HUNDREDS OF DETAILS HIDDEN AWAY IN DISCREET AESTHETICS
The original load-bearing wooden framework is clear throughout the entire building, formerly the old Customs House on Stockholm’s harbour. Today, Ferdinand Boberg’s beautiful industrial building houses one of the world’s most influential museums of contemporary photography, showing 15-20 exhibitions a year. On the top floor, the building’s world-class café and restaurant attracts people from all walks of life.
The original three-storey 1910 building has been preserved in its attractive, red brick art nouveau style. The load-bearing beams maintain this contact with history in the building’s interior, where they attract one’s gaze with their strength and resilience.
Walking through the building, you pass through the exhibition space in soft, dampened tones, each one slightly different from the other. It’s simple and warm, and with these subtly changing background colours, the experience throughout the 5.500 m2 museum alters discreetly, without it ever overpowering the artworks on display.
The arrival to the top floor is an architectural climax, both aesthetically and functionally. There is space for everything: firstly, with a kind of informal foyer, where you can move around freely, digest experiences and relax, without necessarily having to buy anything. Space has also been made for a café and finally, a restaurant. Positive proof that there is some substance to the museum’s lofty ambitions of offering artistic experiences – “for everyone!”
On the top floor, the relationship between the exhibition and the space is reversed. The beautiful Stockholm Archipelago is displayed through the windows along the facade, while the dark wood floors and furnishings of the room form a serene, calm backdrop. It feels soft and soothing; shapes are rounded, and all tones have been kept to the same spectrum. Nothing detracts from the view.
The architectural ambitions culminate in the restaurant. As one starts to notice the details, something starts to appear – precisely as one might experience a photographic masterpiece. The chairs are different. The upholstery is not all the same. Everywhere, it seems, something new is happening, subtly opening the viewer’s eyes up to new stories about shapes, materials, light and shadow. In the midst of all this soft, rounded design is something, which stands in direct contrast: with a subtle sharpness, the Grand Prix™ chair pops up over the edge of the table between the other chairs around it and adds an edginess to the room, a hint of dynamism, a feeling of excitement.
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Project completed: 2014
Interior architect: Space Copenhagen
Areas: Restaurant, Dining hall
Products: Grand Prix™