“In Norway it’s kind of hard not to be involved in the oil economy,” says Bjørn Gunnar Staal, a lead designer at Scandinavian Design Group. When drillers discovered an abundance of oil on the Norwegian continental shelf in 1969, it sparked an economic boom that’s lasted well into this century.
Over the years the government has re-invested wealth from petroleum back into the energy sector, into a massive welfare program, and, notably, into subsidies for young architects and designers. That’s now coming full circle, as Scandinavian Design Group, one of Norway’s oldest graphic design studios, has just created an interactive installation for Norway’s branch of Lundin Petroleum, Sweden’s largest oil company.
The installation went live at a Scandinavian energy conference. But when Lundin asked Scandinavian Design Group for a proposal for their booth, Staal proposed something that actually isn’t a booth at all: An undulating ceiling of honey-colored tubes that would rhythmically move in response to the visitors walking underneath. They’re calling it Breaking the Surface.