en-WCTE 2023


World Conference on Timber Engineering

Oslo, Norway, on June 19nd – 22nd 2023. 

In the winter of 2023, I was invited by Knut Werner Lindeberg Alsén, Executive Secretary at WCTE, to create an art commission for the conference based on the theme wood. As a challenge, I was handed a book about Finansparken in Stavanger (author Thomas McQuillan). As an artist but also as a civil engineer in construction and architecture, this was an exciting challenge for me and it is an honor for me to be asked by WCTE.

  • The World Conference on Timber Engineering (WCTE) is the world's leading scientific forum for the presentation of the latest technical and architectural solutions and innovations in timber construction. The WCTE is, without doubt, considered the most prestigious international event in the field of timber technology for construction, timber structures, and the design of timber architecture. 
  • "Finansparken", the headquarters of the Norwegian financial institution SpareBank 1 SR-Bank in Stavanger, a 7-story wooden building completed in 2019, has been characterized as a jewel in wood". The building was designed as a collaboration between Helen & Hard and SAAHA Architects, together with Hermann Blumer of Création Holz as specialist timber engineering consultant." In competition with several hundred projects, Finansparken was named both Construction of the Year and Wood Construction of the Year in 2019.

I have made four sculptures and a relief, the main theme in these works is wood, construction, form and aesthetics. In the four sculptures I have made, I have used paly wood and parts of the book of Finansparken. For me, the paper also represents an affinity with the tree as it is made of cellulose. The sculptures are small and can also be seen as models that can later become larger installations.

Title: The Tree, 2023

At the start, I focused on the tree as a whole and how it transports nutrients and water up through the trunk through thin tubes. This happens via capillary forces that are formed by osmosis in the root system.

In "The Tree" I have created an illusion of the thin tubes in the tree trunk with paper strips. The sculpture is three-dimensional and has one side that shows the tree in its entirety and another side that shows a section of the tree's pipe system. This way of showing the sculpture also connects me to my technical field.

Title: A piece of life, 2023

Here the tree has been sawed up and we get an insight into the tree's age by seeing the rings in the trunk. Through this plate, I take the tree's journey from the tree in nature to the processing of the wood as building material. The rings of the tree have always led me to wonder, what has this tree experienced if it could talk? At the same time, the life of the tree does not stop when it is cut down, but continues its further life through new constructions in buildings and structures.

Title: Stairway to heaven, 2023

Finansparken's main staircase is a piece of jewelery in itself as it creates an informal and close interaction across the departments in the building. In the sculpture "Stairway to Heaven", I have allowed myself to be freely inspired by the shape of the stairs and the idea of interaction and reaching upwards.

Utsnitt av foto. Foto: Sindre Ellingsen, Moelven, Redaksjonen
Utsnitt av foto. Foto: Sindre Ellingsen, Moelven, Redaksjonen

Title: Environment, 2023

The last sculpture is inspired by all the pictures in the book, which give an insight into the interaction of the glass and wood in the building, the building's internal and external environment and people's use of the building. This sculpture is made like a folding book and the cover of the book is shaped like one of the facades of the building.

Fasade Finansparken Stavanger, Foto: Kristian Jacobsen
Fasade Finansparken Stavanger, Foto: Kristian Jacobsen

Title: New life, 2023

"New life" is a relief made from WCTE redundant brochures. It is a reusable work of art where the focus is on minimizing waste, at the same time the brochures are made of paper which is again a cellulose material from the tree. And is proof that it is also possible to create sustainable art.