Norway Invites the World to the Salt Festival

Three timber and joist A‑frame structures, including a 100-metre-long exhibit hall, establish a cultural framework for the Salt festival.
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Three timber and joist A‑frame structures, including a 100-metre-long exhibit hall, establish a cultural framework for the Salt festival.
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For the year-long multimedia arts festival, Rintala Eggertsson Architects devised three A-frame structures to house performances, exhibits and a sauna.

On the remote island of Sandhornøya, in northern Norway, a series of bold architectural structures interrupts the landscape of craggy rock faces and pristine beaches. The temporary buildings are part of Salt, a leave-no-footprint nomadic festival of art, music and food, conceived by curators Helga-Marie Nordby and Erlend Mogård-Larsen and intended to enhance awareness of the relatively untouched Arctic region. The year-long program includes performances by Norwegian musicians, as well as a movie shot on location using local actors, by filmographer Yang Fudong.

Three triangular pavilions contain a music hall, a 100-metre-long exhibition space and a sauna that holds up to 120 people, all the work of Rintala Eggerts­son Architects of Oslo. “People originally came here for the fish,” says principal Sami Rintala, noting that the wooden A‑frames are inspired by traditional drying racks. “We have abstracted this old utility, not to house cod but to house culture.” A permanent building, clad in weathering steel, contains toilets, showers and a recycling centre, while a large tent structure houses a restaurant that serves up local specialties, including reindeer stew.

In this remote location – an 80-minute flight from Oslo to Bodø, then 30 minutes by boat – accommodations are scarce, so rustic seaside lodging has also been constructed. During a workshop that hosted 40 students from around the globe, Rintala oversaw the design of three wooden cottages, each with a unique angular form. Drawing inspiration from Norway’s traditional njalla huts, architect and artist Joar Nango has constructed a group of seven tent-like, glass-roofed residences on skis that can be dragged along the beach as campers desire. Reservations can be secured online, or visitors are welcome to bring their own tents. The festival continues through September 2015.

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