The House of Scandinavia at SXSW may be a relatively new concept, but the seeds of a temporary meeting place to exchange ideas were actually sown a long way back in SAS’ history.
As travelers meet up at the new House of Scandinavia at SXSW in Austin this month, they will enjoy a not dissimilar experience to those intrepid fliers who traveled with SAS in the early days of its long-haul journeys.
On flights from Scandinavia to Tokyo starting from 1956, the plane would have to make nine stops. At each location SAS had lounges for its travelers, hubs created for comfort and convenience, which soon evolved to important meeting points.
In many ways, the House of Scandinavia is an extension of the same idea. From its first appearance at SXSW in -Austin in 2018, and soon to be a central part of SAS’ presence in Tokyo at this summer’s Olympics and in Beijing at the 2022 Winter Olympics, the pop-up venue, built on shared Scandinavian values and showcasing the best the region has to offer, is a hub for displaying new technological -innovations, exciting ideas, culture, food, art and sustainable solutions.
Central to SAS’ presence at SXSW is the installation of the House of Scandinavia pop-up venue for the third year in a row, this time at a new location along the banks of the Colorado River.
“SAS wants to be an enabler for people from different places and cultures to meet each other and share learning from - Scandinavia with the rest of the world – and vice versa. Ultimately, it’s about making the point that aviation matters,” Frank Otterbeck, Senior Project Leader for SAS at SXSW, says.
The venue and its position are key to the concept, he adds.
“The location is much better this year because it’s a dedicated space and the environment is much more ‘Scandinavian.’ Most of the venue is outside which gives us the opportunity to run outdoor activities, reflecting the way of life in our region and how we manage our work/life -balance,” Otterbeck says.
Once again, SAS is laying on full -daily programs of talks, discussion groups, food, entertainment and more at the House of Scandinavia
“We saw last year that SXSW can have a great impact,” Otterbeck says. “And this year even more so, because our CEO -Rickard Gustafson, together with Airbus, will be holding an official SXSW session on the future of aviation.”
In terms of House of Scandinavia partnerships, not surprisingly, sustainability is a “red thread” throughout the program once again, as is the sharing of SAS’ ambition to bring people of different cultures and nations together. For these reasons, new collaborators, such as renowned Danish restaurant Kadeau, which is running a pop-up outdoor grill restaurant, Norway’s prestigious Munchmuseet and furniture makers Takt and Vestre, join the list of returning partners which includes Roskilde Festival and Aquavit drinks -specialist -Arcus, all displaying, in their own separate ways, what makes Scandinavia and its people tick.