Out of Context / Matter Space Structure

Gabriel Danielsson

The Hall of the Mountain King

Hand painted illuminated hybrid drawing.

This project is the creation of several visionary images of grand rooms carved out of the context of a mountain. The starting point for the project was the fictional setting of the Hall of the Mountain King, and befitting a king, I chose the site of Skansen Kronan in Gothenburg.


Since the topic of this studio is Out of Context, I decided that this project should adhere to the theme by both being carved out of the context of the site and by deriving the design from elements that I could find on the site. I used the shape of tree trunks for columns, mushrooms for the shape of the inner ceiling and pine needles as both decorative elements, pillars and railings. However I did not only limit myself to the natural elements of the site as inspiration for the design but I also expanded the design field to include music.

The musical piece In the Hall of the Mountain King, by Edward Grieg, was of course the first and most obvious starting point. Here I converted the musical phrases to forms by drawing the form that certain tone frequencies generated from so called Chladni plates. The phenomena that frequencies of sound give rise to a pattern is attributed to first have been observed by physisist Ernst Chladni (1756-1827) in his experiment of acoustics. He distributed sand across a metal plate and had it vibrate at a specific frequency, thus producing a pattern. In my design I created a simplified non-chromatic translation of Edward Grieg’s music and used it as the pattern for the floor tiles in the entrance lobby.

Entrance lobby with a ceiling reminiscent of the underside of mushrooms.

The source of music as inspiration for design was something that I used in the creation of other rooms as well. For example the characteristics of Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird – the Infernal Dance and The Planets by Gustav Holst was a great source of inspiration for the aesthetics of the grand concert hall.

Grand Concert Hall
Entrance to the Concert Hall

For the creation of the staircase and the antechamber I used floral elements and pine needles as a design element. The shape of the ramp leading up to the entrance to the balconyis designed by taking inspiration from the shape of the cow parsley flower.

Stairs leading down to the antechamber
Second floor of the antechamber with oculus
Ramp leading up to the balcony

In line with the theme, I also created a hybrid drawing. Here I not only made a hybrid by superimposing a drawing of the inner ceiling on the floor, but also in aesthetics and design story.

During the middle ages, and to a great extent until the wide use of the printing press, manuscript making was sometimes intertwined with the ancient art practice of illumination. This was the embellishment of books by illustrations and the application of precious metals – mostly gold leaf. Since this was both costly in terms of material and of the extremely time consuming process of creation, it was, for the most part, reserved for the church and the aristocracy. Since the theme of my design is the Hall of the Mountain King, such a cultural tradition was suitable to create a hybrid drawing.

Illuminated drawing of the entrance lobby

I composed the borders of the Chladni pattern for Edward Grieg’s famous musical piece and illustrated the section cut with roots to show the design inspiration. The miniture illustrations in the corners (measuring 1,2 x 1,2cm) also depicts drawings of the various natural elements that I used for the design: mushrooms, pine seed pods and maple leafs.