KODE 1 Museum of Decorative Art—part of KODE Museums, one of Norway’s largest art institutions—is
a rehabilitation project by 3RW arkitekter of all the spaces in the centenary building receiving the public, through the insertion of a display wall for the first time showcasing the museum’s archive and creating a new dialectic between the thick stone walls of the old institution, the museum workspaces and the public. At a time when the cultural and artistic sectors of Bergen are thriving, KODE 1 is the latest addition to the city’s cultural revival.

New modular furniture was created to cater for the various spaces and programmes, inspired by ancient Nordic museum displays with slender steel units and flexible arrangements. A white steel mesh ceiling and custom-made carpets and curtains complete a list of key interior elements that were added to the museum to give it a new civic presence in the city.

3RW arkitekter were the winning team to undertake a 100M NOK renovation of the key spaces of KODE 1, namely a new restaurant and shop, an interactive children’s room, conference room, library and a VIP lounge. Located in Bergen’s cultural quarter, the 5000 m2 building built by Henry Bertram Bucher dates from 1897 and was erected as a cultural monument in the Italian Neo-Renaissance style, hosting the city’s permanent collection for fine craft and design ever since.

The new KODE 1 Decorative Art Museum opens the institution to the city both visually and programmatically, finally taking advantage from its position in the crossing between Bergen’s cultural axis and the classical city plan between the mountain in the east and Nygaardshøyden with the university and museum park in the west. Visually, this cultural axis is expressed through a colourful tiled floor based on a former floor pattern found during demolition, providing an immediate visual connection between the cultural institution and its city on ground floor.

Previously a disparate collection of cluttered small spaces of poor quality, the refurbishment reorganizes the museum spaces and exposes the reserves of the museum—previously inaccessible—in the form of a revisited principle of a ‘cabinet of curiosity’. In its new form, 3000 design items are made public and brought up into the space from the cellar where they were stored previously.

This unfolding wall contributes differently to the spaces it creates throughout the museum: as an exhibition wall and as a filter between the publicly accessible spaces of the museum—the cafe/restaurant, shop, children’s room, conference room and library space—and the working spaces of the museum, for the first time exposed to the public.

From the study phase until its official opening in May 2017, 3RW arkitekter worked closely with the various museum teams—including museography, scenography, restaurant manager, reception, boutique, library and security—to ensure an integral cohesion and link the programmatic diversity of the building now injected with new civic life.



Client: KODE Kunstmuseene i Bergen
Size: 5 000 m²
Programme: interior refurbishment and design of exhibition solutions. Ground floor: cafe / restaurant, reception / information / cloakroom / museum shop, display wall (exhibition); 1st floor: family room; 2nd floor: library / display wall (exhibition) / VIP Room /conference hall / meeting room / dressing room and roof terrace; 5th floor: offices

Collaborators: OBAS Vest AS
Photography: RJS