At a press conference on February 4, 2010, Norwegian financial investment wizard and billionaire, Sebastian Oksnes announced that he will be pursuing a new line of work—creating giant toys and putting them around his native country. Oksnes is known in Norway for his eccentricities, and Norwegians were unsure whether they should take his announcement seriously.
But yesterday, with the unveiling of the first three creations in Oslo, Bryggen and Trondheim, it became clear that Oksnes is very serious about giving Norway giant toys. He is quoted by the BBC as saying, “I thought, maybe the people would be much happier if there were giant toys all over in addition to the natural beauty of Norway. It gives them something new to look at.”
Sebastian Oskres and Brokk Endresen (his imported armadillo) celebrating the release of their first 3 giant toys in Norway. Oskres’ smile quickly faded as reports of negative public opinion reached him. Photo from yesterday’s Trondheimposten.
Oksens chose to recreate toys that he feels are symbolic of different countries. He told the press yesterday, “I chose to create a Rody from Italy because it looks so friendly and the Tidoo from France because I think she is a very innovative yet serious looking doll. Also I wanted a toy that could take a bath. And I wanted a classic Japanese Toy, so I chose a tin rocket.” Oskens planned to release 3 more giant toys next month, including a 60 foot tall Uglydoll to represent the U.S. and mountainous Lego blocks for Denmark.
However, many Norwegians are unhappy with Oksens and his new company, Yadsloof Lirpa, which oversees the manufacturing and placement of the Giant Toy Project. “Norway isn’t some big toy box,” said Agnar Krogh, a civic worker in Stavanger, “I just hope that our town isn’t on Oskens’s list of future sites”
In less than 24 hours Oksens’ project has created a public outcry, unprecedented in Norway. “If he wants to waste time and money on giant toys during a world recession it’s fine by me,” said Alfhild Krough, founder of the newly formed Oslo-Nei-Plastikk-Inne-Det-Tre-Initiativ, “but he shouldn’t be ruining natural settings and towns. Why don’t you just build a museum please Sebastian?”
Oskres did not respond publically to this or other criticism. However, bystanders said that Oskres appeared to be greatly disturbed as he walked his pet armadillo, Brokk Endresen, last evening. He allegedly told passers-by that he had only meant to make them very happy and that he didn’t understand why no one liked the toys.
It remains to be seen whether Yadsloof Lirpa will continue with their planned projects or even whether the first three giant toys will stay in their present locations. Whatever the future brings for these toys, I think Sebastian Oksnes deserves some credit for trying to make Norway a little brighter.
This has been a Growing Tree Toys Amazing Toys Post. Very special thanks to Allie Van Wagoner of Screwed Up Texan—a quirky blog about family, Texas and the joys of Dr. Pepper—for her photo of Sebastian Oskres and Brokk Endresen. Other photo credits: David Hart, Johan Berge, Agtfjott and TravelMonkey