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Piano at Oslo gallery opening: 'The white cube approach is wrong'

Renzo Piano has dismissed the ‘white cube’ approach to gallery design in a wide ranging talk to mark the opening of his £65million Astrup Fearnley Museet in Oslo

The 7,000m² project is formed of two main blocks split by a canal but covered by a swooping communal roof which dips down towards the water’s edge in the harbourside district of Tjuvholmen.

By being neutral you do not help art, you kill art

Explaining his reasons for using natural light to illuminate the galleries, which contain Norway’s most important collection of contemporary art, he said: ‘A building for art cannot be neutral. By being neutral you do not help art, you kill art. The white cube approach is wrong.’

He went on to describe his Oslo project, largely clad in Aspen timber planks, as a ‘happy building’ and ‘a place where art and the community can meet’.

Regarding the conceptual art which dominated the collection, he said: ‘I don’t always understand it but it’s not that bad…it creates a little mental disorder.’

The AJ will publish a building study of the project in October.


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