Armfelt’s Swan Lake

Rosegarden (Jan-Erik Andersson & Erkki Pitkäranta): Armfelt’s Swan Lake, interior-artwork for the media room in Meritalo school, Salo, 2003

Rosegarden was commissioned by the Art Museum in Salo to do a combination of an art work and an interior design for the Meritalo school, to create a space, which could be used by the pupils for surfing on the Internet and reading as well as be visually stimulating.

We started to search for inspiration from the history of Salo and found that Gustav Mauriz Armfelt (1757-1814) once lived in the outskirts of Salo. He was an adventurer and survivor, a cosmopolite of his time, who worked for both the Swedish Crown and the Russian Czar.

We were interested in how the layers of history could be present in an interior and express how our minds and our way of thinking have been formed by earlier events in history, mainly Finland’s role in the middle of two powerful countries, Sweden and Russia.

The work evolved around a table, which is used for surfing on Internet. Starting off as a Finnish swan lake it was inspired by architecture from Russia and was applied with a water pillar with a lantern on the top, reminding of the symbol of the Meritalo school, the light house.

The Swedish influence over Finland is represented by a big book shelf shaped like a yellow crown. Finland is symbolized by two fir-tree shaped bookshelves. The fir tree tells both about the strongness and durability of the Finnish people between two powerful countries and about the ”green gold”, one of the foundation of the Finnish welfare.

Compared to the time when Armfelt lived, communication is now taken to a different level. Instead of sitting on a saddle, riding around Europe like Armfelt, you can now sit down in front of a computer and surf around the world. The physical traveling is also far more easy nowadays, which is represented by the 6 meters long, curved, red bench, formed like a folded boat, inspired by the red painted cruising ships, which go non stop between Finland and Sweden.

But sea trips are full of dangers, so beside the boat there are three sunken rocks as tables, which can be put together to form a big rock table.