Arne Korsmo. Villa Stenersen – From a Designer Point of View

Villa Stenersen, designed and built by Arne Korsmo for the financier and art lover Rolf M. Stenersen, is considered as one of the main works of Norwegian modernist architecture. This project underlines the pioneer and internationally oriented architect that Arne Korsmo was, and it highlights his interest in building architecture with new matters and materials.  Functionalists like him, believed in the credo of form-follows-function. So the house is divided into two parts: the first one is dedicated to presentation, using the space as an art gallery to exhibit numerous works from Stenersen’s art collection. The second one is devoted to the private life that is to say the home of him and his family. Nowadays, the villa is open to the public and has the role of a meeting place for the fields of architecture and design.

Photo 1

Façade and entrance door.

The first feeling I had when visiting this house was a mix of surprise and admiration: the villa is of course far different compared to next door buildings, and its singularity has something pleasant. Korsmo was really free carrying out this project, both economically and aesthetically speaking. He concieved an architecture that is a perfect composition of geometrical shapes as a form of expression: its rectangular and linear structure is softened by the cylindrical entrance and the semi-circular garage. Forms and counter-forms converge and fit together in a very harmonious way, both indoor and outdoor.

Photo 2Focus on the window in the gallery.                                                             Living room on the 1st floor.

What is also striking at first sight is the complementary colors of the façade: immaculate white walls contrasting with a brilliant blue which itself perfectly matches the orange canopy. Could you imagine this architecture was built in the 40’s? Based on a massive and rectangular structure made of reinforced concrete, this house could be coming straight from minimalist or contemporary architecture movements; its pure lines and well-chosen colors also remind me of a Dan Flavin exhibition. Material diversity strengthens the impression of avant-garde you get when visiting the villa for the first time. Using reinforced concrete or glass blocks in the architecture field was at that time a real innovation! I was lucky visiting the villa on a sunny day, and I often remember the perfect light spreading from these blocks made of glass in the gallery room on the second floor.

Photo 3

Balcony on the 2nd floor.                                                                           View of the gallery by a sunny day.

Discovering this unique architecture, you could also enjoy a spectacular view of Oslo. And not so far away from Villa Stenersen, you can even find Villa Dammann, also made by Arne Korsmo. To me, the visit is definitely worth a 30 minutes walk from the Vigeland park!


by Sidonie Lasseron

Colors photos: © Sidonie Lasseron / Black&white photos: © Anders Beer Wilse on