KPC, LINK Arkitektur, Sweco and SLA

Aarhus, Denmark


Kvadrat Acoustics solution comprising Soft Cells Aesthetic panels featuring a special Art-Work textile, which forms part of a location-specific artwork.

Brian Buchard

Head in the clouds

A dreamy location-specific artwork by artist Nanna Debois Buhl now installed at Steno Diabetes Center (SCDA) in Aarhus integrates a custom Kvadrat Acoustics solution. The artwork Drifting Clouds works to elevate acoustic quality and promote wellbeing and wonder at the Danish healthcare venue.

The artwork incorporates ten custom Soft Cells acoustic panels, which act as large tapestries and are covered with a digitally woven jacquard textile featuring photographs of drifting clouds. A screen showing an everchanging, computer-generated poem about clouds complements these two expansive elements.

Located in the foyer and the lounge, the Soft Cells panels are up to seven metres tall and installed on the walls using magnets.

Drifting Clouds is based on the landscape around the Forum building and the sky above. The photos of clouds were taken by Nanna Debois Buhl at the site, anchoring the work in time and place. They embody a central motif underlying the piece: connections between human bodies and cloud formations, water drops and weather systems, daydreams, and data streams, past and future.

Curiously, Drifting Clouds explores the meeting between the analogue and the digital on several levels: in the making of the photographs, in the translation from photograph to fabric, in the computer-generated text, as well as in the histories of weaving, photography and computer technology. The history of the computer has close parallels with binary principles behind jacquard weaving.

Nanna Debois Buhl: “In the weaving workshop, I collaborated with Kvadrat’s skilled staff to transform my cloud motifs to woven textiles. The aim was not to reproduce the photographs exactly, but rather to embrace the transformations that weaving would add to the work. In the process, it was stunning to see how the colours of the woven fabric took on a depth of their own, and how the materiality of the textile gave the work a whole new tactility.”

A donation from the Novo Nordisk Foundation made it possible for Steno Diabetes Center Aarhus to establish a new diabetes centre in the Forum building at Aarhus University Hospital. Once opened, it will provide treatment to children, young people and adults in a pleasant environment that has more in common with a hospitality venue than a traditional hospital.