In the spring of 2022, Sentralen was certified as an Eco-Lighthouse
Sentralen aspires to contribute to a more sustainable society, and therefore we take responsibility for our environmental impact. Our goal is to be Oslo’s number one green meeting place and the second greenest event centre in the Nordic countries. We look for workable solutions to reduce our environmental impact - not just for the company Sentralen Oslo AS, but for the entire building. We achieve this by influencing and inspiring our tenants, customers and suppliers to think green.
Sentralen’s investment in children and youth
Sentralen UNG is our in-house rental arrangement which provides favourable rental terms to organisers with children and young people between the ages of 0 and 19 as their primary target group.
With this arrangement, we hope to be able to provide an ongoing venue in Oslo for this target group, which is one of Sentralen’s main focus areas.
This arrangement is financed by the Savings Bank Foundation Sparebankstiftelsen DNB, and offers UNG organisers free booking of venues, as well as technical equipment and in-house technicians as required. Events by Sentralen UNG currently fill approximately 40% of Sentralen’s total program content. These include a broad portfolio of activities such as children and youth theatre, concerts, dance rehearsals and performances, creative workshops, summer camps, courses, debates and much more.
Do you have a good idea that Sentralen UNG can provide a venue for? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us more!
We are always looking for good projects that give all children and youth the opportunity to participate, experience, influence and find their voice.
Sentralen’s total commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Diversity and inclusion is one of six focus areas in Sentralen’s strategic planning. Our value base focuses on inclusion, cooperation, curiosity and responsibility. That’s why we have established a strategy group led by Ammal Ahmed Haj Mohamed who together with the rest of the administration works specifically to assure diversity and inclusion at Sentralen.
Diversity and inclusion require active participation and motivation.Sentralen is an open house for creativity, culture and social innovation. We know that a diversity of creative voices, audiences, residents, customers and employees is an essential driving force for creativity, innovation and problem solving. We believe that diversity of background and experience strengthens the development of cultural life and innovation in a society that is becoming increasingly diverse. Sentralen seeks to be an arena that reflects all members of the population.
Sentralen offers a restaurant, roof top terrace, café and pizzeria, as well as providing catering for the entire house’s meetings and events.
In Sentralen Kafé and Vinterhagen you can share a pizza and beverage together with friends before a concert, or spend the day with your laptop along with your colleagues or fellow students.
The house’s dining area has become a popular meeting place, where activity between the walls creates an inspiring atmosphere for good conversations and creativity.
We have some of Norway’s most exciting chefs on our team who take pride in serving food and drink in our restaurant and café on the 1st floor.
In the spring of 2022, the outdoor bar Mynt opened on Sentralen’s new roof top terrace.
Read more about LAVA OSLO here or book a table directly.
Café opening hours
Restaurant opening hours
Mynt opening hours
Creating innovative solutions that can change society
SoCentral collaborates with municipalities, businesses and house residents who aspire to develop a more sustainable society, and hosts a large and diverse community and innovation environment with offices on the 5th and 6th floors.
Likened to the cultural producers on the floors below, these residents also unleash positive forces in accordance with the Savings Bank Foundation’s vision. They create meeting places for unity and a sense of belonging, promote learning and mastery in young individuals, develop role models and encourage voluntary work and participation, to name a few.
Read more about the members of this vibrant community and their work on SoCentral’s website.
A home for Oslo’s cultural producers
On the building’s third and fourth floors facing Tollbugata, we provide office space for cultural producers, ensembles, orchestras, festivals and other creative people who produce artistic expressions presented to an audience. Here, established institutions sit side by side with creatives in the start-up phase, and with access to a larger community in their everyday work.
These organizations also contribute greatly to the creative content of the house, with workshops, meetings and events for culturally interested young people and adults.
From savings bank to event venue
“This bank will stand forever, if it is not blown up by pressure from within.”
– Architect Henrik Nissen at the opening of Christiania Savings Bank, April 14th 1901.
Christiania Savings Bank
Christiania Savings Bank was established in 1822. The bank was primarily a social initiative - offered to the city’s working class, and was Norway’s first bank for private individuals. Large parts of the bank’s profits were spent on social projects, development and renovation in Oslo.
The savings bank had several head offices before it moved to Øvre Slottsgate 3 where a new building was completed in 1849. This building was later expanded and renovated, and was completed as we know it today in 1901. Later on, the bank bought the neighboring building, Tollbugata 30, and incorporated this building into the head office. Both of these buildings comprise Sentralen as we know it today.
Øvre Slottsgate 3
The savings bank's head office occupied several rented locations in Oslo before it was decided to build a new building to house the head office. Henrik Nissen won the architectural competition. The building was completed in1849, and clearly reflects the change in style that took place in Norwegian architecture at that time. Elements from the New Renaissance period were mixed together with distinct national romantic expressions.
Norwegian Iddefjord granite was used for the facade. Soapstone was used around the windows, into which national romantic patterns were cut.
In 1901, a major reconstruction of the head office was completed. Soon after the courtyard was enclosed and a beautiful glass roof was built over the open area. This exquisite room became the bank’s dispatch hall, and was decorated with Norwegian marble from Fauske. Today the room is Sentralen’s largest and most magnificent booking venue – Marmorsalen (the Marble Hall).
The bank had four floors with vaults in the core of the building. Massive railway ties were built in crosswise within the walls of the vaults to ensure that burglars could not dig through the walls, floor or ceiling! Today, the venues Hvelvet (The Vault), Studio A and Studio B, as well as the meeting room Bankboksen (The Bank Box) are located in the old bank vaults.
The large room in which the bank’s Board of Trustees met to discuss management and objectives was situated on the third floor of the building. This room is today one of the Sentralen’s most popular venues - Forstanderskapssalen (The Board of Trustees’ Hall).
One might think that exercise during working hours and fringe benefits such as membership in a fitness centre, are modern additions to mindfullness and health in the workplace. However, the bank clerks in Christiania Sparebank had their own gym room in the venue that is today quite aptly called Gymsalen (The Gym).
Historical photos of the building
Sentralen Kafé and Sentralen Restaurant are located on the ground floor of the building at Tollbugata 30. It was completed in 1901 and is a typical business building from that period. The architect was Ivar Cock who later designed Oslo’s Hotel Continental.
Towards the end of the 17th century, long before the current building was constructed, a block of flats was built on the site. In the early part of the 19th century, this building was known as Thronsen’s Hotel, and became a cornerstone for the city’s culture and night life. Fairy tale collector Peter Chr. Asbjørnsen and poet Johan Sebastian Welhaven were amongst the notables who lived here. The building contained an art publishing house, art studios, café, hotel, and a dairy shop. In other words, this is not the first time that exchange of words, cultural experiences and creation of ideas have taken place in this city block!
Filling a cultural void
The project Sentralen began in 2007 when the Savings Bank Foundation DNB bought the two buildings in Øvre Slottsgate 3 and Tollbugata 30 from DNB Bank. Eventually, the idea developed to use the properties as part of the foundation’s non-profit activities. The function of Sentralen and those who would use the facility were outlined following discussions with user and focus groups, and through more than 200 interviews in the period 2009-2013.
The results of these surveys revealed that Oslo had a need for an open meeting and workplace for cultural producers. It was further decided that Sentralen would also become a venue for social innovators who work to find new solutions to challenges today.
Pilot project since 2013
To identify the potential needs and challenges of operating such a venue, the Savings Bank Foundation established a pilot project in 2013. Cultural producers and social innovators were invited to sit in an open office landscape in Marmorsalen in Øvre Slottsgate 3. During the total renovation of Sentralen which began in June 2014, this office landscape was moved to the Tjersland building in Skippergata 22.
At the start of 2016, there were 120 cultural producers and social innovators in Skippergata 22, who together made up the future residents who moved into Sentralen in February 2016.
Expansion of the premises
Sentralen opened its doors on March 1st 2016, and since then Sentralen has rented venues and booked meeting rooms to over 5,000 tenants. Just before the start of the pandemic in 2020, it became clear that more space was needed.
In the1920s, Øvre Slottsgate 3 had an extra floor built in. Now, almost a hundred years later, another floor was added, and Kronesalen was built on the top floor of the building. Sentralen used this opportunity to build a roof top terrace as well, with direct access from Kronesalen, and with additional accesses from the fifth and sixth floors. The roof top terrace stretches over two floors and is connected via an amphitheater.The two levels are called Kron & Mynt in Norwegian is a play on wordsdescribing two sides of a coin: Heads & Tails.
We are proud to have some of Norway’s most renowned artists represented at Sentralen.
When we opened Sentralen in 2016, five artists were commissioned to decorate the interior with artwork; Vanessa Baird, Hanne Friis, Jan Christensen & Marius Dahl, Are Mokkelbost and Camilla Løw.
The artists were relatively free to select which area of our 12,000 square metre venue they wanted to decorate, as well as the expression of the artwork. We are proud to have some of Norway’s most renowned artists represented here, and not least that these works of art are available to everyone who visits Sentralen!
Stained glass painting by Are Mokkelbost
Three stained glass windows by Are Mokkelbost cast their colourful light on Sentralen’s two dining areas on the ground floor.
Whether you are a guest or a passer-by, you can experience three large full-covering stained glass panes in the large windows of both the café and restaurant.
The images are transparent so you can see through them into the interior of Sentralen.
Are Mokkelbost (b.1976) attended the Oslo National Academy of the Arts from 1997 to 2002. He is perhaps best known for his detailed and poetic collages; artwork that is extremely intricate and imposing. He uses materials from magazines and newspapers but has also worked with glass and textiles. In addition to being a visual artist, Mokkelbost is also a musician and composer, and plays in several bands.
Mokkelbost has exhibited in Antwerp, Paris, New York, Rotterdam, Oslo, Moss and Los Angeles, amongst others. His work has been purchased by DNB, UD, Hydro, Kunst på Arbeidsplassen and Henie Onstad Art Center (through Kunstgaven, financed by the Savings Bank Foundation) to name a few.
Above the bar in Marmorsalen, Camilla Løw has left her distinctive mark on Sentralen’s largest venue. Three light installations of neon tubes hang from Marmorsalen's ceiling, right above the bar. These lights are shaped like lightning bolts, and are three metres long. The minimalist and clean expression stands out in stark contrast to the building’s massive, baroque architecture.The work is titled Oscillations, and Løw links its expression to the song of the same name by the band, Silver Apples.
Camilla Løw (b.1976) attended the Glasgow School of Art from 1998 to 2001. Since then she has exhibited in Edinburgh, San Francisco, Paris, Malmö, Berlin, London, Bergen, New York, Cologne, Athens and Stockholm, amongst others. In 2012 she had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo. Løw often works with bright primary colors and geometric shapes and structures.
She likes to use the basic shapes of circle, cube and triangle, and several of her sculptures are in materials such as plexiglass, steel, wood, plastic and concrete.
Løw is represented by the galleries Elastic in Malmø and Jack Henley in New York, and her works have been purchased for Henie Onstad Art Center's sculpture park through Kunstgaven, financed by the Savings Bank Foundation. Løw was the first to receive Statoil’s artist grant in 2007.
- Camilla Løw
The Ikaros Complex
- Christensen & Dahl
Jan Christensen & Marius Dahl
The artwork in Vinterhagen makes active use of the architecture in Sentralen’s physical core, and has a built-in utility function as well. At first glance, the work may look like part of the staircase as it is made of the same material as the banister. The installation follows the banister upwards, but gradually detaches itself and takes several, separate paths upwards towards the ceiling. The work has been given the title Ikaros Complex and refers to the myth of Ikaros, who in Greek mythology was the son of the craftsman and artist Diadalos. Together they attempted to escape from captivity with the help of wings made of wax and feathers. Against his father’s advice not to deviate from the designated route, Icarus flew too close to the sun. His wings melted, and he drowned in the sea below.
«The artwork can be interpreted as an image that the shortest path to the goal in a creative process is not necessarily a straight line» - Christensen, Dahl.
Jan Christensen (b.1977) attended the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in Oslo from 1997 to 2000. He has a varied artistic expression and works in various media and techniques, including sculpture, painting, drawing and photography, often in large formats. Christensen has had a number of solo exhibitions in Norway as well as abroad, including in New York, Berlin, Oslo, Bern, Bergen, Munich, Kristiansand, Viborg, Moss and Drammen.
Christensen often collaborates with Marius Dahl (b.1969), and together they have delivered a large number of art projects in public and private contexts here in Norway. Dahl has previously lived in Istanbul for 15 years, and has participated in many exhibition projects in Turkey. Galleri Ask, Åsgårdstrand (solo exhibition) and the Scholarship Exhibition 2015 at Buskerud Kunstsenter in Drammen are amongst the places he has exhibited in Norway.
When Hanne Friis visited Sentralen for the first time, she immediately got the idea that she wanted to make a sculpture in gold. The idea stems from both the building’s history as bank premises, where it housed people’s valuables and savings, to the present day cultural building that houses valuables of a completely different nature.
«With gold-coloured textiles as a starting point, I wanted to create an open-work that can give rise to many different and contradictory associations and thoughts. It can be about the meaning of value, about knowing the price of everything, but not the value of anything, or the difference between authentic and fake goods. All that glitters is not gold.” - Hanne Friis
The sculpture hangs in the foyer behind The Trustee’s Board Room. The golden strands seemingly seep out of the section where the wall and ceiling meet. As so many times before, Friis plays on the ambivalence between the seductive and the grotesque. The rest of the foyer - walls, floor and ceiling - is in raw concrete, which gives a rough expression in contrast to the shiny and sensual gold sculpture.
Hanne Friis (b.1972) attended the Art Academy in Trondheim from 1992 to1996 focusing on painting and sculpture, and is best known for her sculptural pieces in textiles. She works with time-consuming handcraft techniques where metres of textiles are folded, sewn or wound together into compact, organic sculptures that give a sensation of growth and change. Her work has been purchased by several Norwegian museums and collections such as KODE Bergen, Nordenfjelske Kunstmuseum and Statoil. In recent years, Friis has distinguished herself with textile works in several large exhibitions at for example, the Henie Onstad Art Center (2014), Liljevalchs Konsthall in Stockholm (2014), Lillehammer Art Museum (2013) and in The Vigeland Museum (2013).
- Hanne Friis
- Vanessa Baird
Vanessa Baird has decorated an area on the 4th floor called The Gallery, the passageway adjacent to The Gym.
Here in the passageway called The Gallery, Baird has chosen to paint a mural approximately 10 metres long directly on the wall and around the row of windows. Baird depicts the sea with the horizon directly above the windows and the sandy beach farthest down towards the floor. People and lifebuoys float in the water. Various personal belongings have been washed up onto the beach; suitcases, shoes, jewelry and mobile phones. Someone warms up around a bonfire, and a little girl looks out to sea at those who are swimming towards the beach - and towards us who are viewing the work. The mural elicits strong associations to the enormous tragedies that play out in our seas and waterways again and again, where people risk their lives fleeing.
Vanessa Baird (b. 1963) attended the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry from 1982 to 1985, and has a Master of Arts from the Royal College of Art in London. She works mainly with drawing and painting on paper, in both large and small formats. Her works are often in bright, harmonious colouration, but with a dark and disturbing undertone in her detailed and surreal fairy tale worlds. Baird won Klassekampens Kulturpris /Culture Award in 2013, and was awarded the The Norwegian Lorck Schive Art Award 2015.