A peace symbol in terrazzo

The Osudden Track is a 6 km trail that winds through central Värnamo along the River Lagan down to Osudden at Lake Vidöstern. Along the way people pass a variety of sights, an open-air folk museum, billowing cornfields and allotment chalet gardens. Stop for a moment beneath the big oak trees, but even better places for a rest are the benches along the Osudden Track.

The City of Benches is a project to boost Värnamo’s position as a city of design, art and furniture. The location chosen for this project is the Osudden Track, and so far two benches have been inaugurated. The plan is to inaugurate a bench every year for ten years. The benches are donated to Värnamo municipality by companies, associations or private individuals. Donors select one of the places along the River Lagan and a reference group comprising representatives from the municipality, Vandalorum, Värnamo and the Entrepreneurs Association help find a designer or artist for the assignment.

Bench number 2 in the City of Benches is named Peace; it was donated by Nivika AB and inaugurated in May 2018. Peace was designed by Fredrik Wretman, a Swedish sculptor and artist. Among his public works are Body & Soul at Stockholm South General Hospital and the Bodhi sculpture in the River Viskan in the town of Borås. Herrljunga Terrazzo was given the honour of working with Fredrik Wretman to deliver this sculpture, which is made of terrazzo, for the City of Benches project.

“When I was asked by the reference group I said yes right away, as I knew how it would look! I had made the Peace design eight years earlier and had created it in aluminium in a smaller scale. Even then I thought it would be gratifying to make it in the form of a seat, and I saw that the shape could be as big as a city or as small as a cuff link,” says Fredrik Wretman.

Fredrik tells us it’s a conceptual work based on a mathematical formula. The joints in the material, in this case terrazzo, make the sculpture look like a peace symbol when seen from above. It also serves as a compass rose when located in the north-south direction. The next time Google Earth passes overhead, the sculpture will appear as a big peace sign, and Fredrik hopes there are no clouds that day.

“This was a very rewarding project for me, it was an idea I had in the past and which Herrljunga Terrazzo made real. In addition to my creating the design, my role was to see how Peace would work best in the surroundings and determine its height, size, colour and material. The material was an easy choice – I like terrazzo but had never made anything with it before. I was given a recommendation to contact Herrljunga Terrazzo and they were truly professional. They took care of everything concerning the drawing and dimensions – I sent them my sketch, and after a few phone calls we had a plan. The sculpture is a pale grey, as I had previously made the design in aluminium, and I wanted to keep that silvery feeling.”

Peace is a good example of terrazzo concrete’s excellent functionality. The sculpture had to be produced with relatively few joints to avoid becoming too sensitive to frost. Each surface had to be big, in one piece, coherent and comfortable. Peace weighs about 4.5 tons and is made in four parts of reinforced, frost-resistant terrazzo concrete. The materials are shipped from Sweden to Italy, where they are cast and polished to form terrazzo in its final shape. Peace is located on a small promontory right by Lagan riverside where Herrljunga Terrazzo’s installers Morgan and Fabian assembled the sculpture in situ. Its delightful shape together with the finely polished terrazzo surface invites you to enjoy a moment of rest, play or a pause for coffee.