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Double Ceiling / 2014 / National Police Internal Investigations Department, The Hague / commission / Chief Government Architect of the Netherlands

 

Double Ceiling was commissioned in 2014 by the Central Government Real Estate Agency, to be placed in the National Police Internal Investigations Department in the Court of The Hague.  

 

The artwork covers almost the entirety of the ceiling of the National Police Internal Investigations Department’s dining area. It measures 5 by 5 metres, and consists of a light box with a photo of a ceiling made of wooden, white-painted planks, and a wooden supporting structure positioned at a right angle. Beneath it hang wide pine-wood slats, which hang in parallel to the white slats in the photo.

 

The unique lighting of the ceiling in the photo is enhanced by the use of the light box, which lights the photo from behind. The interplay created by the physical presence of the wooden slats, which partially obstruct the view of the image, visually challenges the viewer to try and understand the ceiling behind the slats.  

 

The photo of the ceiling was taken in the Stengårdshult Kyrka, a small church in the village of Stengårdshult (population 25) in Småland, Sweden. After the previous church was destroyed in a fire, the new church was designed at the start of the 20th century by Swedish architect Torben Grut, who was also the architect behind Stockholm’s Olympic Stadium.

 

The entire church is made of wood, and is one of a kind in terms of its shape and architecture, with a high, rectangular nave and lower side aisles. The row of windows at the top of the nave are practically the only source of natural light. The ceiling reflects this light, and the indirect light from the ceiling spectacularly lights up the entirety of the nave. This fairly modest building has characteristics typical of both Art Nouveau and classicism.