When you were a kid, were you a collector? Train sets, stamps, paper dolls, coins, bugs…?
When his wife said, “Get a hobby!” Christian Ringnes, heir to a brewery fortune, decided to revamp his boyhood collection of mini bottles and take it to new heights. He bought a three-story building in the centre of Oslo and established the world’s largest mini bottle collection – The Mini Bottle Gallery.
The museum comprises 53,000 bottles, about a quarter of which are displayed in all sorts of imaginative installations. And we’re not just talking liquor; bottles are filled with everything from berries to worms, mice and Ringnes’ favourite, a Taiwanese cobra snake.
It’s a very popular venue; adults and children celebrate their birthdays, companies have parties or working lunches, vernissages, premiere parties and press conferences are organised here.
Entering, you’re greeted by a champagne tower. After that, everything becomes curiouser and curiouser. In this surreal place, it’s easy to feel like Alice in Wonderland. If you accidentally bump into the bottle of Absolut in the hall, then walk inside it, you’d be forgiven for thinking you might have drunk some of Alice’s shrinking-potion.
It doesn’t stop at bottles. You can also get on a slide and end up in a fright cabinet. (More Alice). Oh, and the loos? They look like brothels. The ladies’ room is pink. Bright, hot pink – with boas and bras casually slung over gilded mirrors. The men’s room, you ask? Didn’t enter. But a model penis was displayed at eye level in the door.
Entering The Mini Bottle Gallery, you wonder if the place is real. Leaving, you’re still not sure.
Facade photo on top courtesy of The Mini Bottle Gallery. All other photos: Anne-Sophie Redisch