Bringing new life and co-working to an underused office space
When Strategisk Arkitektur, one of Sweden’s larger architectural firms, was commissioned to review the existing premises of a finance company in central Stockholm, we were still in the midst of the pandemic. It was then becoming clear that Covid would cause major changes in the workplace, and “The office of the future” had become high on the agenda of Swedish companies.
The assignment was to find a new function and identity for a central area of the headquarters, an atrium in the middle of the premises. Interior Architect for the project was Anna Harbom at Strategisk Arkitektur. The conditions for creating something new were good, but an entirely new identity and function were needed for the space.
“The atrium and the café were bustling during lunchtime, but everyone returned to their workplaces afterwards. We gave the space a whole new function: a coworking space where employees could come and go during the day,” Anna explains.
Circular thinking became central to all the work. In the new café, employees can start the day with breakfast, come back for lunch and recharge their batteries for the afternoon. Circular thinking is also manifested in the design, the choice of materials, and the reuse of existing furnishings. Eighty per cent of the existing furnishings have been reused and given new expressions.
An important partner in the assignment was Bröderna Perssons Specialsnickeri in the town Bromölla, one of Sweden’s leading specialist carpentries. Blå Station, Karl Andersson & Söner and Mitab contributed with carefully selected furniture.
“Bröderna Persson is incredibly good at construction, production and materials, and we come in with the conceptual thinking and design. In our future environments, we have to try to manage the furnishings that are already in place in the best possible way, and I think the carpentries will play an increasingly important role in that,” says Anna.
“With our role in the project, we see ourselves not only as a furniture manufacturer but also as a partner. With our knowledge behind us, we want the architect to feel confident working with us to turn their ideas into a finished product. Reuse and circular thinking come naturally to us,” says Staffan Johnsson, CEO at Bröderna Persson.
Anna says that they haven’t rebuilt much in the space, but all the changes in the surface layers and new furniture have made a huge difference. It’s a good example of managing what you have, which she thinks we’ll see a lot of in the future as reuse and circularity become more critical.
Photo, Erik Lefvander.