Architect Erkki Pitkäranta was commissioned to plan the restoration of the existing congregation hall of the Lutheran church in Kouvola. Par t of the commission was to design a new congregation hall as an extension to the existing building. The new hall is entirely made of wood and shows that wood is a perfect material for creating organic shapes. The walls of the hall are slightly curved and give the hall an extraordinary feel. During the planning stage, Pitkäranta asked me to design a total work of ar t on Christian themes given by Pitkäranta and integrate the ar twork in the building’s structures.
I designed a dance on the floor of the aisle leading through the hall. It features coloured ceramic footsteps inser ted in the sand-coloured ceramic tiles and symbolises the people of Israel’s walk through the deser t. The footsteps lead to an elevated platform in the shape of a semi-circle. There is a lit box under a transparent glass on the platform: It holds Moses’s sandals, made of dried wheat, by invited ar tist Per tti Toikkanen, who is known for ar t made of edible materials.
A tree, shaped as two hands, rises from the floor on the wall behind the platform. The branches are shaped like people sitting in the tree. There is also the blue figure of Christ in the centre. This piece, based on my drawing, was made by glass ar tist Jari Hangassalo. Behind the Christ figure there is a window that allows daylight in to light up the glass work.
On the lef t side of the tree there is a relief that depicts the burning bush. The flame was also made by Hangassalo, based on my sketches. It is lit by fibre optics inside the relief. The twelve tree sticks attached to the bush refer to the twelve apostles. On the right side of the tree there is a glasswork relief, which shows the Holy Spirit as a candle flame divided in three.
A total work of ar t in Kouvola congregation hall, 2004. Invited ar tist: Per tti Toikkanen.