History in the making
The Blue Hall. Photo: Jansin & Hammarling
One of Sweden's most well-known structures, Stockholm City Hall serves as the location for the annual banquet honoring the Nobel Prize. For the 100th anniversary the City of Stockholm turned to Big Image in order to create an exact duplicate of the lambequin and the canopy hanging in the Blue Hall.
Photo: Jansin & Hammarling
Since the building's completion in 1923, a lot has changed, and it was already announced in the 1990s that the entire lambrequin and canopy needed to be replaced. They intended to look into the viability of producing a copy of the originals using digital printing for the centenary. Then, Ann-Charlotte Backlund, a senior antiquarian at the Stockholm City Real Estate Office, got in touch with Big Image, a company she had previously worked with.
According to Ann-Charlotte, this called for the comprehensive approach that Big Image is known for, including the digital print, the creative working style, and last but not least, documentation and follow-up. All the way there, Big Image is there.
The first step was to cut out a piece of the lambrequin and photograph it. Then the work began to find just the right color and material. Since the fabric looked very different in daylight and the glow of the lights in the evening, it also couldn´t let too much light through. It took a few tests to find the perfect balance between the front and backside.
It was a very exciting process to follow, says project manager Andreas Nilsson.
“This was something we've never done before. At first it didn't match the original at all so we had to try several different methods. I am very impressed with that work, it felt very professional and we could rely entirely on your expertise.”
The solution was to use double-sided premium printed cotton where details were hand-painted with gold paint, the cut out and sewn according to the original. The nearly hundred-meter-long lambrequin required 800 square meters of fabric and about 30 liters of gold paint.
Flying high with balloons
The next challenge was to try out the material sample in its proper environment, i.e. at the windows that are placed just over twenty meters up in the air.
"Big Image came up with a very exciting idea, says Ann-Charlotte. They attached the fabric sample to helium balloons that we sent up to the ceiling. Then we could get an experience of what the end result would be like."
In this way, they also avoided the hassle of high scaffolding, which made the project both easier and less costly. Because the Blue Hall is used almost daily, it was important to fit in the short moments it was available.
When it was finally time to take down the originals and assemble the new ones, Big Image only had two weeks. But thanks to all the preparations, there were never any problems, says Andreas.
"It went way beyond expectations! It may not sound so difficult to replace some fabric, but with all the trips it was a very extensive work. Thanks to Big Image's solid preparation, everything went on very smoothly. It felt very safe."
Thanks to helium balloons we were able to fly the final test print the 22 meters needed to reach the window. Photo: Cecilia Ramström
Time to take the originals down and assemble the new ones. Photo: Jansin & Hammarling