Einar Aslaksen, Rio Gandara / Helsingin Sanomat, MJC
Future Library is a work of art that unfolds over a hundred years from 2014 to 2114. Each year, an author is invited to write a text that will not be read until an anthology of the 100 texts is published in 2114. The manuscripts are kept in a specially designated room on the top floor of Deichman Bjørvika. An area of Nordmarka, the forest immediately north of Oslo, was put at the artist’s disposal. First, the trees were cut down in accordance with the forest’s natural regeneration process, to be used for the construction of the designated room for the manuscripts. Then, a thousand new trees were planted, to be cut down in a hundred years (2114) and used to make paper for the anthology. Every year an author is invited out to the forest to participate in an annual ceremony in which the title of the work is announced, and the text is handed over to the art project.
We were given the task of designing the room for the manuscripts in close collaboration with the artist.
The construction of the room consists of a hundred layers of carefully stacked wood pieces. A narrow passage creates a transition and distance to the rest of the library. This allows the visitor to adapt to the light and atmosphere of the small room. Inside, the walls become a bench, inviting you to rest and reflect. Each layer of wood contains a drawer that will eventually hold a manuscript. The fronts of the drawers are made of handcast glass that lets light from inside the drawer into the room, so that the lighting of the room comes from the manuscript drawers and emphasizes that the texts are the soul of the room.
The artwork was developed for Deichman by commission from Bjørvika Utvikling and is supported by the Municipality of Oslo. The Future Library Trust selects and invites the authors and sustains the artwork for its century-long duration.