Wallpaper* talks to Erlend Blakstad Haffner, one half of the Fantastic Norway duo.
W*: Is this your caravan? Your mobile office?
EBH: This is the one! We drove it from Oslo, via Copenhagen, then Hamburg, and down to here.
W*: How long does it take?
EBH: It takes 24 hours driving non-stop.
W*: Is the caravan still your base?
EBH: We used to work from this caravan, as our office, although now we also have a permanent office in Oslo. It is good for us, because before we used to travel a lot, but now we can sit in one place and work on more specific projects.
However, we keep it and we use it as a symbol about how we like to work with architecture. We like fun, we think it is fun to talk to people – many architects are afraid to talk to the clients. We are not – we invite them in for lunch and waffles. We think dialogue always makes projects better, and makes thing happen. The caravan is a tool, which enables us to do projects.
W*: One could also say that it also makes sense with the Beyond Building theme.
EBH: When we heard about the theme, and we were invited, we were very happy. We do feel it goes very well with the theme. And we are very happy to be here, it is a great place to be!
W*: Did you always come to Venice for the Biennale?
EBH: We didn’t use to – this is our first time here. We’d love to come again. I guess it is also a place for socialising, and you need everybody to be here. You meet people that you’ve never met, see new things, and we give away waffles and drinks to people. But you know we also give them away to the guards, and to people that work here! It is great to be nice to everybody. We thought, let’s go, but lets also have a nice time.
W*: Is the Biennale a big thing in your agenda, and in the architectural agenda?
EBH: Of course, it is a dream for us to exhibit here!
W*: Do you think the world is going mobile? Will everybody soon have a house or an office that can move?
EBH: I do believe in permanent things. But the idea of it, a caravan, which is not permanent, it works for us as a symbol and also a media tool. Even for us, there is an end to the caravan thing. We practice, we teach, but we always employ the same methodology as we did when we were only in the caravan. But it undoubtedly remains a symbol of an approach to us.
W*: So, you see mobility as a method of working?
EBH: In a way, yes. That is also what our exhibition inside the Padiglione Italia is about; it is about the methodology of how to make things “Fantastic”.