"Gothenburg is like a playground for architects"
Andreas Lyckefors runs what is probably Gothenburg’s hottest architect firm right now, the diverse, award-winning Bornstein Lyckefors. This is his guide to the best of what Gothenburg has to offer in architecture, design and fashion.
It takes a while for the celebrated architect Andreas Lyckefors to get going, but once he has begun to list the most interesting places for architecture, fashion and design he can hardly stop. It’s easy to be blind to your own city, he offers as an excuse as he pauses for breath, before diving into the next hidden gem in Sweden’s second largest city.
And it’s precisely this factor of being the second city that Andreas Lyckefors comes back to when asked to describe Gothenburg as a destination for design. Just like Antwerp, Rotterdam and Hamburg he feels that Gothenburg is a freer and more creative place in relation to its capital city. And what Gothenburg might lack in prestigious institutions, the city makes up for in characteristics that can blossom in a city that doesn’t seek to conform, but rather to bring out the individual.
Fittingly, he describes Gothenburg’s city centre as an architectural hodgepodge, but it is not in the city centre where things are happening right now. The most exciting aspects of Gothenburg’s growth are taking place in other areas. Like in the old shipbuilding area in Frihamnen port, where a completely new district is developing, giving Gothenburg its long-awaited connection to the sea. Or in Hisingen in the north of Gothenburg where so much is going on that Andreas Lyckefors describes the area as a playground for architects.
It is this creative city that is the inspiration and muse for Bornstein Lyckefors when they create what they describe as strongly symbolic, communicative buildings. This is how the main character himself communicates his best tips for the Gothenburg design scene.
Steamy windows at the port
“Bastun (the sauna) is a really cool building with a pool in the harbour basin, right in the middle of Frihamnen port. There is something very Gothenburgian about both the location and the collective commitment from the city’s inhabitants who helped to build the sauna. The building is symbolically important for Gothenburg as an old port city because it marks the start of the transformation of the area from shipbuilding to what will become one of the city’s most exciting places. The sauna in Frihamnen port is very important for the city's belief in the future and at the same time it’s a totally unique experience. Completely free of charge too.”
Bastun i Frihamnen, Frihamnen 7
The food hall as a focal point
"Kville Saluhall (food hall) at Hisingen is a fine piece of architecture by Gustav Appell that was nominated for Sweden's most prestigious architecture award, the Kasper Salin Award, a few years ago. Hisingen was long characterised by social problems, but I feel that Saluhallen (the food hall) is a turning point for the area. Nowadays, Hisingen is like a playground for architects with lots of exciting projects in progress. One example is Karlatornet tower, which, at 240 meters high, will be the tallest building in Scandinavia. But Hisingen is already a creative melting pot today, with Saluhallen as the obvious focal point. Akbars Chark (charcuterie) is a highlight amongst Saluhallen’s solid choice of foods from fresh fish to Mexican.”
Kville Saluhall, Gustaf Dalénsgatan 2
A boutique merging men's fashion and design
“Miksajo is as much a gallery as it is a shop. The founder, Ali Davoodi, also started a fashion show called Fresh Fish for up-and-coming designers. Miksajo combines fashion and art into a contemporary boutique for men's clothing, accessories and design. And as the icing on the cake, Staffan Holm, one of the best furniture designers in Sweden, has done the interior design. The last time I was at Miksajo I was so inspired by their limestone counter that I ordered a similar kitchen surface for the house that I’m currently designing for my family"
Miksajo, Vallgatan 14
Classicism and design books
“You can say what you like about Götaplatsen in Gothenburg, but sometimes it feels as if all roads lead there and not to Rome. And once you end up there - which you will do - next to Gothenburg’s iconic statue of Poseidon by Carl Milles, you should also take the opportunity to admire three historic expressions of classicism: The Concert hall, the City theatre and the Art museum. The latter is also home to the design book store Konst-ig. It's exactly this kind of shop that I love to discover when I’m travelling, a shop where hours can disappear while you lose yourself in rows of delightful design books.
Konst-ig // Göteborgs konstmuseum, Götaplatsen 6
When apartments become must-see design
My architect colleague Johannes Norlander might not put it this way, but I’d say that his Studio 1 is like an Italian pasta. Just as the best Italian pasta dishes are composed of simple raw ingredients, Studio 1 is a bare, but at the same incredibly rich, experience. This award-winning project has been created as a whole, but with a rare attention to detail, and the result is both shatteringly hard and uncompromising. Studio 1 is so good that this apartment block has become a must-see design attraction.”
Studio 1, Sten-Åke Cederhöksgata, Örgryte Torp
A culinary voyage to western Sweden
“It may be a bit brash of me to suggest one of Bornstein Lyckefors’ projects, but Koka really is something special. Not only for the culinary voyage that Koka’s seven-course menu takes the visitor on, but also for the story behind the food. The restaurateur Björn Persson already had a one-starred restaurant in the Michelin Guide, but he threw it away to create a new concept that would radiate contemporary western Swedish gastronomy. If the food was the painting, our mission was to create the frame and the passe-partout in the form of interior design and style. Björn got his Michelin star back - and we were nominated for the 2016 Guldstolen award for best interior design."
Koka, Viktoriagatan 12
A daytrip to scultures - and sheep
For those who fancy a day trip, Pilane in Tjörn is the perfect destination. It’s an old burial ground that is turned into a sculpture park from June to September, where people walk through the sheep pastures between the works of art, with the Bohuslän coast as the backdrop. The artists vary, and in recent seasons Tony Cragg and Maria Miesenberger are amongst those who have contributed with sculptures. Pilane is both an art and a natural experience and a real highlight for any Saturday. I usually combine it with a visit to the Nordic watercolour museum located nearby."
Just like Paris in the 1900s
“I've never stayed at Pigalle, but if I were a tourist in Gothenburg I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. It is a personal boutique hotel that is as far from the standardised hotel concepts as you can get. The colours and shapes exude a sinful Paris in the early twentieth century. It is luxury, warmth and passion. We have actually worked with the team that runs Pigalle before, but by the time they started Pigalle they had become so accustomed to developing strong concepts that they did everything in-house. And they did it fantastically, Pigalle is truly one of a kind. What’s more, it’s right in the centre of the city.”
Hotel Pigalle, Södra Hamngatan 2A