Sampling and Refinement

Photography by Åke Eson Lindman and Johan Fowelin

Andreas Martin-Löf has always been interested in furniture design, but it was fate that led him to the world of architecture. Today he runs an office named after himself, creating everything from housing projects to exhibition installations. Throughout their projects—which range in both scale, form and solution—the Stockholm-based studio has a recognisable signature. It’s the shapes, the lines and the vibe. Or as Andreas says—it’s not about what we do, but how we do it.

Hi Andreas! I’ve read somewhere that you used to draw houses as a child. What is it with houses and architecture that you enjoy so much?
I like the fact that buildings are (mostly) fixed to a site and relate to that site, to the purpose and to a hell of a lot of parameters that need to be considered along the way to achieving a good result. The task of designing a building is therefore quite different compared to designing smaller objects, which is also difficult, but in a different way. 

What’s a good house all about?
That question can result in either a very long or a very short answer. I’ve chosen the short one: To make the most out of what you’ve got. Site, material, budget, and so on.

Please tell me about your private summer house in Aspvik.
The Aspvik house is a project I designed for myself without thinking too much about how it would be perceived. I designed it because I wanted a house out in the Stockholm archipelago and I wanted to connect it to an existing building on the site. It is a building from 1912, with an addition from the 1960s. It was a process all about sampling and refinement. Afterwards, I’ve realised that it’s quite characteristic of my way of working.

Your projects range from housing to exhibition installation. How would you describe your approach and work?
It’s not about what we do – it’s how we do it.

We like your webpage and the way you document your work. Are you dedicated to developing your own branding? How important is this in architecture?
Yes, I am quite dedicated when it comes to my own branding, because I think it’s fun and very important if you want to get somewhere. 

What kind of look and feel do you want to be associated with your work?
I’d rather connect my architecture to history in an abstract way, than connect only to ongoing trends. When you read our projects with that in mind you might start to see more similarities than differences, for example, between The Straw Hat Factory, Aspvik and Västberga.