Moose, by Storalgen

Giant Moose, Sweden (Copyright Storalgen)
The big thing (Copyright Storalgen)

The local authorities in northern Sweden have granted permission to build a giant moose. The biggest ever, they say. So what’s next? The biggest pig, the biggest spider. O, no, we already got that one.

Art hardly gets bigger than architecture. Iconographic architecture, able to represent any image in our culture, therefore often applies the transformation of enlargement. Take for instance a lipstick. Or a bottle opener. Or a cow.

This literal enlargement of an image into architecture cannot simply be discarded as ‘low-culture’, as banal spectacle. We can start however to distinguish good and bad iconography. And this one, in my view, is not the best one.

Call me old-fashioned, but I feel that a certain abstraction is missing in the object. Why so literal? In a sense the Moose is quite comparable to the palm-islands in Dubai, as they both sell a tourist symbol. But then again the palms are abstracted, flat figures. Not three dimensional, literal copies.

Even more painstaking is the way one enters the moose. You have to enter an elevator hidden in a ‘tree’, and then walk through the mouth (!) of the moose into its belly, which will contain a restaurant en theatre-something for 350 guests. I suppose in the next phase someone adds an emergency exit under its tail!

It is not all bad. There is one clear virtue: The moose. Or ‘Elk’ as they call the animal in Sweden. The moose is a beautiful symbol for the northern countries, and especially Sweden.

It was in Sweden that they invented the moose-test for cars – a test in which you have to quickly slalom your vehicle around an obstacle (a moose on the road). It tripped the first Mercedes A-class, and the first Smart. In a cynic view this new building is the biggest moose-test of the world. A new Mecca for car enthusiasts.

After Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s duck, here is the moose.

Brought to you by Storalgen.

Giant Moose, Sweden (Copyright Storalgen)
From a distance (Copyright Storalgen)

Giant Moose, Sweden (Copyright Storalgen)
Surrounded by… trees (Copyright Storalgen)

Giant Moose, Sweden (Copyright Storalgen)
A giant moose (Copyright Storalgen)

Giant Moose, Sweden (Copyright Storalgen)
Look out from the antlers (Copyright Storalgen)

Giant Moose, Sweden (Copyright Storalgen)
Looking around (Copyright Storalgen)

Giant Moose, Sweden (Copyright Storalgen)
And around (Copyright Storalgen)

Related national symbols: Tulip, by Innavatieplatform 2, Maple Leaf, by West 8

Related ‘experience’: Corpus

The project is added to the Architects and Representation pages.

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