Long a part of Scandinavian folklore, nisse, as they're called in Denmark and Norway, or tomte (as they're known in Swedish), are elfin creatures in pointy red hats that help around the house and bring good fortune to the human population.
Today, they're usually associated with Christmas, but at one time, they were part of everyday life. This holiday season, the Danish architectural firm JA-JA, examines the pragmatic issues of living with the Nisse, using fourteen whimsical snow globes as their medium.
Each globe explores the way in which two populations of disparate statures can peacefully and pleasingly co-exist, side-by-side, in and amongst each other. The microcosms look at combining architectural functions, layering the use of outdoor space and integrating varying levels of accessibility to common areas.
1. Housing Bridge – A pass-gaping home for the Nisse acts as a foot bridge for the humans.
2. Bike Park – Human bike storage is camouflaged with hilly outdoor space for the Nisse.
3. Xmas Bar – A sinuous change in levels accommodates humans and nisse alike, allowing for full integration of the two populations within a festive, holiday environment.
4. Harbor Bath – The more the merrier, as nisse and humans alike enjoy a snowy swim together.
5. Double House – A dual purpose home, scaled for humans on one end and for nisse on the other.
Ultimately, these are intellectualized snow globes used to interpret a modern, mythical, pixie landscape. But I find the implications in building for diverse populations fascinating! And who doesn't love a snow globe??
For more information and a slideshow of all fourteen snow globes, visit JA-JA Architects.
Images: JA-JA Architects