Gertrud Olsson

Senior Lecturer

The Design and Crafts Steneby
Visiting address
Hemslöjdsvägen 1
66695 Dals långed
Postal address
Hemslöjdsvägen 1
66695 Dals Långed

About Gertrud Olsson

Senior Lecturer in Theory and History at HDK-Valand Steneby – Academy of Design and Crafts at Steneby

I am a designer and architect with a PhD in architecture (KTH School of Architecture, Stockholm), a senior lecturer in Theory and History at HDK-Valand Steneby. In addition, a Visiting Scholar at SRII Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, a member of the SRII Research Collegium and a chair person in the programme board.

My research in the intersection of architecture, art, design and craft deals with perception, light, colour and material; investigations of mosaic, tile and glass from ancient times to contemporary structures. The aesthetic value of materiality is of interest, the tactile sensations in relation to touch and tactilism, the concept of aging of the materials. Understanding and awareness of the materials, the room and architecture as such, the relation to human size, the interacting body are of importance .

The overall subject in my research deals with intermediation and intermediaries between different cultures; examination of social, historical and architectural perspectives, investigation of the craft people and artist role in cross-cultural boundaries, of how new knowledge is produced. An example of an agent in east and west in the late 19th century is Osman Hamdi Bey (1842–1910), Turkish painter, archaeologist and founder of Istanbul Archaeology museums. In this context, Mualla Eyüboğlu Anhegger (1919–2009) became one of the first female Turkish architects, and also, one of the first professionals working with restoration. The concept of modernity in relation to tradition is present. An ongoing project deals with the African city of Asmara and the complex relation between modernity and the vernacular heritage. Asmara is designed by Italian architects and built by Eritrean crafts people in the 1930s during the colonial time (and from 2017 included in the UNESCO World Heritage List).

My thesis The Visible and the Invisible: Color Contrast Phenomena in Space, published in 2009, explores colour contrast phenomena in a context of visual culture and aesthetics, in architecture and in art. Early modernism manifested an interest in colour contrasts and perception, which lead the way to a new interdisciplinary outlook on vision and simultaneity.

Forthcoming publications 2021:

In the editorial board of Transformations of Public Space – Architecture and the visual arts in late modern Istanbul 1950–80 in the book series Transactions, the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul/SRII, and contributing with the chapter “The renewal of street-scape through glass mosaic” to be published early 2021.

The conference paper ”The Turkish Modernist Osman Hamdi Bey and his view on Artefacts”, ArCo, Art Collections Conference: Cultural Heritage, Safety & Digital Innovation, Florence, to be published 2021.

The article ”The Matter of Touch – the Case of Asmara” on the theme of Architectural Aesthetics – An Old Matter Revisited, sITA journal – studies in History and Theory of Architecture, Bucharest, to be published 2021.

Articles ”Mosaic” and ”Color Contrast” in the Encyclopedia of Color Science and Technology, Ed. Ronnier Luo, Springer Verlag, Berlin (2015), 2nd edition to be published 2021.