Anne Aanerud


St. Olavs is a University Hospital located in Trondheim and is Norway's largest hospital development. Art plays a very important role in the different buildings as "visuelle vitaminer". The Knowledge Center building is equipped with Sergé pearl-white printed with a design by the artist Anne Aanerud. Helioscreen interviewed her about the project.


 Anne Aanerud

Helioscreen: Apparently art plays a very important role in Norwegian public buildings, more than in other European countries. Why is this?

Anne: in 1976 a parliamentary decision established that about 1% of the budget for government buildings should be reserved for art. Later this idea was also applied to municipal and county administration buildings and outdoor spaces. For all projects there is an art committee with one or two art-consultants, the architect plus representatives for the owner and the users of the building. This committee makes an art-program saying where the art should be, what kind of art and how to find and choose artists etc.

Helioscreen: so for St.Olavs there is also an art-program. You were asked to create something for The Knowledge Center. Was this based on a competition or did they ask you directly?

Anne: an art committee can indeed choose to organize a competition between several artists, but for the Knowledge Centre they asked me directly. I had already made art works with sand blasted glass in two other buildings of St. Olavs Hospital and the committee thought that I could look into the possibilities to add a design on the sunscreens at the south façade. They wanted to emphasize this building and the Olav Kyrre's Plaza in front of it as the heart of the hospital campus.

St Olavs 1

Helioscreen: so at first only the south façade was going to be installed with printed screen?

Anne: Yes, I was working tight with the art-committee and the architects during the preliminary project and further on. At the beginning we did not know very much about the costs and technical possibilities regarding print on sunscreens. Luckily Helioscreen gave us the positive answers we were hoping for.

We were thrilled to find that the budget allowed us to work on all façades, using silkscreen at all glaspanels covering the walls, and a digital print on all the exterior sunscreens. The skin of the building would then appear as one, and communicate with the aluminum-grid.

Helioscreen: so the art really became part of the whole architecture?

Anne: yes - my main artistic interest is to work in communication with the architecture. This project has been a great opportunity for me.

Helioscreen: How did you get the idea for the pattern? What does it symbolize?

Anne: Visually I wanted the building to stand out as one pulsing heartbeat; the question was how strong a heartbeat. Given that the reflection in the glass panels often makes colors etc. disappear - clear and strong contrasts were asked for and the answer was black and white.

The design - or pattern if you like - should help create an optimistic and courageous impression of the campus. The pattern slightly differs from one floor to another adding a feeling of naivety to it. To balance the impression of folk-art as well as that of contemporary architecture was an important intention. The motive reminds us of the fundamental mathematical knowledge we all share from brick-making to knitted and woven patterns.