In front of the new Travel Center in the Swedish town of Mora stands a colorful conversation piece that locals love so much they can hardly keep their hands off it – and luckily they don’t have to.
Gemenskap (Community) is an interactive art installation that passers-by are invited to touch, sit on, climb and have fun with. “I believe that playful, interactive objects trigger curiosity – and curiosity leads to spontaneous interaction between people in public spaces. They allow the child within us to explore, perhaps even starting an interesting connection and conversation between strangers,” says the sculptor Hanna Nielsen.
Under starry skies
Unveiled in November 2014, the installation consists of three stainless steel sculptures.
Enjoy is a cheerful red ring that serves as a cozy seat kept at a steady warmth of 20 degrees Celsius by a heating coil installed underneath the sitting area. The ceiling is fitted with 81 fiber-optic lights that create an imaginary starry sky above. Circulate is a special favorite with the kids: The zany orange sculpture spins when pushed, and a musical instrument inside produces inspiring sounds while the sculpture is rotating. Reflect is a calming blue sculpture that invites travelers to sit down to enjoy some personal space and time for reflection.
Nielsen was given complete artistic freedom to work with any concept, scale or material of her choice. As the sculptures are located outdoors and exposed to harsh northern environment, Nielsen chose stainless steel both for its durability and timeless beauty.
“It has the aesthetic and functional qualities I was looking for. It is a very clean and hard material that is suitable for the simple shapes I wanted to work with. I also wanted a sustainable material that is able to withstand constant human interaction and the climate over a long period of time,” says the artist.
The steel was delivered by Outokumpu’s mill in Avesta, which is located in the same county as Mora: “It was very much a local industry project,” says Nielsen.
Before placing the order Nielsen visited the factory, where she received plenty of valuable advice helping her choose the optimum material. “Outokumpu advised me that weather-resistant Supra 316L/4404 would be ideal for outdoor sculptures. Thanks to the rapid delivery, the sculptures were completed quickly. They were very helpful throughout the project and I am very grateful for their support.”