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Thúfa - Ólöf Nordal’s proposal chosen for HB Grandi site

Visual artist Ólöf Nordal was selected as the winner in the competition to provide an artwork for the southeast gable wall of the new HB Grandi cold store now under construction alongside the western side of the Reykjavík harbour entrance. Four artists had been short-listed to produce detailed proposals and as well as Ólöf Nordal, the artists participating were Olga Bergmann, Rúna Gísladóttir and Thór Vigfússon.

The competition results were announced by HB Grandi CEO Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson, who sat on the selection committee with production manager Torfi Thorsteinsson, architect Margrét Hauksdóttir who designed the new building, and Guðrún Vera Hjartardóttir and Ingi Rafn who represented the Association of Icelandic Visual Artists (SÍM), while Associated Icelandic Ports was represented by its board chairman Hjálmar Sveinsson as its adviser and Guðný Margrét Magnúsdóttir attended as the SÍM representative.

According to the committee, the proposed artwork consists of a grassy mound adjacent to the north wall by the Nordurgardur cold store. This measures eight metres high by 26 metres wide. At the top of the mound is a small drying shed where the artists expects fish can be dried. The drying shed is to be lit up at night. Steps are to be built into the mound to provide a spiral leading to the top.

According to the artist those choosing to climb to the top will be rewarded with the view from the summit and the drying shed will provide a focal point, while also she also said that the artwork is intended to merge seamlessly with the surrounding area and to become an integral part of the open space on the cold store’s east side.

The selection committee feels that the ideas behind the proposed artwork are strong and Thúfa has roots that lie deep in Icelandic culture while also mirroring the Icelandic landscape. The proposals are radical and unexpected, and Thúfa will undoubtedly attract the attention of both visitors and passers-by, while becoming one of the harbour district’s outstanding landmarks. Models demonstrate that Thúfa will be seen admirably from the harbour’s eastern arm, as well as Midbakki, Sudurbugt and Vesturbugt. Thúfan seeks its inspiration partly from the work of French architect Jean Nouvel.
Construction of the artwork will depend on close co-operation between the artist, the cold store’s architect and Associated Icelandic Ports. Thúfa will be in HB Grandi’s ownership, located in the planned outdoor space and under the supervision of Associated Icelandic Ports.

Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson commented that construction is expected to start in the near future, and added that all four proposals will be displayed in the foyer of the new cold store on Seamens’ Day on the 2nd of June. HB Grandi is one of the sponsors of the Festival of the Sea, and as usual, HB Grandi will be inviting staff and guests to visit the company’s premises at Nordurgardur. The intention is also to make full use of the occasion by taking the opportunity for the formal opening of the new cold store on the same occasion.