The nest at Røst

Steven Baines

Il Nido, the Nest, arrived at Røst securely packaged in a wooden box filled with straw, and once again triggered the debate about where it would be placed. The sculptor, Luciano Fabro, strongly wished to tuck the sculpture away on top of an inaccessible mountain top, whereas some local politicians wanted to decorate the lawn outside of the Health Centre.

After a heated debate and diplomatic negotiations, a compromise was reached, and landowners agreed to place the sculpture temporarily at Yst Øran, a long and narrow, hilly isthmus to the west on Røst, with the open ocean as its closest neighbour. With the help of a small dumper truck, the sculpture was carefully transported out onto the isthmus and placed in a small depression in the landscape.

In order to install the sculpture in its final location, one would have to use a helicopter. If this had taken place as planned, the sound of the helicopter would disturb the birds on the island, and there was a risk that hatchlings would fall out of their nests. Il Nido sat on Øran for a little over a year, well visited by hikers and ignored by breeding terns and seagulls, before it headed out on the final leg of its journey to Vedøya, a bird cliff home to several hundre throusand seafowl.

When the breeding season was over, the sculpture was transported by helicopter, supplied by Helikopter Service, under the expert guidance of Fabro, and eased into place on a ledge on the cliffside.

Here, Il Nido sits, gleaming white against the dark rock, surrounded by the shrill screams of kittiwakes in the summer, lonely and abandoned in the winter. A tribute to nature's powers and a reminder of human transience. 

Orientation from the artist, february 1993:

1. The present hill (chosen to make the exposures on) is moving, it is flexible and soft (sand)

2. The exposures that I'm going to make will be heavy. If you consider the size and scale, one exposure will weigh approx. 10-15 tons.

3. Because of the weight, humidity and inclined plane we need to think of how to get the surface stronger. An architect suggested:
a) special injections to the ground
b) drainage on the surface of the hill
c) planting special grass

- Making ferro-concrete construction in box shape and building stones into it (weight approx. 8 tons, needs special support as foundation, pole)
- Using wooden piles for the breast-wall on the spot (this will be less expensive, less heavy but also less stabile). [...]

FOR THE FERRO - CONCRETE BOXES (thickness of the plate 10 cm)
- approx. 15 m3 of concrete (about 30 tons)
- For the masonry work we need approx. 10-15 m3 of found stones (20-30 tons) and cement solution


For the piece I'd need 
- 2 m3 white marble
- to cut into 400 pieces, 25x20x15 each
- to weld metal construction to fix marble pieces on
- to glue marble on the construction (using 5 min transparent Epoxy Glue)
- Fixing with the cement solution from the inside =,5 m3

- 0,6 m3 of the Arctic black granite
- To make it from 3 pieces: 220x45x20, 200x30x30, 200x30x30

- 0,6 m3 of the Arctic black granite
- 340x50x40 in one piece"