Linstow Center Management presents a design item: sundial – Origo Universi as a gift to Riga


On November 14, a nine-metre wide interactive and educational design object – Origo Universi sundial – was opened at the Railway Terminal Square near the Origo shopping centre. The sundial will stimulate residents and guests of Riga to find out the time and learn about Latvian medieval castles and the most significant objects in European cities. The design object is a gift from Linstow Center Management to the city and its residents in anticipation of the approaching Riga – European Capital of Culture 2014.

The Deputy Chairman of Riga City Council Andris Ameriks says: “Not only do the large clocks of Riga show the time, they also serve as traditional and favourite places for arranging meetings or dates for people. Now Riga also has its own sundial – Origo Universi. It is another reason to meet! I would love to wish to always have the desire, time and friends with whom to arrange meetings with, and feel light and happy together for all of us! I would like to thank the authors of the project and Linstow Center Management for the interesting idea and the work invested in the implementation thereof!”

Riga can be proud of its ancient traditions, and international recognition of how the businesses have developed and improved the architectural value of Riga. A new and innovative design object in the city is an event in the daily life of the residents, and it adds a new twist to the aesthetics of the architecture of Riga. In terms of its location, message, quality of technology and design, the new object – Origo Universi sundial – aspires to become a contemporary solution and a challenge both for the client and the author. The object demonstrates the values of the client and provokes the resident of the city to communicate (attracts attention, surprises, arouses interest, etc.). I can only wish for this object to find its unique place in the busy lives of the residents of Riga, and by its example to provide inspiration for further cooperation between businesses and the city, while developing the architecture of the city,” Gvido Princis, the director of RPA Riga City Architect Bureau and the architect of the City of Riga says.

“Linstow Center Management does good things, which are so closely related to significant areas of the city environment – the Railway Terminal Square where the Origo Summer Stage and numerous exhibitions are held. It is a pleasure to know that businesses feel responsible for the city environment, especially considering that it is not easy to manage a good public environment in the very centre of the city. We participate in worldwide culture events by creating such monumental and high quality objects, and position ourselves among other significant objects in the world,” says Jānis Dripe, the supernumerary adviser of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia on issues of architectural development.

Frode Grønvold, the management board chairman of SIA Linstow Centre Management says: “The location of the design object is in excellent harmony with the Latin name of the shopping centre Origo – symbolising the beginning of all coordinates. In 2014 Riga will be the European Capital of Culture, which is one of Europe’s most significant and prestigious cultural projects. It will be marked by a series of events and festivals throughout the year. Linstow Center Management wishes to provide their contribution before the implementation of this significant project and to present the Origo Universi sundial to the city, and its residents during the traditional Staro Rīga festival of light. Linstow Center Management presents this design object in its historical location, the Railway Terminal Square, next to the shopping centre Origo, which has long been used as a point of reference for measuring distances from the capital to other towns in Latvia.”

Diāna Čivle, the head of Foundation Riga 2014, says: “Just over 400 days are left until Riga assumes this honourable title, and will take pride in being the European Capital of Culture for a year. We are especially glad that we are getting ready for this important event together with businesses, who take a responsible attitude towards the city’s culture and environment by investing in its improvement. The object of the city environment – Origo Universi sundial – has been included in the program of Staro Rīga festival, as it will be lighted up during the dark time of the day.”

Valdis Majevskis, the author of the concept and design, says: “Origo Universi sundial is both a significant and educating object – and its greatest value lies in being interactive. With the participation of residents and guests of the city, by raising their hands in sunny weather, exact time readings can be taken. The object also stimulates acquaintance with 11 castles and palaces in Latvia, and the most significant culture heritage objects in European cities. This object is situated in a UNESCO heritage site – the historical centre of Riga – Railway Terminal Square, which is one of the most significant public spaces of the capital.  The object is not only a new piece of art in the city environment, but an example of green and sustainable thinking, as the light elements used in its design are energy efficient – being charged by the Sun.”

The location of the design object has been selected based on the location of the Sun during the day, in order to ensure minimum shading of the object. It is developed in the form of a horizontal object, which is included within a round space and has a diameter of 9 metres. Meanwhile, the dial has been made as a crescent-shaped ellipsis with a diameter of seven metres. More than 200 solar LED lighting elements are incorporated in the Origo Universi sundial. These will light the sundial during the dark times of day by using solar power. The author of the idea, concept and design of Origo Universi sundial is designer Valdis Majevskis, who work on the project in cooperation with  with Dr. sc. Comp. Mārtiņš Gills.