Meanwhile, the building's aluminum exterior hearkens to an industrial style.

Closed Gallery, Twist Gallery and Panorama Gallery

The gallery is divided into three showrooms according the architecture: Closed Gallery, Twist Gallery and Panorama Gallery. The use of planks of solid wood in the interior is in line with traditional Norwegian architecture, where wood has long been the most important material for the construction of traditional houses.

The three-part division starts at the southern entrance to the Closed Gallery, where the ceiling heights are exceptional and you can see straight through the building to the northern entrance. Leaving Closed Gallery, the building slowly slides over into The Twist, where it turns 90 degrees. Here ceilings become walls, and walls become ceilings, and one experiences the architecture of the twist itself.

On the way further towards the north entrance is Panorama Gallery, where light floods into the room through high glass walls. The panoramic view of nature and the river is beautiful. I can imagine that no matter what the weather and light are like, looking out from here will be a wonderful experience.

The History of Kistefos and The Twist

Kistefos is located about 80 kilometers northwest of Oslo by the river Randselva.
Due to its location near the river and the forests, Kistefos Træsliperi AS, a company that produced wood pulp, was founded at Kistefos in 1889. The founder of the company was Anders Sveaas, the grandfather of the Norwegian businessman and art collector Christen Sveaas who established the Kistefos area as we know it today in 1996.

The production of wood pulp ceased in 1950, but the machines and buildings have been preserved. Christen Sveaas has turned the place into a living area for art and culture, where people can experience the sculpture park and now also art exhibitions in the signature building The Twist. As Sveaas continued expanding his collection, there was a need for a modern building to showcase international art of high quality. There was also a need to connect the areas on both sides of the river bank with a new bridge.

The idea and realization of building a gallery and a bridge into the same building emerged with the Danish architects BIG. Today the new art icon is a reality we all can enjoy.

© 2020 Gro Kristina Slaatto

Comments

Viet Doan from Big Island, Hawaii on October 09, 2020:

Truly spectacular - architecturally and culturally! I can't wait to see this in person. Great article Gro Kristina!

mahreend on October 02, 2020:

This is such an informational writeup. Thanks for sharing

Gro Kristina Slaatto (author) from Oslo, Norway and Vélez de Benaudalla, Spain on September 29, 2020:

Thank you so much for nice comment, JC Scull. Best regards, Gro Kristina.

JC Scull from Gainesville, Florida on September 28, 2020:

Very good article. Thank you for sharing.