A monument to the birch tree
A collaboration between Snøhetta and White Arkitekter resulted in the design for the “Väven” cultural center in the Swedish university town of Umeå. The outcome is an events space measuring 24,000 square meters on the river Ume that provides a multi-facetted program ranging from literature to art to social services. The façade, made up of white strips interspersed with rows of dark window panes, is reminiscent of the living rind of a birch tree, the “hallmark” of this former European Capital of Culture.
With its sweeping lines, the building has no specific front or back and comprises six entrance points which may be opened or closed depending on activity. The tiles “Terra Tones 216 V” by Mosa extend the structure of the façade onto the walls of the entrance areas, as well as provide a touch of elegance in matt anthracite, which forms a contrast to the light-colored floors and ceilings. The tiles’ subtle, continuous grain is characteristic of Mosa’s immaculate ceramics and creates a lively interplay of colors. Each tile is a robust one-off – in combination with a range of other formats this gives rise to a dynamic visual impression with optical depth. (am)