From Bold to Elegantly Played — Interview with Andreas Martin-Löf Arkitekter & Frama Studio
A genuine example of a duo of creative minds, Andreas Martin-Löf and Niels Strøyer Christophersen, revealing their shared ideology through a sensory journey of Spatial Sensibilities that took place in the newly renovated premises of Andreas Martin-Löf Arkitekter.
Being an interior architect specialized in housing and having done quite many large-scale projects in the past ten years – where a lot was in the area of old buildings conversion – Andreas Martin-Löf found himself drawn to collecting objects and furniture pieces along the phases of demolishing and renewing the past. This act of curiosity has brought him to a collection of around ten stools in which, throughout time, one of them has become a favorite of his; one that embodied a particular character and has led him to replicate yet experiment with it.
“Of course, even by doing a replica – it’s still designing, because you meet carpenters who can or can’t do certain things and they want to do it their own right way.”
Cherishing the craft aspect was of high importance. After a long-going development of a new stool together with FRAMA, with a lot of back and forth work selecting the ideal type of wood and the eventual carpenter to produce it with, the very first prototype took its shape and was showcased in the new premises of Andreas during Stockholm Design Week in February 2019.
“The current stool will appear in two editions – the one that was displayed in Stockholm and the darker one, which is more of a walnut color. Perhaps we could do the stool in terrazzo as an upcoming version.”
Having met almost 3 years ago through a mutual friend of both – Hanna Nova Beatrice, Editor-in-Chief of the Residence Magazine – it was meant to be a pure friendship rather than a work-oriented relationship. But this significant appreciation of each other’s work and approach has grown into a highly professional and intuitive synergy, joining both creative forces in a collaboration driven by curiosity.
“Both our companies are quite different from each other. I would say, AML is a typical Stockholm-based architectural office thinking out of the box, and FRAMA is probably more of a typical Copenhagen-based design company, although also thinking out of the box. Having that in mind, it builds a lot of surfaces, a lot of levels where we share thoughts and ideas, and somehow try to create a new standard, a new language – our own language, if one can say that.”
Bearing attention to materiality and tactility, with matt dirty-yellow color on the walls and nubuck leather doors, the FRAMA lamps, the mirrored ceiling and the scenic view over the Riddarfjärden waterway, made that combination well-balanced and surprisingly engaging.
“Niels came and brought some objects – some chairs, some ceramics and the series of metal tables; and we just, in a very relaxed way, put the exhibition the day before the fair and in the end, it looked really great. I think people were a bit shocked to find this very well-curated space in the middle of nowhere somehow and perhaps it’s what they fell in love with.”
Entering the geranium-based scent-infused rooms and the whole show being accompanied by a subtle 52-minute live recording from Düsseldorf by the Japanese artist Alva Noto created that very relaxed feeling of self-existence in the space…
“The exhibition was relatively small but because of all these levels – the different expressions, sensibilities, the different meanings perhaps – the exhibition probably had a bigger impact.”
The apartment itself is located in the same building as Norr Mälarstrand’s office, where they moved in 2014. It’s an iconic Modernist building from 1936 overlooking the waterway on Kungsholmen and which used to be the headquarters for Sweden’s first airline company ABA (SAS today). AML occupies the ground floor – the old ticket office and the big apartment higher up in the building previously owned by the CEO of the ABA Airlines. When Andreas took over the space it was in a poor condition, and since then a vast renovation has been undertaken, although some peculiarities by which he could go more personal and even dig deeper into the dark history of the building have been preserved – taking that as inspiration to use darker colors for creating a bolder interior design language.
“When you design a lot for Oscar Properties, for example, when there’s a lot of money involved and it has to attract the taste of the big masses, the things that you do are quite safe to make sure that the concepts are appreciated by the majority. In this case, my friends or people who know me were a bit shocked that I took a new direction because they are used to see me playing elegant and safe, and this time it was elegant and bold instead.”
At the moment, Martin-Löf is developing many new products particularly for his apartment, including a collaboration with a lamp manufacturer, a new sofa, carpets, and the lamps that he first created with MONOCLE in 2009-2010. Together, they will carry a perfect 10 years’ anniversary being relaunched in collaboration with FRAMA later this year.
“Normally, these private projects turn out to be the next step in a career. Since last year, I’ve become more confident in trying things and by moving there I’m also starting new habits, and it’s nice to interact a little bit with your new surrounding and begin to spread a bit the AML philosophy in the same district. I definitely will do it again, hopefully, with FRAMA. It could be nice if we had this yearly thing together!”
All images by Alex Lesage, Threefold