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Mångata, northern lights and setting sun

Mångata, northern lights and setting sun in exhibition on Nordic Light in Stockholm

Nordiska Museet – the Nordic Museum in Stockholm – one of the oldest and grandest museums of the city – asked us at Note to design an exhibition that could capture the experience of the Nordic Light. As inspiration, we took the oldest sources of light available – the moon and the sun.

  • Project facts
  • Client: Nordiska Museet
  • Location: Stockholm Nordiska Museet
  • Year: 2016
  • Photograph: Kristoffer Johnsson

Nordiska Museet’s unique banquet hall – 126 meters long, 15 meters wide and 24 meters high, resembling a Gothic cathedral with high arches and pillars – is the heart of the building. The entrance to the hall is located in its center, which provides two given viewing angles towards both ends of the hall. The discs of the sun and the moon creates graphical focal points in each end of the hall – a sun that lights up a cloud bank in the north hall and a moon reflecting in the waters of the south hall. The moon’s disk has a diameter of five meters – smaller than that had not created enough impact in the great hall.

The exhibition “Shapes of Light – 120 lamps 120 years,” is housed in our “Mångata” – a unique Swedish word for the light-line the moon creates in water at night – here illustrated by a zigzag-shaped fifty meter long wall rising from one meter in the front to six meters in the back. Its shape creates eight triangular rooms that each convey an era in the history of electrical lights – Art Nouveau, Modernism, Postmodernism, etc., and ends with 3D-printed lamps of today. The exhibition was developed in intense collaboration with conservators and experts of the museum – from placement of the moon and lamps down to the smallest dot in the exhibition text.

In the north end of the hall a “Skymningsdal” – sunset valley – is dedicated to the northern lights, or aurora borealis. A fifty meter long semi-transparent fabric has the same zigzag shape as the Mångata wall, but is turned upside down and hangs in wires from the ceiling. The fabric is tinted by beams of light – every twenty minutes the main lights of the north hall are faded down and the colors of the Northern Lights play over the fabric a few minutes – then back to white again. There is also a group of laid-back beach chairs below the fabric that invite you to rest and absorb the view of the entire hall, and the exhibition about the northern lights that surround the seating area.

3000 people visited the opening in November 2016, and the exhibition is available until the winter of 2017.