Empty Spaces in Ljusne [January, 2016]

Tomma rum in Ljusne 2015

[Disused Factory in Ljusne. Photos: Erik Sjödin]

Tomma rum (Empty Spaces) is a Swedish platform for cultural and artistic exchange. Almost every summer they arrange an art residency in a smaller town or village in Sweden. Summer 2015 Tomma rum was in Ljusne, situated next to the river Ljusnans outlet in the Baltic sea.

Ljusne has a long tradition of wood and iron industry, but since the 1970’s the industries have gradually shut down. Because of the loss of jobs many people have left the town. Today the population is slightly less than two thousand, about half of when it peaked in the 1960’s.

During my stay at Tomma rum in Ljusne I made a first prototype for a multifunctional furniture that resembles a small wood stove. The furniture was made using the towns school wood workshop out of wood found at a disused factory in Ljusne.

The factory once produced prefab houses and windows. After the manufacturing moved out, in the 2000’s, the building was used as a carpentry shop by Ljusnestiftelsen who arranged activities for unemployed in Ljusne. It is abandoned now and will eventually be demolished.

The wood stove furniture prototype was exhibited in the exhibition venue for Tomma rum, a former power station that has been remade into an art space by the organisation Konstkraft (Art Power). Not being satisfied with the prototype other than as a prototype I eventually burned it up. Since then I’ve made another prototype which is closer to what I’m looking for. Eventually I hope to set a final form and maybe turn it into a product. However, the final design has to be done in collaboration with a wood workshop with a CNC milling machine or a skilled carpenter, so it might take a while to get it done.