Hidden to the Eye

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0 min

Transcription

Narrator:

Sometimes beauty is hidden in the details. At first glance, you might not notice that there are fossil shells in the limestone flooring in the reception area. And you also might not notice that all the thousands of stone slabs are spaced exactly nine millimetres apart. 

The National Museum has a floor area of 55,000 square metres – that’s about the same as eight football pitches. The building is full of secrets and clever solutions that are invisible to most of its visitors. 

For example, did you know that the National Museum has been designed so that it is future-proofed against climate change? 

Approximately 14 metres beneath the ground on which the museum stands, there are not only large sewage tunnels, but also the road tunnels that feed onto the E18 Highway, as Jon Geir Placht, the National Museum’s project director, explains. 

Jon Geir Placht:

So the basement floors of this building have been anchored into the rock above the tunnels. They’ve been built like a reverse aquarium, in case the water level rises. 

Narrator:

When you arrived at the museum, you probably entered through the vestibule on Floor 1. And if you’re standing there and wondering where to go, you may be looking up at the information boards on the wall. If you look carefully, you may notice that none of these boards are fixed to the wall using screws. 

Jon Geir Placht:

Things hang from slots in the ceiling, so that we can avoid drilling into the stone walls and wooden wall panels. All the technical infrastructure such as data and power cabling is housed in concealed installations. The architects have seen this as extremely important, and now we at the museum also see that this gives excellent results. 

Narrator:

The National Museum needs to be able to transport artworks that may be large, tall or long. The artworks must be able to be taken directly from the loading ramps and into the two large artwork elevators.  

Jon Geir Placht:

Into which we can ... drive a car, if that’s the thing that we’re going to transport.  

In relation to the other gallery spaces, this is an extremely large exhibition area. And we also arranged to have a super-sized sun-roof installed, so that extra large objects can be winched in using a crane. 

Narrator:

The roof has been constructed so that it can bear heavy loads, explains Ragna Jakobsen, senior exhibition designer at the museum.

Ragna Jakobsen:

You can suspend five-hundred kilos from each of the suspension points welded into the roof structure. For example, you might have a sculpture that you want to hang from the ceiling. 

The Light Hall is divided into three parts, and the central section is specially equipped for the use of water, as some artists use water or other forms of liquid in their work. 

Narrator:

There are details everywhere that are invisible to the naked eye. From the façade, which is fitted with alarm sensors and has such a thick wall that you wouldn’t be able to drive a tank through it, to the glass cases used to display the museum’s artefacts. 

Bård Sandbæk works for Statsbygg and has collaborated with the National Museum on purchasing all the display cases for the exhibition rooms. All the cases are fitted with security glass and the thickest type will tolerate heavy blows. 

Bård Sandbæk:

Breaking through it would take twelve minutes of forceful blows with a sledgehammer. And someone would most likely notice that something was going on. 

Narrator:

The display cases are also constructed to tolerate seismic disturbances, such as earthquakes. 

Bård Sandbæk:

Because that can be catastrophic. A Ming vase that slowly but surely moves on its plinth. 

Narrator:

Often the display cases are fitted with laminated glass – layers of glass that have been glued together. 

Bård Sandbæk:

The layering is impossible to see. But it completely changes how the light is reflected and refracted, and the colour you see. And it’s important for how you perceive the object inside. 

Narrator:

Bård Sandbæk will never look at a display case in the same way as before.

Bård Sandbæk:

Now I’m just as interested in looking at the display cases and how they look within a museum as I am in the artworks. Because now I know how much lies behind the appearance of the case.  

And how it should function. And how it should perform over a long period. And how well built it actually is. So one becomes a bit of a ‘display case junkie’ after being involved with this type of project.