Students from Venice and Lofoten participated in a workshop called “Spheres” as a part of “Il Primo Cerchio del Paradiso” (The First Circle of Paradise) organized by Bjørnådal Arkitektstudio at the 2021 Architecture Exhibition in Venice in November last year. Learn more about the cultural connections between Norway and Venice.
The workshop was organized by architect Hans-Petter Bjørnådal and glass artist Geir Morten Karlsen in collaboration with Bodø 2024 -European Capital of Culture. The intrinsically sustainable installation was part of the “Time Space Existence” side event at Giardini Della Marinaressa, focusing on Norway’s cultural connections with Venice dating back to 1432, when a North Sea storm altered the voyage of a Venetian merchant ship that had set sail for the Netherlands.
Paradise’s first circle
After finding refuge on a small island off the Norwegian coast, the ship’s captain indulged in the cultural and geographic wonder of a place he characterized as “Paradise’s first circle”. The new installation revealed past and present connections, with a strong emphasis on issues of current relevance such as climate change, environment and the merits of going back to a simpler lifestyle.
As dried Norwegian cod found a receptive market in Venice, the fishing trade became a staple of cultural connectivity between the two countries. The dried cod is a tribute to the men who sailed between the two countries with a wooden hull reminiscent of early trading ships.
Simple life in harmony with nature
“The project is a Norwegian gesture of simple living, but also a reflection of our current need for a shift in direction and consciousness in order to address climate change,” explained Hans-Petter Bjørnådal, Lead Architect of the firm bearing his name, “The essence of the message is that a simple life, in harmony with nature, is still a viable path to discovering paradise.”
Related: Powerful Norwegian Architecture
Bjørnådal applied his philosophy to the construction of his project, working in partnership with a company called ReBiennale to procure the materials he required to build ‘Il primo cerchio del paradiso’. ReBiennale is a collaborative project including a network of Venetian citizens, students, architects, artists and political activists who trade ideas, methods and know-how to build creative works using recycled materials from previous editions of the Biennale di Venezia. So, ReBiennale offers tangible evidence of the increased focus on the environment that has been noted in many of the installations at last year’s Architecture Biennale.
Related: The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Center
Two years in the making
“I spent 10 days in Venice erecting the finished product with my team, but this project is two years in the making due to the event’s postponement last year,” said Hans-Petter Bjørnådal and added, “Every restaurant in Venice has a recipe for dry cod, or clipfish, and Venetian recipes for gratinated fish with macaroni have been repatriated to Norway and have become national dishes.”
Cultural Connections Between Norway and Venice, based on a press release from MyNewsdesk
Feature image (on top): Photo by Ketil Bom