Tengbom: Careful restoration and innovative architecture
By Malin Norman
Constantly pushing the boundaries, Tengbom creates beautiful buildings and spaces that enrich people’s lives, strengthen its clients, and bring our society into the future.
Ranked as one of the world’s most innovative architectural firms by Fast Company, Stockholm-based Tengbom has a long history. Founded in 1906, yet constantly looking ahead, two of its recent projects show how, through architecture, the team helps clients push boundaries and make the world a better place.
The first example, Östermalm’s Market Hall and Hotel, is proof of respectful adaptation for the future. Arlanda VIP Services, the second project, encompasses the essence of Nordic luxury in an exclusive escape from the outside world, inspired by Scandinavian culture and nature.
Östermalm’s Market Hall – a top culinary destination
With the comprehensive renovation of the old Östermalm’s Market Hall, Tengbom has preserved a part of Stockholm’s history, returning the market hall to its former glory while creating a new way to experience the top-ranking culinary destination. The restoration involved some challenges: putting the venue’s history to use and keeping its original character, while also meeting modern requirements. “We wanted to enhance the visitor experience without degrading this wonderful building’s cultural value,” says Mark Humphreys, lead architect at Tengbom.
Tengbom discovered that the original symmetrical layout of the market stalls from 1888 actually facilitated a much better pedestrian flow through the building. And, after scraping off layers of paint, the interior’s original colour scheme was revealed to be beautifully multi-coloured. The building’s character was carefully restored whilst including more access points and opening up the space, as per the original plan. New balconies overlooking the market hall were incorporated, as well as elevators and additional toilets for improved accessibility. The result is a uniform and harmonious experience.
A new addition is a hotel in connection to the market hall. An old industrial sweet factory and an Art Nouveau residential building, spanning two different eras and characters, have been combined into a chic boutique hotel. They circle a courtyard covered with an elegant glass roof, designed to feel like an extension of the sky. This is a meeting place, but also a shortcut into the market hall which, according to Humphreys, establishes a new sense of energy and flow to the neighbourhood. “Passers-by can take a shortcut from Nybrogatan via the hotel and market hall to Humlegårdsgatan, which also benefits commercial activity in both buildings.”
Arlanda VIP Services – the essence of Nordic luxury
Arlanda VIP Services is another spectacular project designed by Tengbom. Completed in 2018, the VIP terminal at Arlanda airport in Stockholm makes travelling easy and enjoyable whilst providing relaxation and a down-to-earth Scandinavian experience for influential travellers such as celebrities, politicians and royals. The free-standing hub within the airport is one of very few of its kind around the globe.
The architectural concept takes inspiration from Swedish landscape and culture, and builds on the contrasting relationship between hard and cold, soft and warm. The discreet outer shell in concrete offers protection for the building and its guests, whilst the interior, in natural colours and materials such as wood and leather, creates a warm, welcoming ambience. One of the challenges was the need to restrict views into the building for security purposes. The solution was to let windows face upwards – providing lots of daylight whilst ensuring anonymity.
“When we think of exclusive spaces from an international perspective, this often involves the use of expensive, rare materials and luxury furnishings,” Humphreys says. “But luxury in Scandinavia has more to do with freedom, tranquillity and closeness to nature.” Arlanda VIP Services offers a taste of the Scandinavian lifestyle, a slower pace where guests can escape their everyday stresses, switch off from the buzz for a while, and prepare for their onward journey.
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