New Order Arkitektur: Interior decorating with creative integrity
By John Sempill
How do you create an atmosphere that complements its surroundings without being too obvious, yet is simultaneously bold and in harmony with your client’s vision? This is a balance that architecture firm New Order Arkitektur has mastered.
Who knows, if it were not for the British post-punk band of the same name, New Order Arkitektur might not even exist. Just as influential as the group was in the ‘80s are founders Frida Sjöstam and Victor Alm in their journey to turn ideas and visions into three-dimensional spaces. Whether it’s an office, a beauty salon, a conference hall or a hotel, they are up for it, with no project being too small.
“If it’s an office, we need to understand what the business behind it is about, and what its needs are,” says Alm, “and then help the client understand what needs they might have in the future. If we share a vision and a goal, we have the basis for a great project.”
“A client knows what their business is, but our knowledge is how to plan and create their vision in three dimensions,” adds Sjöstam. “How can we challenge them, both spatially and functionally, and help them put it all together?”
In a way, you could describe them as interpreters – interpreting ideas and turning them into areas that rhyme with the client’s needs. But sometimes mere rhyming isn’t the best way to go. One example they bring up is restaurant chains – they lack in personality and “are too generic and a little too easy to code,” as Sjöstam puts it. “We are advocates of the unique,” adds Alm. “We aren’t happy if we see something that looks like everything else. We always strive to take the next step.”
It is clear they have an eye for it, too. Some of their exciting projects include Lynk&Co Club, a showroom, meeting space and boutique for the car sharing company Lynk&Co; a new theme park hotel, Liseberg Grand Curiosa Hotel; and an ultra-modern playground in the heart of Gothenburg.
The Lynk&Co showroom was particularly fitting for New Order Arkitektur, thanks to the company’s unique vision for showcasing their product. “It came naturally,” says Alm. “Lynk&Co themselves are pushing to move away from the traditional way of marketing a car, which is probably why we work well together. They want it to feel like a boutique, or a club. You’re not supposed to realise what it is.”
It has obviously been a successful collaboration, to date counting two Lynk&Co Clubs and several pop-up locations throughout Europe. But that’s not all. “Now we’re working on their main offices in Gothenburg, a brand-new building that will house offices like no one’s ever experienced them before,” teases Sjöstam.
The aforementioned playground project is currently in progress and is one they are especially proud of. It is a collaboration with artists Patrik Bengtsson and Daniel EKTA Götesson. “We enjoy collaborating, it’s something that inspires us a lot,” continues Sjöstam. “We love bringing in other sources of expertise. We also invite other architects to get ideas going and introduce fresh perspectives. For this project, we’ve also produced everything. It will be something very unique.”
By the look of things, New Order Arkitektur is not planning to slow its pace anytime soon. 450 rooms, with five beds in each, including market halls, restaurants and a conference centre at the upcoming Liseberg Grand Curiosa Hotel will surely keep the pair busy. This 35,000-square-metre project is a collaboration with YAAM Art & Architecture and is scheduled to open in 2023.
“We want to be a high-quality, compact firm that people come to when they need something specific,” says Alm. “Or if they need an interesting collaboration, whether they are a contractor, an artist or another architecture firm.”
Sjöstam and Alm seem to be the perfect business pairing for the job. Sjöstam’s experience in construction architecture combined with Alm’s résumé, spanning carpentry, interior and furniture design, means they have it all in-house, including a team consisting of ten or so talented people. The fact that the duo has roots in the village of Aneby, nestled in the Swedish woods of Småland – coincidentally the same landscape that inspired a certain Ingvar Kamprad – can only be considered a positive, too.
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