Embassy Buildings and Artworks

最終更新日: 05.08.2016 // The present buildings of the Norwegian embassy in Tokyo were built in 1977.

The buildings of the Norwegian embassy in Tokyo were built in 1977. The grounds had been purchased in 1962, but due to unsatisfactory craftsmanship and deterioration after consecutive earthquakes, the buildings were torn and new ones commissioned. After consulting with the Japan Architects Association, renowned architect Junzo Yoshimura was engaged as architect.

Because of Tokyo housing prices and exceedingly trafficated roads and subways, great emphasis was put on lodging embassy personnel on the grounds. A compound was built with two buildings consisting of the Ambassador’s residence and a main building with the chancery and apartments. Due to size constrictions and to compensate for lack of garden opportunities, the main building was built in four stories with spacious rooftop terraces. A swimming pool was also made available. The ambassador’s residence was fitted with a Japanese garden in the back.

The buildings were refurbished on a large scale in 1996. Among other things a second story was built over the reception area. Smaller alternations followed, and in 2004 a new extension to the main building was completed.

The extension was designed by Norwegian architect Torstein Ramberg, and compromises 5 stories divided into three apartments and a multifunction hall ("Aurora Hall") which can seat 100 people. The hall spans two levels with the second floor as a gallery overlooking the first.

The exterior of the building is covered with light grey, ceramic tiles. The roof is flat, and the buildings present an image of modern Japanese style.



The Norwegian Embassy has in its possession a number of original artworks.

Most of the art is on loan from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The remaining pieces either belong to the Norwegian National Gallery, or were given as gifts directly to the embassy. The greater majority of artwork at the embassy is Norwegian.

The residence:
The Ambassador’s residence received a substantial make-over in late 2015. Several new pieces of art was introduced, and old furniture was replaced with a strong focus on Norwegian design.

Entering into the Ambassador’s residence, guests are greeted by several paintings and tapestries. Tore Hansen’s “Full Moon” is a natural focal point in in the entrance hall, depicting a typical Norwegian winter forest showered in moonlight. Arne Vinje Gunnerud’s “Cult Ox” stands in front of the cloakroom. Gunnerud is known for his connection with northern mythology, but also finds inspiration internationally, picking up influences from Africa and among others Native Americans. Marianne Magnus’ tapestry “From the Tower” hangs above Gunnerud’s sculpture.

The adjacent living room is dedicated to Norway’s most internationally distinguished Norwegian artist; Edvard Munch. Eight lithographs and woodcuts are displayed, including the famous works “The Vampire” and “The Brooch.” Restoration and reframing of all the Munch works was completed in 2015, ensuring that these pieces of art will remain in good condition for years to come. The living room is furnished with a lounge set, including sofas designed by Norway Says and a table designed by Broberg & Ridderstråle.

Several pottery and glass works can be found in the library, including pieces by internationally celebrated Hadeland designers Willy Johansson and Benny Motzfelt. On the walls you can see two graphic’s by Per Kleiva; “A Mill” and “It Was a Beautiful Day” featuring the Glittertind mountain peak. Furniture in the library includes relaxing chairs designed by Ingmar Relling, a special made work desk by Carl Løfling, and lamps designed by Daniel Rybakken and Lars Beller Fjetland. The coffee table is one of the few pieces furniture that is not of Norwegian design, but Japanese designer Isamu Noguchi’s influence corresponds well with the overall Norwegian theme.

In the sunroom, looking out to the garden, one can find a broad selection of Norwegian and other Scandinavian design. Sofas, tables, lamps and chairs are designed by Børge Mogensen (Denmark), Per Aleksander, Arne Jacobsen and Fredrik Kayser – respectively. On the walls are the artworks “Window with Decanter” by Eilif Amundsen and “The Satisfied Donkey” by Kjell Erik Killi Olsen. With a view out to the garden area you can also see outdoor furniture by Norwegian company Sundays prepared for when the weather allows.
In the dining room, centerpiece painting “Exterior morning Sap.green” immediately demands attention. Painted by Harald Fenn, the piece is done in acrylic paint using airbrush and spray gun techniques. The viewer is constantly challenged to shift their perception between the scenic background and the grid of lines in the forefront. Sidsel Hanum’s handicraft “Seeds” also stands out as guests try to figure out how it was made and admire the color palette. Oil paintings by Lars Tiller and Frans Widerberg also decorate the walls.  The dining table and chairs are designed by Arnstein Arneberg, otherwise known as the architect behind the UN Security Council’s plenary hall and Oslo City Hall, while the sideboard is designed by Arne Korsmo.

The Chancery:
In front of the main entrance and reception area stands another sculpture by Arne Vinje Gunnerud, the massive “Fenrisulven” in bronze. This sculpture also reveals the artist’s interest in northern mythology, and clearly demonstrates an interesting link between the depiction of dragons in both early Scandinavia and Asia.

Entering the reception area you can immediately experience both classic and contemporary Norwegian design. The main reception as well as the adjacent consular reception was refurbished in June 2016 in cooperation with Norwegian Icons in Tokyo. The interior consists of a mix of chairs and benches from the 1950-60’s, and more modern furniture designed from 2012 and later, together creating a typical Norwegian atmosphere reflecting both past and present design. Noteworthy designers include Hans Brattrud, Torbjørn Alfdal and Andreas Engesvik. The light installation that consists of a series of mouth blown glass pendant lamps from Norwegian mood light producer Northern Lighting is called Unika and is designed by Anne Louise Due de Fønss and Anders Lundqvist. On the wall in the consular reception Richard Warsinski’s lithography “Chimera-Tot” can be found.

Inside the chancery several pieces of art can be found in meetings rooms, hallways and offices. Most noticeable for guests visiting the Embassy may be Sidsel Westbø’s works “Memories of a Land” and “View to the Fjord” located in a frequently used meeting room. In the hallways a traditional Norwegian weave handicraft from an unknown artist can be found, as well as “Without Title” by renowned artist Jan Groth. Groth’s creative variations and ability to bring out the energy in simple lines is widely acknowledged. “Without Title” is drawn in black charcoal on white paper.

The Ambassador’s office is decorated with different pieces of various styles, including works by Marianne Heske, Johan Fredrik Michelet and Bente Tønnessen. A coat-rack designed by Peter Opsvik can be found in the same room. Opsvik is behind the success chairs “Tripp Trapp” and “Balanse.” “Trip Trap” is an ergonomically correct chair for children designed to “grow with” the child. “Balanse" combines European and Japanese elements so the user can continuously alter his or her sitting position, relieving pressure on the lower back and increasing blood circulation.

Aurora Hall:
Three tapestries by Trine Mauritz Eriksen are on display in the Aurora Hall. Eriksen uses traditional Japanese Shibori colouring techniques creating playful, texturally interesting 3-dimentional pieces that change depending on the position of the viewer. The pieces were made especially for the hall, complementing the Scandinavian/Japanese style.

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Junzo Yoshimura (1908-1997)
graduated from the Department of Architecture at the Tokyo School of Art (present Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music) in 1931 and joined the architectural office of Antonin Raymond, where he worked until establishing his own office in Toyo in 1941. Yoshimura started to teach at the Tokyo School of Art in 1945, becoming a full professor there in 1962.

Yoshimura’s innovative design approach is clearly demonstrated in his residential projects: their unusual qualities of calmness and harmony are best explained by his primary concern for the needs of the people who would live in them.  His design philosophy was expressed by his stated satisfaction at seeing that his buildings offer users a comfortable lifestyle. His major works include the Inokuma Residence in Tokyo (1971), Japan House in NY (1971), Nara National Museum in Nara (1973), and Aichi Prefectural University of Art in Nagakute (1974).