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Jakob Holmqvist & Rasmus Strange
Working title: 1258 ROOMS - 924 VACANT
The world's ecosystems are under constant pressure. Habitats are being destroyed and relocated to meet man's increased need for more food, oil and space for cities.
All this is happening at the expense of the world's oceans, species and forests. As habitats deteriorate, the fine network of ecosystems deteriorates so drastically that the living conditions of the species become so fatal that they either become extinct or become severely endangered. The negative spiral calls for an increased awareness of how rapid and all-encompassing this situation is. And above all: how we can stop and change it.
In Denmark, we have a 'red list assessment' of the species found in Danish nature. Here, each species is assessed in relation to the level of threat, where a distinction is made between 'viable' and 'regionally extinct, critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable and almost endangered'. A species is thus' red-listed 'if it falls outside the' viable 'category'.
Goal 15_rasmus and jakob 2.jpg
Goal 15_rasmus and jakob.jpg

Photo: Sketch by Jakob Holmqvist & Rasmus Strange. Copyright

Photo: Sketch by Jakob Holmqvist & Rasmus Strange. Copyright


The work is based on the group of pollinating insects: bees, day butterflies and night butterflies. Their pollination is absolutely central to the well-being of ecosystems and also makes them particularly vulnerable, which is why bees and day butterflies in particular are under pressure. This is largely due to monoecology, pesticides, habitat destruction, and hence shortages of nesting and overwintering.

The total number of assessed species of bees, day and night butterflies, is 1258. 924 (73.5%) are viable, but 350 (27.5%) are red-listed.


The work consists of two parallel walls, stacked of oak timber, leaning against each other. Each wall is pierced with 1258 holes - one hole for each species. Here the light can shine through and an insect can live or overwinter. 350 of the holes are plugged with one rod - one rod for each of the red-listed species. Here no insects can live or light can flow through.


From a distance, the sculpture appears as a tall monolith - but the closer you get, the more the many small holes and dwellings reveal themselves with their sum from the insects. The steel rods protrude dangerously out of the monolith, penetrating the work. The surface of the oak appears angular and tactile created by CNC milling in rough grooves reminiscent of the insects' organic habitats.


The passage swarms with the buzz of insects and visually with the rods representing the extinct and endangered species. The narrow passage is characterized by the light that shines through the uninhabited insect nests, at special times of the day. The walls slope slightly inwards, so the space between the high walls feels a bit claustrophobic - it is barely wide enough for two people to pass each other. The ground between the walls is lowered a bit to highlight the feeling of stepping out of human reality and into the territory of the insects. The size of the monolith makes you feel small, almost like an insect.


The passage is shady in the morning and evening, when the sun's rays penetrate the insect's nest. At noon, the passage from the south is illuminated - where the sun's rays are reflected in the transverse bars. Potentially, the entire sculpture would be filled with rods if all the species disappeared, and the interior of the passage would no longer be permeated by light.


However, as the sculpture appears at present, the sculpture is still a living insect hotel, which by virtue of providing space for the species, will actively contribute to the biodiversity of the area. Here, for example, night herons, moths and some kinds of butterflies can live. They pollinate plants and eventually become themselves for food. It contributes to increased biodiversity and points to the feasibility of helping species along the way. 

Jakob Holmqvist (1988) and Rasmus Strange (1989) are an architectural partnership that testifies to a thorough and experienced spatial awareness with a concrete background in architecture. With the work, they have shown that they can think big and abstract in a very concrete design.


Jakob Holmqvist & Rasmus Strange

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