- Year : 2018
Lead Architects : Cristian Stefanescu, Anna Anniksdal Vik, Sindre Wam
Text description provided by the architects. Black Box Theater, founded in 1985, inhabits an old chocolate factory within a rapidly changing neighborhood of Oslo. To accommodate its strong artistic identity, dedicated to programming contemporary and experimental performing arts from Norway and abroad, the old foyer and bar area are re-imagined as a flexible environment to additionally host performances, events, post-show talks, workshops, and art exhibitions. The project was initially built as a prototype, tested, and evolved over a one-year period in close dialogue with the Black Box team, before arriving at its final design.
The room’s surfaces are newly painted white to enhance the continuity and neutrality of the space - like a landscape after a snowfall - with a few exceptions where turquoise tiles and concrete patches earmark traces of previous use.
The existing variation of floor-to-ceiling heights naturally divides the otherwise single volume into three zones: a triple-height stepped entrance zone, a double-height center, and a single-height back-of-house and bar. Translucent floor-to-ceiling curtains are introduced at the border between each zone, a soft edge capable of dividing or joining the zones, with each zone populated by a collection of light, mobile structures, and furniture.
All interior elements derive from the transfiguration of materials and elements often found within theater and industry contexts: pipe-and-clamp systems form the ticket and technical booths and bar; perforated light filters transform into curtains; metal trolleys serve as tables and plant holders; while glass transport racks become high-backed benches.
Together, the curtains, mobile structures, and furniture allow a single person the ability to quickly and easily reconfigure the room from one setting to another - a polyvalent space as the future of contemporary theater.