Waiting Windows

  • Project facts
  • Client: Nacka municipality
  • Location: Nacka
  • Year: 2019
  • Photograph: Erik Lefvander

We have been behind a huge number of design projects over the last 10 years, but never before has our studio turned our skills into the creation of public art. Now, commissioned by the municipality of Nacka, Sweden, we are unveiling our first site-specific installation. Waiting Windows is a large-scale architectural meditation on the act of waiting – a sculptural study of the ‘dead time’ between the anticipation and the event.

 

 

Due for completion in 2027, the expansion of the Stockholm subway is one of the biggest transport infrastructure projects to have been undertaken in Sweden. One of the major impacts will be the creation of a rail link between Central Stockholm and the neighbouring Nacka municipality, with three new Nacka stations added to the blue line from Kungsträdgården: Sickla, Järla and Nacka C. The improvement of the network coincides with extensive development in Nacka, fulfilling the project requirement that provision is made for 50,000 new inhabitants in the coming years – including the creation of 14,000 apartments and 10,000 workplaces.

To mark the magnitude of the project and celebrate the fact it will make Nacka Sweden’s biggest municipality, three groups of artists and designers have been commissioned to create public installations that respond to the development. As part of Nacka’s initiative entitled ‘The Art of Urban Creation’, Note was asked to create an outdoor public artwork close to the new Sickla station – quite a departure for a studio more used to function-first projects in the fields of architecture, interiors and product design.

Working to an open brief, the studio began to reflect on the state of waiting – both in the sense of waiting for a train in the station, and of 100,000 Nacka residents waiting for the delivery of a life-transforming link to the centre of Stockholm.

“Waiting is a poetic frame of mind, but it’s often considered something of a void in our daily lives. We have to do it, but if you allow yourself to actively occupy that moment rather than be passive, then it becomes something else altogether – something that’s not to be seen as wasted time. On a subway platform, you’re witness to small slices of everyday life as trains slip by – each passing window acting as a pinhole camera snapshot of the lives happening inside.”

Daniel Hecksher — Interior Architect / Partner

This notion of passing train windows was the staring point. Set on a wooded hillside traffic island beside Nacka City Hall, 350 metres from the entrance to Sickla, the installation comprises an array of oblong frames in polished stainless steel, varied in size, and set in a gentle curve evoking the shape of a Stockholm Subway station. By day, the ‘Waiting Windows’ reflect their surroundings and trigger chance encounters between people interacting with the artwork, and at night, the windows will be lit from the top of each frame. A single window, also illuminated at night, is positioned at a smaller site nearby to serve as a viewpoint for the main installation.

“We chose not to make Waiting Windows a ‘digital’ piece. Our lives are already full of digital worlds in which people don’t meet other people physically. Note’s spatial work is always about leaving with the sense that you’ve experienced something real and tangible. This installation will not have any guidelines to how it should be use, no background text as you might find in a gallery. It’s for the people of Nacka to decide its purpose and meaning.”

Charlotte Ackemar — Product Designer

Note’s Waiting Windows has made possible with the support of leading Swedish property developer JM and the global retail developer Unibail Rodamco Westfield, both of which are instrumental in the imminent transformation of Nacka City.

“Through co-creative projects and by including art and culture from the beginning, I believe we will end up with a city that doesn’t simply exist, butalso touches us deeply.”

— Fredrika Friberg, chief creator, Nacka municipality