AFRY: Making future, for generations to come
TEXT: Malin Norman
With innovative design solutions for urban environments, workspaces and accommodation, to mention a few, AFRY helps accelerate the transition towards a sustainable society.
AFRY is a global engineering, design and advisory company. In 2019, Swedish ÅF and Finnish Pöyry joined forces under the new name, with almost 17,000 experts covering infrastructure, industry, energy and digitalisation – creating sustainable solutions for generations to come. In architecture and design, the group has more than 500 designers, under a palette of brands within architecture, acoustic design, lighting design, product design, digital design, industrial design and user-experience design.
The same year as the merger, AFRY commissioned YouGov to conduct a survey of more than 5,000 people aged 18 to 35 in six European countries to find out what they want in terms of future cities. During the autumn of 2021, a follow-up survey was conducted, showing the same result. “What was clear before the pandemic and is still true, is that the young generation prefers mid-size cities to mega cities,” says Helena Paulsson, VP and Head of BA Architecture and Design.
More than half of the respondents prefer to live in a community with less than 100,000 inhabitants, and they value sustainability highly. One explanation could be that it’s easier to get the life puzzle to match up without long commutes and high living costs, and while being closer to nature. “This is a renaissance for smaller cities, and we are looking at how we can design and build future cities where people thrive and want to stay.”
Inspiring acoustic design
“Sound is such an interesting aspect in design and architecture. The aim is not to simply reduce noise, but to use sound as a design feature to enhance visual experiences, increase awareness of functionalities, or improve a physical space,” says Paulsson. “And our audio-branding services help companies to use the power of sound to add meaning to their products or services and increase brand awareness.”
Efterklang, a part of AFRY, delivers award-winning work within acoustics, vibration and sound design. The team creates unique sound environments, reinforcing emotions and encouraging collaboration, concentration, play and learning. One recent project is Arena Sergel, a co-working space in Stockholm with a focus on well-being. The concept offers flex-work stations, meeting rooms and lounge areas – all with a coherent multisensory theme. The key is a well-balanced interplay between acoustic measures and psychoacoustically anchored sound design, so everyone can choose the sound environment that suits them best.
Another recent commission, Liljevalchs+, opened earlier this year and is an extension to the famous art gallery designed by architects Wingårdhs. Efterklang carried out the acoustic design with great consideration for aspects such as sound insulation and noise reduction. Additionally, the project included room-acoustic design, which aims to optimise sound distribution in the space.
Underwater and park lights
AFRY also works with innovative light solutions. One of Light Bureau’s projects is Under, Europe’s first underwater restaurant, using light to promote marine biodiversity while teaching visitors about marine life. Working closely with world renowned architects Snøhetta, Light Bureau developed a lighting design for the restaurant in Norway that extends beyond the interiors and into the water, visually connecting the interiors with the ocean outside.
Light Bureau received the Award of Excellence at the 38th annual International Lighting Design Awards for its design in Kungsträdgården in Stockholm. The new lighting strategy highlights the cultural and historical value of this urban park. The luminaires, made up of two concentric cylinders, are specifically designed for the site and connected to a two-tier control system, allowing the electric light to intertwine with the natural light throughout the day.
Another award-winning project is the playful and dynamic lighting design at The Musicon Path in Roskilde, Denmark. The pump track is designed to create an experience out of the ordinary for cyclists, skaters and bystanders, and the interactive lighting is a flow of water designed to invite people to use the pump track and put it into play at night.
More playful design projects
Synvillan, by architects Sandellsandberg, is a nature residence located at Eriksberg in Blekinge. The mirrored villa, an optical illusion, is elevated on pillars and allows visitors to sleep securely surrounded by wild animals. Through a glass panel in the floor, visitors have the chance to see European bison, red deer, fallow deer, mouflon and wild boar that roam freely in the fenced nature reserve. In 2021, the project was awarded with Plåtpriset for its simplicity, playfulness and material choice.
Koncept, another of AFRY’s architecture brands, has designed the interior of Viking Line’s new ship Viking Glory, in operation from 2022. The stylish interior can be described as timelessly innovative and homey, but with a golden touch. There is nothing to obscure the view, and with focus on the full-height panoramic windows to the surrounding archipelago, you always get front-row seats.
Take part in AFRY's Future Cities survey: https://afry.com/sites/default/files/2021-10/afry_future_cities_survey_2021_en.pdf Web: www.afry.com Facebook: afry.official Instagram: @afry.official
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