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In a different light - the Norwegian center for design and architecture (DogA)

Opened in 2005, DogA was established by Norsk Form together with the Norwegian Design Council as a meeting place, resource centre and exhibition facility for design and architecture. This historic building originally housed a transformer station that supplied much of Oslo with its electricity for the first half of the 20th century. Now the building supplies energy of a different type, with creativity always on display.

 Tradition Meets Today
The building at Hausmanns Gate 16 in Oslo was renovated in order to house DogA and the result is impressive. DogA consists of Norsk Form, the Norwegian Design Council, a conference centre, an exhibition space of 400m2, the Elvebredden Café, and the DogA Gift Shop, all setting the stage for communication and creative synergies in this unique building.
As part of the planning process to recreate the building for DogA, a decision was made to hold a competition in the best spirit of Norwegian architecture, and the architect firm Jensen and Skodvin was declared the winner. The renovated building combines the traditional architecture of the late 1800s with the functional modernism that typifies much of Norwegian architecture, a style that combines the surrounding landscape and nature with the building itself.
Jan Olav Jensen and Børre Skodvin are both graduates of the Oslo School of Architecture. Since founding their company in 1995, the duo has received a great deal of attention and acclaim for their original style. In 2006 they were awarded the National Building Award for the transformation of DogA. In addition, one of the iron desks originally developed for offices in the DogA building now stands in the offices of the Ministry of Culture, a tribute to Jensen and Skodvin’s unusual and innovative design. 
DogA is where design and architecture meet in Norway.
© Knut Bry
Never a Dull Moment
While the architecture of DogA is stunning, the heart and soul of this centre are the activities that attract people from near and far. Through activities and events at DogA, visitors have the chance to see and understand that the design and architectural materials currently used are undergoing a paradigm shift – and may change the way we live, perhaps forever.
Exhibitions have included such popular attractions as the “Culture of Risk”, examining the impact of the engineering of architecture, while profiling the ten most innovative engineering projects in Norway and looking at different facets of “Risk” through the sub-themes of “Eco Risk”, “Urban Risk”, and “On the Edge”. This popular exhibition was part of the 2007 Triennale Festival that DogA hosted in cooperation with Norsk Form, the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, as well as other cooperative partners.
Another popular exhibition held was “Industry! Contemporary meetings between Architecture and Industry”, examining the contributions that industry makes to modern architecture. The exhibition featured Norwegian architects Helen & Hard, together with Berlin’s Barkow Leibinger Architekten and London’s dRMM. Each proved to have their own unique manner of looking at the issues and questions of the new aesthetic forms that are very much influenced by machinery and the industry of our age.
Norwegian furniture design was in focus as InsideNorway.no looked at the ever increasing popularity of Norwegian furniture. This cooperative effort between the Norwegian Design Council, InsideNorway.no, and host DogA was interactive to the utmost extent, inviting all those attending to vote for their favourites – and even test out the furniture. Creativity also abounded at smaller exhibits such as the “Nordic Material Playground” encouraging people to learn more about innovative materials with such curious descriptions as a type of asphalt that eats pollution, windows that clean themselves, transparent concrete, and plastic that can remember its own shape.
On the Runway
Design is naturally in the spotlight in many of DogA’s events, perhaps none more popular than the contemporary Norwegian fashion design exhibition “From Valdres to Vogue”, profiling the work of eight Norwegian fashion designers that included Ida Gullhav, So Hee, 3rd Hand, Ann K, Kristian Aadnevik, Peter Løchstøer, Siv Støldal and Arne & Carlos. This event followed the fashion process from concept to realization through inspiration and creativity as the best of Norwegian fashion was revealed.
These designers felt right at home when fashion again took centre stage as DogA hosted the Oslo Fashion week in February 2007, showcasing the best of the Norwegian fashion world. During an action packed week of style, DogA set the stage for clothes designers, buyers, models and fashion fanatics in general as journalists and the public followed the action, profiling Norwegian fashion designers such as those who took part in “From Valdres to Vogue”, as well as Vera & William, Moods of Norway, Mette Møller, and a host of other talents.

Lights, Music, Action!
Without a doubt, one of the most popular events at the DogA is Pecha Kucha, staged four times annually to a full house. Modelled after the original event staged in Tokyo in 2003, each Pecha Kucha features from 10 to 14 talents, each presenting their individual view on creativity in a rapid-fire series of 6 minute and 40 second presentations covering areas as diverse as photography, architecture, design, music, art and others. The only thing limiting a Pecha Kucha event at DogA is physical space – this highly important networking event attracts a wide range of professionals, students and the general public with an increasing popularity and an atmosphere that is always creatively electric.
DogA was created as a meeting place for design and architecture, but it has become much more than that during its relatively short existence. It is a community centre – local, national and global – for the creative impulses that are found in all of us. When in Norway, do not miss the meeting place for creativity, come to DogA!

DogA is located in a renovated transformer station in Oslo.
© Knut Bry

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