Dezeen Magazine

Close up of the pavilion's timber roof and hemp wings

Studio AX aims to highlight potential of biomaterials with Danish fairytale-informed pavilion

Architecture practice Studio AX has showcased the potential of biomaterials with a timber and hemp pavilion at Chart Art Fair, which is captured in this video created as part of the Dezeen x Chart Art Fair 2022 collaboration.

Designed by Jack O'Hagan and Bex Browne of Studio AX, the pavilion at Chart Art Fair was named Elisa and the 11 Swans.

It aims to evoke Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale The Wild Swans, where the protagonist, Elisa, has to knit 11 jumpers to save her brothers.

Studio AX designed a pavilion for this year's Chart Art Fair

The pavilion was designed to spark curiosity about the origins and stories behind biomaterials and how they interact with natural, cultural and economic landscapes, in a bid to make users contemplate the value and possibilities of natural materials.

The protagonist, Elisa, is represented by a spruce timber A-frame, which forms the bar counter and its canopy. The structure has been designed in a way that enables easy disassembly and reassembly.

The timber used has been sourced from a forest near Aarhus using responsible forestry methods to ensure the longevity of the land.

Timber A-frame pavilion with hemp wings in courtyard
The pavilion was informed by Danish fairytale The Wild Swans

The pavilion features 11 knitted hemp "wings" symbolising the 11 jumpers, which hang from the timber arms. Fabric knitted from nettle fibres and seaweed collected from the Danish coastline have also been used in the fabrication of the pavilion.

Hemp was selected for the wings due to its fast-growing and regenerative properties, as well as its effect on soil.

Close up of timber A-frame of pavilion
The pavilion features a spruce timber A-frame to create the canopy and bar counter

The designers suggest that the use of biomaterials such as hemp could transform Danish agriculture and make us evaluate material choices in the production of food and materials:

"The properties of the hemp plant could potentially narrate a transformation of the Danish agricultural landscape," said the designers.

"The use of Danish biomaterials for this pavilion allows us to trace these narratives from seed to product, thereby questioning our material choices."

Eye level view of timber and hemp pavilion with guests using bar
The pavilion is made from timber, hemp and seaweed sourced locally

The pavilion was designed to encompass a bar, where guests can interact with the structure by pulling on the strings to control the wings above other guests across the bar.

It was built as part of Chart Art Fair's annual architecture competition, which invited proposals set to the theme of bio architecture this year to provoke a discussion surrounding the symbiotic relationship between architecture and nature.

Close up of the pavilion's timber roof structure and hemp wings
11 wings made from hemp hang down above the bar counters

The five pavilions were selected by a jury of architects and design specialists including BIG founder Bjarke Ingels, Snøhetta co-founder Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, speculative designer Pleun van Dijk, curator Maria Foerlev, author Ditte Lysgaard Vind and Johanne Hestvold, who will choose an overall winner at the end of the fair.

Also displayed at Chart Art Fair is Dune, a greenhouse-like pavilion that encloses Danish sand and plants to create a "dynamic ecosystem" and a wooden pavilion with a seaweed roof that explores the structural potential of carbon-capturing technologies.

Now in its 10th year, Chart Art Fair is an annual event comprising exhibitions, talks, performances, music and book fairs, bringing together art enthusiasts, design professionals and collaborators.

The photography is by Joakim Züger/Barks Projects.

Chart Art Fair takes place from 26 to 28 August 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

Partnership content

This article was written as part of a partnership with Chart Art Fair. Find out more about our partnership content here.