Uninspired and reactionary. When it could have been Sweden’s leading design exhibit. Forum asked five top designers to create a new setting for the presentation of the Nobel
prizes. Text: Mark Isitt.

The Swedish government intends to sell Sweden abroad as a leading design nation. I wonder if they have taken into account the conservative Nobel Foundation. A qqflutter of flags worthy of some railway opening, funeral flowers piled high, ranks of formal dignitaries like a posse of penguins, and a royal family – there you have it, the most widely disseminated image of today’s Sweden. If Sweden is seriously intending to call herself a design nation the government must first review our public spaces. And of those the most public is undoubtedly the stage of the Stockholm concert hall on December 10th each year.
Forum has invited five designers, architects and artists to present each his own proposal for a rejuvenated Nobel setting.

Andreas Angelikakis, architect:

»We propose that the real live ceremony is replaced with an online ceremony in a Virtual Reality browser. Your body is represented by an avatar, which can be modelled to an exact cartoon version of
physical, or fantasy self, and your words appear as live chat over your head. Through this avatar you walk around these world, meet others like you, whether they are a 13 year old schoolgirl in Australia or a quantum physicist in Alaska.«

White Architects:

»Our aim is to present that brief moment, those few solemn seconds when the prize-winner once leaves his anonymity behind him and emerges into the spotlight to receive the prize from the hands of the king. A curved ramp leads from the choral gallery down to the front of the stage. The prize-winners, who have been waiting in the gallery until their turn comes, make their way down the ramp, face the audience at the nearest possible point and receive their prize in memory of Alfred Nobel from His Majesty’s hands.«

Meta Isæus-Berlin, artist:

»I should like to bring moss into the concert hall. To transform the
setting into a cosy cavity and sweep away all the superfluous detail, and to create a circular embrace for the participants.

Mats Theselius, designer:

»The idea with this design is to attempt to synchronise TV and live broadcasting by providing a common factor, a common focal point to provide a direct experience for all involved. I would like to introduce a background to enclose the space. This element of space has a powerful impact for everyone. By this means the Nobel ceremony will be both riveting for the eye and possess a setting which elevates the Nobel experience.«

OUR, designers:

»The bubbles take the form of thoughts floating freely above the prize-winners and audience. Onto these transparent spheres poetic pictures will be projected, moving or still, illustrating the work of the researchers. The pictures can be artistic expressions of these ideas. One bubble for each prize-winner. And around the walls of the concert hall screens onto which further pictures can be projected.«

Mark Isitt


Articel from the swedish magazine FORUM


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