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The Sea Library by ETAT / Erik Törnkvist & Malin Belfrage – Preview


Sure, the summer session of the Setouchi Triennale just ended, but the autumn session is less than a month away. The perfect time for starting previewing it with a short interview of Erik Törnkvist and Malin Belfrage who are going to tell us about their project The Sea Library that is located on Awashima, one of the new islands hosting the Setouchi Triennale for the first time:


Erik small
Erik Törnkvist
Malin small
Malin Belfrage

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Malin and Erik are both architects, living and working in Stockholm, Sweden. We work with architecture in a wide range of projects; public buildings, housing projects, private commissions, art-related projects and exhibition design and conservation.


2. How did you hear about the Setouchi Triennale? Did you attend the first one in 2010?

We found out about the Triennale in 2009, while on a study trip visiting Naoshima. We sent an application for the 2010 Triennale, but were not selected then. However, we applied again for the 2013 Triennale and our project was selected to be realised.


3. What made you want to take part in the 2013 edition?

We thought the Triennale would be an opportunity to develop some ideas we have had on small spaces, wooden architecture and the universal context of life by the Sea. We are very happy to be part of such an ambitious event and inspiring context. We are also interested in the Triennale as such, being a vehicle for revitalisation of the Seto Inland Sea region. Also, of course, the setting is fantastic.


4. Did you get to choose the location where your artwork will be shown? If yes, what guided your choice?

No, the site was chosen by the Triennale board, who thought our project would fit at Awashima.


5. What can you tell us about your upcoming work for the Triennale?

Our project, The Sea Library, will be located in the Awashima Marine Memorial Hall, a former Seamen’s school built in the 1920’s. The Sea Library will be a reading space and a collection of books thematically connecting to the Sea. The books in the library will be collected through a call for books among the Triennale visitors; to enter the library a visitor is asked to contribute with a book in the visitor’s native language. Thus, the library will consist of books in many different languages reminding of universal libraries in important sea ports, as the classic library in Alexandria. The project will include a refurbishment of a part of the building overlooking the harbour. In the architecture we emphasise materiality and spatial presence; juxtaposing the new additions with the existing old building.


The Sea Library model view

The Sea Library – Model View


More about ETAT / Erik Törnkvist & Malin Belfrage.


Exhibition design Bonniers kunsthalle



Roldal Norway_competition


Thank you Malin and Erik for this preview. I can’t wait to visit the Sea Library in October, and my copy of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea (in French of course) is ready for the library.


(all pictures were provided by Erik Törnkvist and Malin Belfrage and remain their property)



3 thoughts on “The Sea Library by ETAT / Erik Törnkvist & Malin Belfrage – Preview”

  1. This sounds really interesting. I look forward to seeing the photos and hearing about your experience. I have a book I can donate too, but I won’t be making it to the festival. 🙁

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