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LabNotes: Suspended Sea Creatures

Kustaa Saksi describes his work on the amazing 700,000 sheet installation ‘Hello’ for the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2013.

The Hello! Show was a talkshow held in the space where guests discussed the Fair’s annual topic from different perspectives and roles.


What was the brief?

There was no brief, really. I had met with the producer Sanna Gebeyehu earlier in Stockholm and she thought it would be a great idea to introduce me and Gert Wingårdh and let us come up with an idea for an installation for Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2013.

Have you worked with this events programme before?

It was the first time I was working with Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair. Last June, we had our first meeting at Wingårdhs Architects’ beautiful rooftop terrace in Stockholm. It was extremely rewarding to work with such talented team of people: Gert Wingårdh, Stefano Mangili, Axel Wolgers, Anna Höglund, Filip Mesko and Beatrice Fägnell at Wingårdhs and producers Sanna Gebeyehu and Johan Riddarström. We all shared the same level of ambition and wanted to create something extraordinary.

How did you arrive at the idea to complete this inspiring installation?

In a nutshell, Wingårdhs came up with an idea for the structure and material. I started to draw a kaleidoscopic painting of mysterious sea creatures as a ceiling mosaic. The image was divided and printed on thousands of sheets of paper. The design suggests a church interior, with rows of high tables in front of an ‘altar’ where panels hold sway. The table tops are made of a mirror laminate and balance on stacks of A3 paper sheets – 700,000 in total. The entire dome-like structure consists of stacks of paper sheets that hang from the roof in a Venetian blind-like construction. The lowest sheet in each stack carries part of a gigantic illustration that forms the dome-shaped ceiling.

Preparations for construction took months and the actual raising of the dome was a long task. Precision in all the preliminary work was crucial. 1,120 stacks consisting of a total of 11,000 A3 sheets in 44,000 points of attachment were installed across an area of 200 sqm and then gradually hoisted up.

Any challenges, rethinking in the execution?

This pavilion wasn’t actually our first version. The first one envisioned birdcages overhead, but regulations prohibited live creatures and their droppings. So we had to drop that idea.

What is the one thing you are happiest about in the work?

It must be the excitement in the whole process – starting from scratch, entering dead ends, resolving problems and, finally, seeing the final piece in all its glory.

Photographs by Tord-Rikard Söderström


A film of the construction can be seen here.

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