by Jincy IypeNov 10, 2023
As conversations around inclusivity gain a surge, in discussions, discourses, analyses, and mediations, of both formal and informal nature, it is important to expand its scope. It is important to include and consider not only all factions from the human race but also non-human entities from nature that are sentient and that help sustain life. An excellent example of this is set by Eide Fjordbruk, a family-run seafood company that operates in the fjords of Hardangerfjord, Osterfjord, Fensfjord and Nordfjord, in Norway. Eide Fjordbruk has, for the past 45 years, sustained aquaculture ecosystems that summon the food production traditions practised in the region since the 17th century. In an attempt to educate the common public about sustainable aquaculture practices, the company commissioned the construction of the Salmon Eye visitor centre in 2019. Envisioned by Copenhagen-based design firm Kvorning Design, the ovoid-shaped stainless steel pavilion, completed in 2022, floats on Hardangerfjord in Vestland county, Norway. Its facade bears semblance to the iridescent skin of salmons, and its form is inspired by the shape of the fish’s eye, hence the name Salmon Eye.
The visitor centre aims to educate guests about aquaculture, its production techniques, and the net footprint—delineating its negative and positive counterparts—left behind by seafood production. It intends to inspire discourses around the future of salmon farming and the repercussions of its over-farming. Eide Fjordbruk has been at the forefront of developing highly sustainable salmon farming practices and was the first fish farming company to share environmental reports on the subject. They were also the first to produce carbon-neutral salmon. The pavilion is envisioned as a space for platforming evolving discourses on aquaculture practices and ways of feeding the planet.
Arne Kvorning, CEO of Kvorning Design, shares, “I am convinced that the floating aquaculture information centre and art installation will be setting new standards for sustainable aquaculture in every aspect. Design, interaction, research, technology, and immersive experiences. I am extremely thrilled to experience how the initial ideas are intact.” Referring to the Danish studio’s collaboration with Eide Fjordbruk, she adds, “It has been fantastic to design the floating pavilion together with such a trustful, ambitious and visionary entrepreneur like Sondre Eide, the Eide family, and the dedicated team at Eide Fjordbruk who believed in the idea and envisioned its full potential from the very beginning three years ago.”
Kvorning Design is a Denmark-based firm that specialises in designing experiences for museums, parks, and world heritage sites. Driven by the desire of narrating stories that are guided by an understanding of design, architecture, and scenography, the firm builds the vision for each project after devoting sufficient time towards the research and analysis of contexts, clients and users pertaining to each new project. This knack of designing an experience that beckons visitors from afar is resoundingly apparent in the Salmon Eye, which floats effortlessly on a fjord.
At a time when millions of tons of marine debris—a major part of which comprises plastic waste—continues to pollute water bodies across all regions in the world, an information centre pivoted on educating the population about better ways to maintain a clean aquatic environment, is a welcome infrastructural addition. Apart from serving as a centre of learning, the pavilion, located just outside Rosendal, doubles as an art installation worthy of being admired from afar. Its interiors are divided into four vertical levels, welcoming visitors to engage in immersive experiences designed specifically for understanding and learning about better ways of sustaining a rich aquatic ecosystem. Although stationed on a 100-metre deep fjord, the pavilion does not come in direct contact with the flora and fauna inhabiting the water body, and hence, poses no threat to its inhabitants.
Enunciating the focus laid on delivering a sustainable design for the pavilion, Arne Kvorning shares, “The entire Salmon Eye concept is in general based on sustainable principles. It is focused around the narrative about providing sustainable seafood for the future, and choice of materials and the entire design concept has been concentrated on following up on that concept. The pavilion has been constructed using conventional materials that has a long lifetime, which of course is key for a pavilion floating on water. The whole construction has also been focused on a minimum of maintenance over the years.”
The pavilion is stationed near one of Eide Fjordbruk’s floating fish farming facilities, hence facilitating the scope for visitors to experience both locations at the same time. “The concept of positioning Salmon Eye directly on water was a natural choice. We would place the information about the fish farming activities as close to the floating facilities and nets as possible, so visitors can get access to it all as part of one single visitor experience. Bringing visitors on a one-trip-experience is also part of the sustainable thinking,” Kvorning asserts.
In order to retain the charm that the beautiful town of Rosendal holds, collaborators on the project kept the pavilion out of sight from the harbour of the Norwegian village. To reach the pavilion, one has to get on an electric ferry managed by Eide Fjordbruk. All pieces of equipment, meals, additional paraphernalia and garbage are carried to and from the pavilion using electric ferries.
The interiors of the structure include a theatre in the basement, meant for the introduction of the experience designed for the visitors before they ascend through the pavilion. Visitors are transported up and down on spiralling ramps while they view the immersive interiors, the event venue, and changing experiences. “Salmon Eye is designed as flexible as possible with information surfaces based on a combination of hand-held devices, tables, and video projections on the curved walls. The programming of the space is an ongoing process over the next years and will be revealed by the owners, piece by piece. But Salmon Eye provides information about sustainable aquaculture for smaller and larger groups, conferences, events, and meetings,” shares Kvorning, explaining the design of the pavilion, meant to change its personality in the coming times.
Name: Salmon Eye
Location: In the Hardangerfjord at Hågardsneset just outside Rosendal, Norway
Area: 1,000.6 square meters
Height: 14.55 m spanning 4 levels (above and below the water). Located above 300 m depth, designed and built to withstand over 4 m waves
Weight: 1,256 tons
Year of completion: 2022
Architecture and experience design: Kvorning Design, Denmark
AV: Creative Technology Norway
Contractor AS: Fluctus, Norway
Fabrication: Marketex Marine, Estonia
Salmon Eye was unveiled in Hardangerfjord, Norway, on September 2, 2022.