Life on a Leaf – a total work of art

Have you ever wondered why among all these millions of box shaped buildings, you will never see a house shaped like a shoe, a flower or a leaf?


This is the question, which set out artist Jan-Erik Andersson on a long and adventurous journey to build his own leaf shaped house in the middle of Turku city in Finland. The house project, called Life on a Leaf, is also the art part of Andersson’s studies for a doctorate degree in visual arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki.


The light design in the house is inspired by the manager of AD LUX, Ilkka Pekanheimo’s ideas about using full spectrum light sources and indirect light. All lights, except from the installion in the dining room with 26 retro lamps from the 60:ties and 70:ties, are Viva-Lite full spectrum flourescent lights, many of them dimmable.


Andersson is exploring the possibilities of building a personal house, shaped like a leaf, as a total art work. He is interested in the way stories, written by Andersson himself, can influence the shape, the ornaments and the interior of the house.


The aesthetics of the house is departing from the Art Nouveau concept about the house as a shelter for an individual soul, opposed to the modernist concept of the house as machine for living. Can a house both be functional and fantastic, can we use contemporary computer technology to create ornaments with a meaning which stimulate people of today? Can a house, which you can live and work in, at the same time have the quality of a sculpture. How can the site’s own history inspire the new building? And is it possible to achieve all this within a decent budget?


The project also registers how the society reacts. How much personal freedom do the society give to a person, who wants to make his own dream in a world obsessed with so many regulations and restrictions?


Andersson also seeks answers to questions about the role of the architect. Can the architect function as a servant, who realizes people’s dreams, or is the architect still the person who decides what is ”good taste” or not. Life on a leaf is a collaboration between Andersson and architect Erkki Pitkäranta. As a result of ten years of collaboration they work seamlessly, throwing ideas back and forth, making stories, building small scale models and having fun.


For more information, please visit the homepage of Jan-Erik Andersson…


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