A one-of-a-kind artistic experience which provides a glimpse of the museum of the future
In the summer of 2021, the brand new Hans Christian Andersen House in Odense, Denmark will open its doors. The design is a poetic ode to the life and work of the Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen. The Japanese star architect Kengo Kuma and his team came up with the design for the new museum – an elegant wood and glass construction that blends seamlessly into the lush green gardens. The unique combination of architecture, landscape and exhibition design means that the museum offers a completely new experience for the museum visitor.
The world of Hans Christian Andersen
Generations have been brought up with the stories of the Danish Hans Christian Andersen; one of the most famous and respected authors in the world. Everyone has heard of “the Little Mermaid”, “the Chinese Nightingale” or “Thumbelina”. But the new museum is not just about telling about Andersen and his fairy tales, but like Andersen. “Hans Christian Andersen’s artistic universe is wonderful. His fairy tales do not pretend to be universal truth, but rather point towards an openness – the peculiarity and complexity of this world,” said Henrik Lübker, the museum’s creative director. In this way, the new museum tries to create a breeding ground for new perspectives on ourselves, nature and our society.
An artistic experience
The vision of the Hans Christian Andersen House is therefore to bring his literary universe to life and to offer a complete artistic experience in which the interplay of architecture, sound, light and image continuously creates new experiences. Important in the creation process was the involvement of artists, filmmakers, illustrators and storytellers who gave Andersen’s fairy tales a completely new artistic interpretation. Underpinning this creation process is Andersen’s philosophy, running as a red thread through all of his fairy tales. There are profound messages in Andersen’s writing that reflect the author’s life. His work projects the duality of everything that surrounds us; real and imaginary, nature and culture, man and animal, light and darkness.
A new way of exhibiting
By immersing the visitor with all his sensory perception in Andersen’s fairy tale world, it is fully brought to life. The latest technologies and design concepts are cleverly used to connect everything so that the boundaries between reality and illusion appear to blur completely. By playing with perspective and scale, the visitor sometimes finds himself upside down, or at times very small. Due to the clever integration of architecture and landscape design, the journey through the museum leads visitors alternately inside and outside through the gardens. The magical gardens feel like a maze and the large plants have the ability to speak to you as you pass by. Because much of the museum is underground, sunken holes serve as a ‘gate’ between the real and the imaginary world.
The Japanese star architect Kengo Kuma and his team – well-known for the new Olympic stadium in Tokyo – were inspired by the fairy tale ‘The Tinderbox’, in which a magical tree reveals an underground world. “The idea behind the design equals Andersen’s method in which a small world suddenly unfolds into a larger universe,” says Kuma. The total area of the museum and the garden is 12,600 square meters. Circular buildings of glass and wood are linked together like a chain and the curved green wall above ground defines both the garden and the underground exhibition spaces.
One of the biggest cultural openings of 2021
With a budget of more than 52 million euros, the new Hans Christian Andersen House is one of Denmark’s largest and most ambitious museum projects in recent years. The project was made possible by a substantial donation from The A.P. Møller Foundation, as well as from Nordea-fonden, The Augustinus Foundation, Knud Højgaards Fond and the City of Odense.
Odense – Denmark’s third city – is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen and is located on the island of Funen. Funen is rich in history, which can be seen in the many country houses and castles. You will find traces of Andersen’s existence all over the island. In addition, the island has many cycling and walking paths, a rich nature and, above all, a lot of water.
More information on the Hans Christian Andersen House
Anticipated opening: Summer 2021
Adress: H.C. Andersens Hus, H.C. Andersen Haven 1, 5000 Odense