Why did you study architecture?
Fredric: I was on to becoming an Architect since upper secondary school when I was encouraged by a teacher important to me that introduced architecture and art as a common field and encouraged me to study the works of Le Courbusier .
Katarina: Because of a lust to build and create physical environments evoked by activities at the my familys summer house.
What was the impetus for founding your office?
We were paired as teachers at the School of Architecture in Stockholm already in 2003 and taught together in the bachelor program for three years. For both of us teaching means personal and professional research through investigations together with students.
While teaching together we soon realized that we were close in what interested us in the field of Architecture and through study trips and dialogue with students during these years we also formed a common ground of references. When the opportunity came up to start an office together some years later this was our base and we also took the name of our office from the book of Tanizaki that we had also introduced to our students while teaching.
Who do you see as your mentors?
Katarina: Prof. Michael Melenhorst ( Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe) and Prof. Elisabeth Hatz ( University of Limerick and Stockholm School of Architecture)
Fredric: Jürg Conzett (Structural Engineer, Conzett Bronzini Partner, Chur) and Prof. Anders Wilhelmson ( Stockholm School of Architecture, Wilhelmson Arkitekter, Peepoople)
What makes your office special? How does it work?
We are both personally very much involved in all projects and clients. We set the base for every project together. As a project goes into development and production one of us takes the lead of the office team and the other one takes the very important role of ”the critical eye”, the architectural eye that stands a bot free from the everyday pragmatics of a project in production.
How is your work inspired? Which philosophy guides you in your actions?
Material, materiality, structure and construction are our main tools to create spaces. We often start in a poetic mode to find a material thinking and a choice of material that has relevance to the task.
With a rather pragmatic attitude we then let the chosen materials guide us in the structural thinking as well as spatial thinking in developing the project.
What does good architecture mean to you?
Architecture creating an intense feeling of presence.
Which existing building would you have liked to design?
Sankt Benedikt Chapel in Sumvitg by Peter Zumthor
Which was the first project you realized with In Praise of Shadows Arkitektur? Tell us a little bit about it.
Solbrinken Ordinary House, a single family house with a detached studio. The buildings are situated between the forest and a former garden. We made the most out of the varied landscape and turned the closed, windowless walls toward the neighbours. The family wanted to create their own private world.
In the area between the main house and studio is an outdoor space for recreation and play, with a Japanese or Skåne character. The spacious public zone of the main house runs the length of the plan with interaction between kitchen, living and sleeping areas.
There is a visual connection between the double height kitchen and the studio. The material palette was kept simple and durable for an active family; concrete floors, mdf kitchen, exterior wood panel in black oil paint.
What do you think about it today?
The house has a very strong relation to its site as well as a strong character of its own that we think makes it stand over time.
What was the most significant project you have realized so far? Why was/is it so important to you?
Hard question to answer, in one way the latest one is always the most significant since that is where we are now.
In that perspective the Aesop SoFo that opened up just before christmas, but also its predecessor the Aesop Bibliotekstan and the projects leading to this, The ELMA installation at the Nordic Pavilliton in Venice 2012 and the Passage of Wood. The most significant to come is the KIKA Landsort visitor centre and the massive wood housing projects for Folkhem Klockelund and Magelungen.
With whom would you like to carry out a project?
We would like to design a bridge together with engineer Jürg Conzett!
A brilliant and inventive engineer and a very passionate person with a set of mind regarding architecture close to ours that we would indeed like to get a project to happen with. A bridge or a space with a structural challenge would be a good task.
A typical lunchbreak in the office?
Either we leave the office for a combined lunch and planning meeting or we join our staff for lunch in house around the meeting table.
Where does your best ideas emerge?
”On the road”. When travelling toghether for project meetings, events or lectures we have the time we don´t have in the everyday structure of our respective private lifes handling the daily life of the office to reflect, focus and develop project ideas as well as strategies for our office.
In Praise of Shadows Arkitektur
Borgargartan 6, 11734 Stockholm
Inhaber: Katarina Lundeberg, 1960 / Frederic Benesch, 1970