Saturday, 4 February 2012

Evening of the Day of Light

A regular cold February day in Jyväskylä. I walk to Ruusupuisto park, home of the town's two Alvar Aalto-designed museums, in the hope of catching the last rays of sunshine. A newspaper story has mentioned that one of the museums has a lighting installation but of course it's still too light to see that; the terrace of Museum of Central Finland is... Well, just a terrace.
However, the sunlight is already fading fast and the blue moment is approaching. The walls of the Museum of Central Finland are already coming to light.
The lamps outside the museum are also waking from their snow-covered slumber.  At first their light is reddish but soon calms down to fit the mood of the museums and becomes white light. I'm beginning to feel the cold and decide to go indoors to warm up.
I enter the Alvar Aalto museum next door. The museum has free entrance on Fridays, but a notice on the wall announces that today is a special day: architect Alvar Aalto's birthday (born Feb 3, 1898) so the museum is offering all visitors a free cup of coffee and mint chocolate cake at Café Alvar downstairs. My lucky day! After warming up with this treat, I'm ready to step upstairs to see the exhibition.
There is a group with tour guide visiting the Aalto architecture section (which I've seen before anyway) so I'm quite happy to explore photographer Jouni Kaipia's exhibition Tiloja ja tilanteita (Spaces and situations) which naturally focuses on architecture, but not only that: also people, and in some cases, animals, play their important part in the lovely photos. There's no need to be an architecture enthusiast to enjoy this exhibition. Kaipia's photos make you feel good, and the hanging is far from boring!
You can use the exhibition space very cleverly if you think about it at the time of the hanging...
OK, time to step out into the -20°C something temperature. But what is this museum piece of a bus doing here? It must belong to the group of Scandinavians who are right now touring the Alvar Aalto museum. Oh, the good old days? This bus has character compared to its modern cousins.
However, I wonder what kind of heating there is... Hope the travellers aren't freezing. At least some of them seem to have prepared for the worst, or maybe they just like to go skiing every now and then - there are two pairs of cross country skis tied to the back of the bus. Apparently this is where the skis used to be transported!
The night has fallen and it is finally possible to see the lighting installation by Annukka Larsen, designed in the honour of Museum of Central Finland which is celebrating its 80 years of existence, and of course architect Alvar Aalto who designed the building. However, it is funny that the lighting installation is temporary and lasts only few days. I don't remember how it looks normally (don't often walk here in the evenings) but am sure these lights make a great difference to it. So, it is kind of sad that these lights will soon be turned off.

I climb back up the wooden steps to the terrace of the museum to look down at Alvar Aalto museum.
The lights and the evening atmosphere make this so different from what it was like a bit more than an hour ago. It pays to see the same place at different times of the day.
The lighting installation seems to include also the tall pine trees next to the museum building. I doubt if the side entrance to the museum with its wooden doors - not in regular use for the public these days - is normally lighted in the evenings.

I cross the Keskussairaalantie street to the University of Jyväskylä campus area. Although the weekend has begun, there are still some people about, but mostly indoors. 
This Aallonpuisto park area is appropriately named after the architect Alvar Aalto; the buildings around it were designed by him. The row of windows at the top of a building glows through the darkness, on the other side of the sports ground. That's a sports hall named U2, with no reference to the band; each of the university campus buildings happens to have a a short name and 'U' most probably refers to 'Urheilu' which means sports.
The student cafeteria Lozzi offers no meals at this time of the night but there is still something going on there. The wooden ceiling of Lozzi is really beautiful and you can best see it with the lights on.
The neighbour building Lyhty is mostly used for meetings. Lyhty stands for lantern so it is quite natural there should be lights on to show it at its best, to give the large windows a chance to shine.

February 3 is a Day of Light in Finland. Having done a lot of work for lighting installations, Jyväskylä has named itself a City of Light. However, I wonder how many people will dare to go for a guided walk to explore the lighting installations... The temperature is really freezing and I again feel like getting back inside. Time to head for home.
Thanks to the moon for keeping me company. Holding the camera, my frostbitten fingers are telling me that I have seen enough lights for this Day of Light...

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