Krook & Tjäder: Built on great relationships
Text: Liz Longden | Photos © Krook & Tjäder
A s one of Sweden’s largest architecture firms, with a portfolio crammed with prestige projects and an international profile, you might expect the offices of Krook & Tjäder to be slightly intimidating. But you would be wrong. For here, the success of every project, large and small, is built upon a foundation of openness and approachability.
Krook & Tjäder this year celebrates 30 years in business. Over that time, the company has operated in 19 different countries and consolidated itself as one of Scandinavia’s leading names in the fields of architecture, urban development and interior design. With eight offices giving comprehensive geographic coverage of Sweden and a ninth in Oslo, the firm has built up a team of around 250, offering a comprehensive range of expertise.
Despite its size and achievements, however, CEO Johan von Wachenfeldt says that the ethos of the company, and the secret to its success, is based on a simple philosophy: that “good relationships lead to good architecture.” More specifically, that good communication, openness and old-fashioned friendliness, foster confidence in clients, enabling his team to gain a much better understanding of their needs. “Of course, we have an extremely high level of competence and always strive to remain professional, but we also believe it’s very important to really engage with people on a personal level,” von Wachenfeldt explains. “It’s a philosophy that we have grown up with, from the very beginning.”
Diversity and flexibility
The strength of these personal relationships is one reason why Krook & Tjäder have been entrusted with some of Sweden’s biggest architectural projects.
Although the firm works within many different areas, hotel design is one niche in which it excels, and Krook & Tjäder are considered by many to be leaders in the field, with a portfolio of over 400 hotel projects worldwide. It is not surprising, therefore, that the company is currently working on two of the highest profile hotel projects in Denmark. The Comfort Hotel, located by Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport, is a new 600-room hotel and conference centre, with a striking, contemporary aesthetic inspired by aeronautical innovation. The Post Hotel, on the other hand, is a conversion of the historic former head office of the Royal Danish Post Office, due to open in the centre of Copenhagen in 2020.
Alongside these large-scale, flagship projects, however, there are many other smaller, but no less impressive examples. A 14-room hotel, converted from an old engine shed and situated in the wilderness, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, might seem a world away from cosmopolitan Copenhagen, but the Niehku Mountain Villa boutique hotel and ski lodge has been lovingly crafted with the same skill and pride as its larger counterparts. “We enjoy being a part of the large, prestige projects, of course, but we get just as much pleasure and satisfaction from the smaller ones too,” says von Wachenfeldt. “They have the same importance for us, and we have a place for them all.”
This diversity is made possible by the broad spectrum of skills which Krook & Tjäder’s extensive team offers. Thanks to close collaboration between its nine offices, the firm can put together the perfect team for any project, irrespective of size or nature. The company also prides itself on the faith it places in the members of its team, which enables individuals to develop their own strengths and to bring pride and passion to their work. “We have a faith in our colleagues that is, I think, quite unusual in this industry. We trust their competence and their desire to manage their own projects, so that many of those who work for us have an almost entrepreneurial spirit,” says von Wachenfeldt. “They know that they have the opportunity to make a difference here.”
This individual autonomy means that most of Krook & Tjäder’s team members are in direct contact with their clients, ensuring that they have the best possible understanding of those clients’ needs. And this, von Wachenfeldt argues, is essential to the architect’s role.
“We feel that the role of an architect is to be a strategic partner – that it isn’t just about designing a building, but also really understanding our client’s business – what they need, what they want to achieve, understanding their finances and so on.” It is that knowledge, he explains, coupled with experience and expertise, which enables Krook & Tjäder to help their clients in a way in which no one else is as well placed to do. “With that influence we have, we can do good. And that means putting people at the centre,” von Wachenfeldt adds. “Everything we do is based around that belief.”
Do you want to work with Krook & Tjäder? The firm’s strength lies in personal meetings, warmth and openness, with knowledge that stretches across the building process, from local plans right through to final detailed drawings. Strong teams in nine locations in Sweden and Norway offer geographic coverage and creative diversity, and stand for solid competence that ensures the highest quality in projects of any size.
Krook & Tjäder Facts Founded: 1988, by B-O Krook and Stefan Tjäder CEO: Johan von Wachenfeldt Total employees: 250 Locations: Göteborg, Malmö, Stockholm, Borås, Halmstad, Uppsala, Östersund, Kristianstad, Oslo Web: krooktjader.se
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