a tour in sigurd larsens berlin studio
Sigurd Larsen is a based in Berlin Danish architect who works between disciplines architecture, Interior design and Product design. The studio, founded in 2010, realizes projects ranging from inexpensive living, hotel rooms and cultural buildings to furniture design. continuing to explore new fields, his work tries that Aesthetics of high-quality materials with functional concepts.
a year ago, in 2020, the design team moved into a new studio in the heart of berlin. They were looking for a space that could accommodate a big table where the whole team can work together, and also be available to customers. The place hosts shelves and corners full of models and patterns that make the space more lively. where can you smell, touch and feel all these different pieces that become part of a project.
“We like to work with many materials that become more beautiful over time, even when designing furniture we somehow think in this architectural time frame that we are building something and if it doesn’t last 200 years, we have a mistake, we want them Things to stay for a long, long time. ‘ to find out more about the architect and the office’s new workplace, design boom sigurd larsen visited Studio for a closer look. Read the interview in full below.all images © designboom
Interview with Sigurd Larsen
designboom (DB): What made you choose this profession? have you been influenced by someone? Please tell us a bit about your background.
Sigurd Larsen (SL): I grew up in Denmark and I think it’s a country that celebrates its architects. You grew up knowing that this and this building was designed by this and that architect. I’ve had some influence, but like most other architects, I grew up with Lego and I think there probably was this idea of creating and building things with your hands. I’ve always been a very creative kid, I’ve always built things to grow or whatever. I feel like it was a nice meditation for me as a kid. but I never wanted to be anything but an architect.
It’s very coincidental, I don’t have any other architects in my family, but I knew from childhood that I wanted to be an architect. I think my parents always wondered where this came from or why I like it. We have some in our family of graphic designers, art historians, and other people who work with creativity in different ways. but this very specific thing that I wanted to do did not come from my parents.
DB: You work on a wide variety of projects, from architecture to product design. Is there a common denominator in the way you approach projects from different areas?
SL: I think the whole concept of being an architect and also working with furniture design is first and foremost very typical of Denmark, where architects design furniture, that’s something like our thing. But I think for me personally it’s very much about the fact that every project we do is to find some kind of creative freedom, especially in architecture, which has a lot of regulations that influence what we do, there are a lot of budgets, many facts of reality. I feel like you can find a lot more creative freedom with smaller things like furniture design.
At a certain size, a project becomes political, the whole city is interested, everyone is on board. it’s a democratic process and some people understand and work with it. and I think that’s probably why we’re still at this point, working so much on this scale and building hotels, not 10,000 square meters, but a few thousand. I think I find that with both benchmarks such as architecture and furniture design, but there is still a lot for us to do, we still have a lot to say.
DB: A lot of your work uses natural materials like wood. for example in the Berghaus in Austria or in the Treetop Hotel in Denmark. How important is it for you to feel a connection with nature in your work?
SL: we like to work with many materials that become more beautiful over time, even when designing furniture, we somehow think in this period of architecture, we’re building something and if it doesn’t last 200 years, we’ve made a mistake, we want them Things stay long, long. working with materials like wood or copper and having these beautiful skills that become more beautiful the more you use them. and that is a thought that we take into account in both furniture design and architecture. The wooden floors in the houses are built, they will still look fantastic many, many years from now, even if several families have lived there and use them all the time. That’s one of the reasons it’s a fantastic material. But for many other reasons too, so much research has been done with wood in the last ten years that we can build high-rise buildings out of wood that are still fire-proof. although it is an ancient building material, it has been rediscovered after many years of concrete and modernism etc.
If I look at the time I graduated, I have probably gotten to that point in history that this is happening. right now, for a year now, we have had the problem that we lack the material. so everyone looks at all the materials, unfortunately none of them have exactly the same really good skills in terms of sustainability. I think we will build with wood for a long time again when it is more available, because it is part of the cycle, we take it from nature and use it in our buildings. If it’s in our buildings, it doesn’t burn or anything. it holds the CO2 in it and makes room for new trees to grow and so on. I think we’ll come back to that again; In the meantime we are of course still filling with wood, we have to accept some waiting times and perhaps certain prices that are a bit bizarre.
DB: And in addition to sustainability, touching and working with wood also reduces stress.
SL: When you walk into a wooden house, you smell it straight away and it smells good for years. And every time you wash it, the smell comes out again. I think that’s probably pretty common with people. perhaps combined with a warm shade that would have been automatic if you remained fairly natural. I think people react more or less unconsciously to that too.