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Norwegian sculpture park does the Twist with Bjarke Ingels extension

Kistefos's dramatic new exhibition gallery also functions as a panoramic bridge

The Twist at Kistefos bridges the north and south sides of the sculpture park, across the Randselva river Photo: Laurian Ghinitoiu/Kistefos Museum

Kistefos, the Norwegian private museum and largest sculpture park in northern Europe, has opened a dramatic new extension designed by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group. The new building—named The Twist after its curved form—crosses the Randselva river to connect the north and south sides of the existing complex.

“Our proposal for a new art museum acts like a second bridge in the sculpture park, forming a continuous loop across both riverbanks,” says architect Bjarke Ingels. At a total cost of £18.5m, The Twist functions as an exhibition space and a panoramic platform to view the surrounding landscape. The exhibition programme kicks off with a pairing of works by Howard Hodgkin and Martin Creed (Hodgkin and Creed: Inside Out, 18 September-17 November).

Founded in 1996 by the Norwegian businessman and art collector Christen Sveaas and located 80km north of Oslo, Kistefos occupies the former site of the family wood pulp business, established by Sveaas’s grandfather 130 years ago. Kistefos comprises an industrial museum, preserving the original and fully intact 19th-century pulp mill, exhibition galleries and a sculpture park with site-specific works by Tony Cragg, Anish Kapoor, Marc Quinn and Lynda Benglis, among others.

“Kistefos was in great need of a new and modern building in order to be able to host attractive exhibitions of contemporary art,” Sveaas says. “The basis for future exhibitions will be my extensive collection of international contemporary art, which includes more than 1,000 works by artists including Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, Christopher Wool, Ed Rusha and Damien Hirst.”

The goal is to attract 100,000 visitors to the complex in 2020. “In our best year we had 50,000 visitors, so it’s a bold statement, but based on our experience from similar cases we believe it’s realistic,” says the outgoing director of Kistefos, Egil Eide. (His successor Birgitte Espeland is due to take up her appointment on 1 November.)