When businessman Christen Sveeas purchased the Kistefos Wood Pulp Mill and the property it stood in, he had grand plans. To Christen, it was more than a normal business transaction. The Kistefos Mill was established by his grandfather, Anders Sveeas in 1889, and operated till 1955. It was located on a serene plot in the forest in Jevnaker, Norway, and even had a waterfall which was used to produce power.
By the time Christen Sveeas purchased the plot, most of the old wood pulp mills had all but disappeared in Norway. The Kistefos Mill had both its structure and machinery intact. To preserve its history, an industrial museum was planned at the site. Expanding on this idea, Christen Sveeas decided to turn the area into an art museum and sculpture park.
The Kistefos Museum is designed with utmost regard for the site conditions. It consists of an industrial museum, a sculpture park and two art galleries. The sculpture park takes visitors on a walk around the picturesque site, allowing them to explore works by contemporary artists. Many of the pieces are site specific, created by artists who took inspiration from the location. Works like the ‘Path of Silence’ by Jeppe Hein and ‘S-Curve’ by Anish Kapoor play on the uniqueness of the site to create profound experiences.
Artworks at Kistefos are displayed in the galleries of Nybruket and the Twist. Nybruket Gallery is housed in the historical wood pulp mill building, using its classic industrial structure to form an interesting and attractive canvas for contemporary art. Nybruket is the original gallery at Kistefos Museum, with the Twist opening only in 2019. But in the short time since its opening, the Twist has become almost synonymous with the museum.
Designed by BIG Architects (Bjarke Ingels Group), the Twist is a work of sculptural art in itself. The Twist spans across the Randselva River, acting as an art gallery and a bridge. The building’s design twists like a stack of books to connect the two riverbanks at different heights. On the north side, visitors enter into a horizontally oriented space with glass walls, offering panoramic views of the river. The glass wall turns into a skylight as the building twists, before tapering away into the ceiling. As the structure twists into a vertical orientation, it forms a double height volume on the south side. The structure and natural lighting thus creates three distinct spaces, suitable to host a wide variety of exhibitions. The modern minimalist design in white is a sight to behold, adapting to the surrounding nature in every season.
The Museum at Kistefos is not located in a bustling city like most large museums, and visiting Kistefos would require much planning due to its remote location. However, considering the role its location plays in the overall experience, the journey adds to the joy of the experience, and is well worth every bit of the effort.
Photography Laurian Ghinitoiu