Blue Pearl (The Quarries)


The area around Larvik in the south-east of Norway is known for its rich occurrence of a special variation of a monzonite rock. Found only there, and officially named larvikitt after the nearby town, it is sometimes also called blue pearl or emerald pearl, due to its characteristic, shimmering blue crystals, which become visible after polishing. Larvikitt is mined in a number of quarries around the area of Larvik. Some of the quarries are large, some are small, some are discontinued and have been left idle for years, and some are still in use. Larvikitt is a large export article for the area and is used as a decorative rock for interiors, memorials, and as façade cladding for commercial buildings in cities such as New York and Dubai, among others the UN building in NYC.

For years, I have been driving past one of these quarries, seeing just a glimpse of it every time. The quarries are considered to be ugly and to ruin the landscape, but to me there was always a strong fascination towards these very monumental structures and the landscapes they create. They may be artificial, but in an interesting way they are different from the rest, and beautiful in their own right. Originally planned to be a typology of quarry shapes, the project grew to include wider visual aspects of the local quarries. This project is my personal, visual exploration, focusing on the beauty of the man shaped landscape as it is seen when the rock is cut out of the ground, the shapes of the rocks and the shapes of the landscape left after cutting both being of equal interest and fascination.