As a vacationer attraction, Oslo has lengthy existed “within the shadow” of Stockholm and Copenhagen, mentioned Thomas Rogers in The New York Occasions. But the place as soon as the Norwegian capital was “derided” as “sleepy and overpriced”, it’s now within the midst of a bona fide cultural renaissance that will put it on a par with its extra historically glamorous Scandinavian neighbours. A serious redevelopment undertaking, dubbed “Fjord Metropolis”, is remodeling Oslo’s waterfront into “a shiny district of high-rises and pedestrian plazas”, and a house for a clutch of world-class museums and artwork galleries. 

Chief amongst these is Norway’s nationwide museum, a “gargantuan” new establishment that lastly opened its doorways to the general public in June, after an 11-year gestation. Combining the collections of 4 pre-existing galleries and costing greater than £500m, the Nasjonalmuseet is Europe’s third-largest museum; with 80 rooms and a minimum of three acres of show area, it is going to be capable of showcase some 6,500 of the 400,000 objects in its stock, in addition to main short-term exhibitions to rival these at Tate Trendy or Paris’s Centre Pompidou. That includes the whole lot from work by Edvard Munch (together with The Scream, Madonna and different well-known works) to seventeenth century Norwegian tapestries, to up to date artworks, it takes an “assertive strategy to showcasing Norwegian tradition”. 

This “long-anticipated” museum takes London’s V&A as a significant “curatorial affect”, mentioned Helen Barrett within the FT. Which means that design can be displayed on an equal footing to artwork. Amongst its first massive identify exhibitions can be a solo present of Grayson Perry’s ceramics and textiles. On show are conventional arts and crafts and, as you would possibly anticipate, beautiful examples of Norwegian furnishings – a spotlight is the studio of Terje Ekstrøm, designer of futuristic Seventies chairs, transplanted wholesale into the museum. However there’s additionally industrial design from current many years, when Nordic firms pioneered many technological advances. There are deep-sea robots, and shows of shopper tech by Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson. (In 2001, Nokia launched a digicam telephone a full six years forward of Apple’s first iPhone.) Elsewhere, we see a show dedicated to “digital graphic design”, that includes curios such because the video for the Norwegian band A-ha’s 1985 hit Tackle Me

The museum’s holdings are fascinating, mentioned Tim Abrahams within the Architectural File. One second, you’re taking a look at Jap Orthodox icons that ended up in Norway following an eleventh century schism with the Western Church; the following, you’re in a room crammed with “easy furnishings” relationship from the nineteenth century. It’s a disgrace, then, that the constructing that homes all that is quite uninspired. The architects, German agency Kleihues + Schuwerk, strived to keep away from sculptural components and idiosyncrasy; the result’s a “minimalist” design that underwhelms on nearly each stage. It’s clad in a stone that’s neither “engaging or versatile”, and from sure approaches, it seems to be “astonishingly drab”. Its inside areas are higher, however not by a lot: the displays, you are feeling, are under-served. However, it’s attainable to spend “a full day immersed” on this “very costly field”, perusing “vibrant medieval tapestries, outstanding collections of glass and silverware, or the more moderen story of a nation informed by means of its fashionable artwork”. It’s proof that “content material, mercifully, can nonetheless be the whole lot”.

Now open to the general public; nasjonalmuseet.no