PHOTO © JOSHUA GROSS
PHOTO © JOSHUA GROSS
PHOTO © JOSHUA GROSS

Playfully respectful buildings

TEXT: LOUISE OLDER STEFFENSEN | PHOTO © JOSHUA GROSS

For the past ten years, Martin Kallesø Arkitekter have designed homes, summer houses and commercial buildings across Denmark. Though they have gained a great deal of experience and know-how over the years, the process has never become routine. “Each project is different, and that’s the way it should be,” says Martin Kallesø. “Every client is different and every setting is different. The fun lies in creating a unique building every time, which will fulfil the needs and exceed the expectations of the client.”

“A well-designed building fits into the context it is in,” says Kallesø. “How do we make the locality part of the building? The result should be daring but respectful and, of course, suit the client. If we manage that, the building becomes sustainable long-term.” Kallesø is personally involved with each project and works closely with the client, from the first consulting call to the key handover. “For me, that close partnership with the client is crucial. I need to hear exactly what they want and what visions they have, in order to understand the building we’ll be making together. Then collaboration hopefully results in something even they hadn’t imagined.”

The respect for context and client, as well as the playfulness of Kallesø’s buildings, become apparent in two similar-sounding recent projects in Faxe and Veddinge. Both are black, modern summer houses, but their characters differ wildly. The house in Veddinge Bakker is unapologetically modern and luxurious, with windows facing the sea at every angle. At the same time, however, the building’s glass, angles and grassy roof blend in with the stunning nature surrounding it. “As with every project, we spent a lot of time on location during the design stage,” Kallesø explains. “With Veddinge being as open as it is, we really had to pay close attention to make sure that consideration of factors like harsh winds, not obstructing the views of hikers and obtaining privacy had a positive, not negative, impact on the building.”

The summer house in Faxe had a smaller budget and would be placed in a heavily populated summer house area. Almost all the area’s buildings were wooden, dark and had pitched roofs. “We had to stay within those constrictions, but that was also what made it fun. Overall, we maintained that classic summer house expression, but in a way that works for 2018 and which, most importantly, created the light, open and flexible modern home that the family wanted.”

Martin Kallesø Arkitekter have competed in several international competitions and are open to clients both in Denmark and beyond.

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