An Architecture Festival that Celebrates the Arctic

The traveling event and installation aim to promote the cultures of the Arctic Circle.

This weekend, a tiny Norwegian island in the Arctic Circle is host to a architecture and culture festival that is anything but small. Set upon the white sandy beaches of Sandhornøy, SALT features three monumental structures that were inspired by traditional Norwegian fiskehjeller (fish racks) and designed by Rintala Eggertsson Architects. In celebration the days and nights are filled with performances, art events, and opportunities to enjoy the food from SALT’s Restaurant Gildeskål. We developed this idea that we wanted to focus on the Arctic region and the history, the present time, and the future of this area,” says the curator Helga-Marie Nordby who cofounded SALT with cultural entrepreneur Erlend Mogård-Larsen. “The focus point is to create art and culture events to engage people in the region.

The celebration was kicked off on Friday with Yang Fudong’s specially commissioned, site-specific film installation The Light That I Feel. Visitors are free to roam throughout the festival’s skeletal follies, which house an amphitheatre-style events space and bar. Restaurant Gildeskå is nestled within one of the small njallas—easily movable, hybrid structures somewhere between houses and tents—where visitors can stay after finding the perfect spot for a night spent at the beach.

While the celebratory launch ends on September 1, the opportunity to visit the structures—and rent a njalla for the night—remains, as SALT will be on the beach for another year. The founders see it as a “continuous arts diary” with its series of cultural experiences, indoors and outdoors, ranging from site-specific art installations to fireside storytelling and concerts to meditation programs. And soon SALT will be touring the northernmost parts of the globe with stops in Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Ireland, Scotland, Spitsbergen, and Alaska. “Every destination we visit we’ll be considering the local building traditions,” says Norby. “It’s about being inspired by older architectural traditions and bringing them into now.

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