House of Day House of Night

in collaboration with Maria Mengel/VAERK-STED

Invited competition for Roskilde Counsil sensory installations for the new Børnekulturhuset at Algade 31 in Roskilde.

A home is comfort. It is the joy of recognizability when we find our own door among the many unknown.
A home is cosiness. There are bedtime stories under the duvet, Friday candy and mom’s meatballs. The proposal is based on this duality and the alternation between outside and inside: the home as the familiar and the foreign.

Algade 31 was once a residence. A home for the steward of the monastery and his family. In the proposal, the house has shrunk and moved into the old living rooms. In one room you are met by the recognizable figure of the house. In the second room, the house is upside down.

HOUSE OF DAY: In the first room you meet a house and a landscape. The outside of the house is a scale model of the entire monastery steward’s residence – A house in the house. The children recognize the house, but there is something wrong – everything is too small, the doors and windows are just small mouse holes – where do you get in and what are some strange mechanical sounds and a mysterious colored light that penetrates? The children have to explore and climb a landscape to get inside. A walk that takes them up the window sill and all the way around the house, down a flight of stairs and inside.

Here they meet from a whole other world. The inside of the house is lined with shopping bags in all the colors of the rainbow – and there is a smell of popcorn. The bags are full of popcorn, but you can not touch or see them only feel them through the bags. Shopping bags from the supermarkets are very much a part of our home. We recognize all the logos. They remind us of everyday life and of everything we bring into our homes. Inside the house, the bags together form a beautiful, fragrant rug of colors, patterns and letters.
But bags are also a big problem in our world. The home is a consumer machine – we use and throw away – the shopping bags are also used to carry rubbish and packaging out of our house again. They testify to over-consumption and pollution and invite reflection and conversation about the way we live.

HOUSE OF NIGHT: In its purest form, a home is the place we sleep. The night is at least as important as the day. If the day stands for all the ordinary, recognizable and the routines, then the night stands for the dreamy, the crooked and the strange. It is the security of the duvet, the pillow, the teddy bear and dad’s goodnight story that paves the way into the world of dreams, the land of the unknown, the insecure, where everything we know is messed around, enlarged and turned upside down.

In this room, the children also meet the familiar facade / “face” of the convent steward’s residence, but now the house is upside down! They can look in through tiny holes in the facade, but they have to find a way in themselves by running downstairs and around the house. Once they have found their way in, they encounter an inside lined with mattresses and duvets, and the inverted roof of the house forms a soft bowl, valley or double slide. The children can tumble and cuddle and peek through small openings in the lining. When they lie in the soft inner roof space and look up, it feels like lying up in the ceiling and looking down towards the floor, where a small bedside table with night light hangs and lights up. Here, gravity and scale are put out of play, just like in the world of dreams.