Four Boxes Gallery
Four Boxes Gallery is a building that is quintessentially Japanese, yet also strangely oversized and villa-like, as it extends the built vocabulary of the school with its clear-cut concrete edges.
Af Kirsten Kiser
The Four Boxes Gallery is located on the green lawn of Krabbesholm College, between the white-washed facades of the Craftsmen’s School and the red brick Idé-Pro factory.
Like an upwardly striving bento box in which each individual room has grown out of the whole, the building supplements the creative workshops, residential facilities and common rooms of Krabbesholm by adding long-awaited exhibition facilities to the complex.
The building was named the Four Boxes Gallery because of its layout. Outdoor galleries and a large indoor gallery make up the two lower boxes, the third box is a smaller exhibition room in the middle, the fourth box a private workshop area for artists in residency at the top. Both students from the school and invited artists will exhibit their works.
In Japan, a dinner of rice and fish/meat is called a bento meal. This is not served on a traditional dish, but in a “bento box” designed specifically for the meal. A bento box with individual compartments for different ingredients is available both as a cheap mass-produced product and as an exclusive example of fine craftsmanship. Characteristically to both low-cost and the expensive bento boxes, are the compartments’ mutual relationship, where smaller and bigger spaces supplements each other and together form a tempting frame for the meal.
Just like an actual bento box, the Four Boxes Gallery endeavors to present its contents as elegantly as possible by adopting a simple structure. The objective was not to design a signature building that craves attention, but rather to provide optimal settings for exhibiting art. And like the best bento boxes, the building is a remarkable and beautiful work of art in its own right, despite the focus on content.
The following quote is from an interview by Architects Rikke Lequick Larsen and Tanja Jordan in the book “Four Boxes Gallery” available at Krabbesholm:
The building was initially referred to as a workshop, which suggests an unfinished space in the sense that ongoing work is constantly transforming the architecture. Our intention with the building was to expose and present the process of creating. We will be pleased if our building is read and used independently by its users, because our aim is for the subject to define the building autonomously. However, that does not in any way make this public building private. It is in fact a building that should be brought to life by its collective use. I truly believe that we created a building that is simple, powerful and suitable in its context.
— Momoyo Kaijima, Atelier Bow-Wow