This project was initiated for my final presentation of the one year postmaster course “Of Public Interest“, lead by Jonas Dahlberg at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm in 2020. In the beginning, I had a much clearer idea of where I wanted it to go but it gradually found its own development and form, and today it should be seen as a work in progress. 

 

The research began in the area where my Studio is located in Stockholm because it was so accessible and familiar to me, especially during the beginning of the COVID crisis. The crisis also accentuated the importance of a public space accessible to all, a space without programming or commercial interests, simply a place to be. In the context of the quarantine, during the beginning of the Spring of 2020 being stuck in their apartments many people had nowhere to go in the commercial public space.  Cafes and restaurants felt dangerous and infected, and many places were closed. Many people found comfort in the simple pleasure of sitting in the sun on a public bench at a proper distance from each other. 

 

Having said this I would like to share this project with you that situates itself around a public bench in the industrial area of Hagalund, in Solna, a part of the greater Stockholm area. 



Hagalund in Space and Time


At the end of the 1800s in Old Hagalund, before Blåkulla, land was sold cheaply, and people built their own houses. Many of these people were craftsmen. On the site, a small “city” was built organically, with no political directives and no urban planning. This gave rise to a unique architecture and organization, and 6000 people lived there at its most populated moment. But Hagalund was regarded by the authorities as a township. In the 60’s and 70’s came the "Million Program” and housing needed to be built for a much larger part of the population. Hagalund was one of the chosen sites.  Old Hagalund was demolished and became what is today Blåkulla, and Hagalund industrial Area still exists just beside it.


During the transformation process of old Hagalund, a painter named Olle Olsson who had lived there all his life in a house built by his grandfather, succeeded in influencing public opinion. His intervention would lead to the preservation of a few houses from the old neighbourhood, including his own. Today this is known as the Olle Olsson Hagalund Museum. 

Hagalund Industrial Area

Hagalund Industrial Area which is next door to Hagalund, is soon to be torn down and remodeled to create 4500 housing units. In fact, the process has already started. The city of Stockholm is building a new subway line that will connect Hagalund to the city, which is to take 8 years to complete - see program here


An architect named Björn Johansson has written a thesis on the area and its transformation, and the proposal was completed some years ago. The central idea is to integrate the businesses together with the new housing and to preserve a large part of the industrial area with the intention of not pushing out all the small businesses and other operations running in the area and seeing if it possible to create a space where these can coexist and create a lively area. 

Liljevachls Hubb

In 2014 Liljevalchs, Humlegården Real Estate Agency (which owns most of the buildings in Hagalund and which has increased their investments in the area) and the city of Solna collaborated on the creation of Liljevalchs Hub, in old, rundown, unrentable office spaces. A studio complex for artists of various disciplines was born. It was inaugurated in the presence of the former minister of Culture, Madeleine Sjöstedt 


“The purpose of the project is to create broader contact areas between creative actors and the established cultural life in the Stockholm region, to bring about meetings between artistic practitioners and institutions as well as companies and organizations.”


Two years later, Liljevalchs pulled out of the project and let the artists take over the leases through an organization of their own which today is named Gelb Ateljéer.


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