Gro Havdal
Architect and owner of Hav-Dal
KOKOON Portraits # 12

Gro Havdal grew up on a farm just outside Trondheim in Norway surrounded by nature and her Islandic horses. Today she lives in the centre of Copenhagen with her French husband and their two children age seven and four. Her firm Hav-Dal creates hand-made wall sculptures depicting the level curves of a specific area.


What turning points have defined you?

Just 19 years old I packed a backpack and together with my girlfriend Maria, we moved from Trondheim to Copenhagen. Coming from the country to a city like Copenhagen was really exciting. The years passed and the city grew smaller the more people I got to know. And suddenly you realize Copenhagen is also a provincial town.


What does a typical workday look like?

They don’t exist… Originally, I’m trained as an architect, but I only worked at a practice for one and a half year. Since 2014 I have worked for Karrusel, a three-day freeform festival in Odense sort of similar to Distortion in Copenhagen. And I have my own firm, Hav-Dal.com, where I make sculptural imprints based on the topography of an area. Here I can unfold my interest in materials and surfaces. Also, I am a mother; the biggest job of them all.


What does art mean to you?

Art is an important part of me. It’s something I need in my everyday life. I really enjoy visiting art exhibitions.


What matters most to you?

It’s important to make the right life choices – not just the easiest and most obvious. It’s at this age our children are formed and our decisions impact who they become. These days I speculate a lot about where my family and I live. Is it necessarily in the city? I grew up on a farm riding where I rode islandic horses. I always thought I would live on a gigantic farm. Now these dreams are reoccurring.


What tends to annoy you?

Mice in our holiday home… No really, lots of things annoy me. It’s actually funny how many things annoy us on a daily basis. And instead of getting calmer with age, I find, that I get more annoyed over stupid stuff.


Do you cry easily?

It’s not often I cry, but I’m easily touched. If somebody shares a sad story or I watch a movie (even some stupid girly stuff), I tend to tear up.


What does your gender mean to you?

I love being a woman, but it would be fun being a man for just a day or two. I don’t feel discriminated at work or elsewhere, but I find it quite unfair when women are in charge of the household and bring in the money.


What is love to you?

Everything. You can always give more. And love is never wasted, even when you get nothing in return.

A wall sculpture depicting a part of Hysnes, NorwayMy husband and I getting married in the mountains back home in Norway

My children enjoying life outsideA house I designed

My son Anton at the farm in NorwayThis is my favourite spot; the view from our summer cottage at Odden. Here we spend most of our weekends

My daughter Elsa and I in Norway where we spend Christmas every yearOn horseback at Odden

Detail shot from previous workMe at our summer cottage