Armfelt’s Swan Lake

Armfelt’s Swan Lake

Rosegarden was commissioned by Salo Ar t Museum to create a combined work of ar t and interior design for Meritalo School – a space that pupils could use to surf the Internet and read; a room that would also be visually stimulating.
We star ted to search for inspiration from the history of Salo and found that Gustav Mauriz Armfelt (1757–1814) once lived on the outskir ts of Salo. He was an adventurer and survivor, a cosmopolitan 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 in exploring how our minds and our way of thinking have been formed by earlier events in history, mainly by Finland’s role between two powerful countries: Sweden and Russia.
The work evolved around a table, designed for work with computers. Star ting off as a Finnish swan lake, it was inspired by architecture in Russia. A water pillar with a lantern on top was added as a reference to the symbol of Meritalo School: the light house.
The Swedish influence on Finland is shown in a big book shelf in the shape of a yellow crown. Finland is symbolised by two fir-tree-shaped bookshelves. The fir tree refers to the strength and durability of the Finnish people between two powerful countries and the ‘green gold’ of the forests, one of the foundations of Finland’s wealth.
Compared to Armfelt’s times, methods of communication have now changed completely. Travelling in itself is also much easier now. The long, curved red bench is six metres long and formed like a folded boat. It was inspired by the red painted cruise ships that travel nonstop between Finland and Sweden.
Sea journeys, however, are full of danger, so there are three sunken rocks as tables beside the boat, which can be put together to form one big rock table.

Meritalo School, Salo, 2003.