helen & hard: ratatosk
helen & hard: ratatosk helen & hard: ratatosk
jul 24, 2010

helen & hard: ratatosk

ratatosk is an installation by norwegian design firm helen and hard that is currently on display at 1:1 – architects build small spaces and the V&A museum in london. ‘ratatosk’ is an old norse word which means ‘drill-tooth’. it refers to an ancient squirrel from norse mythology that lived in a giant ash tree standing at the centre of the cosmos. the installation recalls british 18th-century garden folly and consists of five ash tress that has been split lengthways and planted face to face. the visitor walks through the trees with a hand-woven canopy of willow branches above. the trees were sourced from norway and carved using digital modeling and CNC milling. helen and hard’s principal designer reinhard kropf describes the concept, ‘the intention is really to trigger a lot of joyful and playful interactions. this kind of stimulation of the five senses but also of your fantasy and imagination has been our goal.’


image by pasi aalto (also main image)

image by pasi aalto

image by pasi aalto

image by pasi aalto

  • shame on you , you should have left the trees alive in the ground. they were much nicer in nature. This sculpture is just ugly, no playfulness. I don’t see the concept of sustainability here. These trees must be very very old and will serve here as a short term purpose.

    prancer says:
  • I completely agree with “prancer” here…

    It’s amazing that just by looking at an object with proper depth you can tell that it just isn’t “sustainable” at all, regardless of it’s design brief.

    This object is the same – insensitivity towards nature; just use of natural material.

    I wish you better luck next time.

    non-hype says:
  • I agree with the former comments. What is the intellectual depth of taking trees out of their ground, dissect them and install them for some weeks on a stone pavement?

    architect says:
  • This is like the tree equivalent to Gunther von Hagens, “Bodyworlds” except passe and unappealing.

    critic says:
  • not arguing against the lack of sustainability in cutting down trees regardless of how old… i think the playfulness is still pretty obvious, if not their priority. It resembles an exagerrated enchanted forest like one you might see in a children´s book.

    but I agree, such beautiful tree´s probably looked more at home around their friends.

    czarcasm says:
  • Why are trees so politically offensive when presented in raw form? Were it a minimalist pavilion, constructed of chestnut carefully planed and surfaced four sides, it would likely be commended as a sensitive and “sustainable” design.

    Presented as such, the eviscerated ash trees’ gnarled forms perfectly capture the Nordic imagination; evocative of Yyggdrasil, the world tree–giant trolls– even the bare twisted roots suggest Jormungand, the serpent constantly gnawing at the base of humanity. I think these raw organic tree forms speak far more poetically and viscerally than any square post ever could.

    tired of slatitecture says:

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