17 March 2022

Capella children’s activities

Putting ”hand and mind in creative collaboration”, is the overall purpose of Capellagården. So wrote Carl Malmsten in the so called memoandum of association when he started his new school on southern Öland at the end of the 1950s. Here, work should ”be embraced by a close-knit collaboration between master and apprentice … and link tried and tested values with current demands for expressive authenticity.”

Particularly through woodcraft, he saw how children could develop their senses and find an outlet for their creativity. Therefore, it was not a long step to, in our time, start inviting school children for a day at Capella.

“Our new initiative in educational activities for children and young people is completely in line with Carl Malmsten’s intentions,” explains Bodil Anjar, principal of Capellagården.

In autumn 2021, 200 children from year 5 (aged 11-12) participated and the intiative was well received by schools. During their day, the children hear about the World Heritage Site of the Agricultural Landscape of Southern Öland, they learn about the old farms and the layout of villages, and when they walk with a guide along the village street in Vickleby, the farm that Carl Malmsten bought and named Capella, awaits.

“Here, the children will try working with clay and woodcarving, and experience the amazing interaction between hand and mind,” Bodil Anjar says.

Barnhänder som drejar lera.

Among other things, children can try turning and working in clay.

Next summer, a two-day course is planned where parents and children can try woodworking and pottery together. So far, activities are held outdoors or, in bad weather, in the greenhouse or exhibition hall. But the aim is for a new building to be constructed in the southern part of the school, designed by the architect Olle Dahlkild and financed by an anonymous donor.

“The first plans were for a space that was more of a shelter from the weather without walls. But Ladan (the barn), as it is called, has over time grown into a real building with rooms for other activities, courses for textile dyeing, cultivation, etc.”, says Olle Dahlkild.

Concept sketch of the new building.

As the name implies, inspiration comes from the traditional barn, but instead of limestone it will be built in wood with untreated panelling, simple felt roofing and if possible with solar panels. Inside there will be exposed rafters and skylights to let the light in from the north.

“We will use simple materials but of good quality and treat them with care”, Olle Dahlkild sums up his and the school’s ambitions.

An open gate and double doors opening out towards the street conforms with Öland’s building tradition, while sliding doors onto a lawn links the inside with the outside. Here, the children can sit and carve, weather permitting.

The plan is to start building in 2022 with activites moving in the following year.


Text: Dan Gordan