Artist/designer: Trude Westby Nordmark, Asplan Viak. Title: ‘Balansegang’ 2010. Art consultants: Gunnar Fretheim, Linda Saveholt.
In 2007, Trondheim municipality called for submissions for a competition to design the new park on the old circus lot at Lade, between Lade allé and Harald Hårfagres gate. ‘Balansegang’ by artist Trude Westby Nordmark and consultancy Asplan Viak was chosen as the winning entry, and a team of landscape architects from Asplan’s Trondheim office designed the park in close collaboration with the artist and lighting supplier Stokkan lys AS.
The theme for the park draws inspiration from the site’s past as a circus location. This was the starting point for the project, for the landscape architects and particularly for the artist. The park went under the working title ‘Sirkusparken’ (“Circus Park”) during the planning and construction phases, but following enthusiastic debate in the local area of Lade it was given the more neutral name, Ladeparken (“Lade Park”).
The site’s 30 years of circus history has nevertheless been preserved in the naming of several parts of the park, such as Orkesterplass (“Ringside”), Piskesnerten (“Whip’s end”) and a playground called Klovn (“Clown”). In 2008, ceramicist Trude Westby Nordmark, originally from Trondheim, started production of numerous installations and sculptures that would eventually be placed around the park. Even these elements carry connotations to the circus life that used to take place on the site. Among them are a number of seats inspired by circus stools for elephants, a large hammock with obvious associations to the trapeze, and a folded “circus tent” made from metal. The shape is partially abstract, but easily fits into the overall circus theme. The bright red portal at the main entrance also makes clear references to the entrance of a circus tent.
Ladeparken won the accolade “best communal meeting place in Norway” 2013, an award given out for the first time in five years. The jury stated, “Ladeparken is a local park which distinguishes itself because of its green qualities and varied experiences offered to the local area. A municipality giving priority to green spaces in an area that is under huge development pressure is leading by good example. This bears evidence of long-term thinking and prioritisation of green values in the town improvement plans.”