Imagine a house that is almost completely gray – from floor to ceiling, inside and out. Do you envision it being dull? Perhaps soothing? Whatever you had in mind, you weren't prepared for this. Join us for a tour at Villa Radal, a sculptural tour de force by Olsson Lyckefors architects, that has us going cray over gray.
- Design: Olsson Lyckefors
- Location: Långedrag, Gothenburg, Sweden
- Completed: 2019
- Gross area: 219 m2
- Lead architects: Andreas Lyckefors, Per Bornstein, and Johan Olsson
VILLA RADAL, located on Sweden's west coast in Långedrag, stands out among the romantic villas built at the beginning of the 20th century – but to its advantage. The elegant number by architectural office Olsson Lyckefors (formerly Bornstein Lyckefors) completed in 2019 does not compete with its handsome neighbors in ornateness, but the skilfully designed building is thoroughly impressive in its subtle simplicity.
The picturesque coastal milieu in itself creates a postcard-like setting for the refined buildings of the area, but the unique neighborhood has also been sparsely developed, favoring grand gardens and parks. Villa Radal found its place in prestigious company on a subplot of Villa Schéel, built in 1915 by maritime news editor Fritz Schéel.
The picturesque coastal milieu creates a postcard-like setting for the refined buildings of the area.
The idyllic summer atmosphere of Sweden's west coast takes a steep turn, however, as autumn storms and freezing winter weather roll in putting the infrastructure to the test. Standing humbled on a hillside facing the harsh weather conditions, Villa Radal's exterior materials had to be chosen carefully. The galvanized steel roof and the terrace clad in heat-treated pine are up to the task even in extreme conditions.
Built partly in-slope, Villa Radal's entrance is located on the ground floor, which, in addition to a spacious living room, houses four bedrooms, a small kitchen, and a separate bathroom and toilet. The show-stopping staircase draws natural light from the glazed upper floor to the lower floor, and at the same time serves as an eye-catching interior design element.
The strong connection between indoor and outdoor spaces is further strengthened by the almost identical color palette.
The kitchen and dining area are located on the open upper floor, alongside a bedroom opening onto the large terrace and a lounge room with spectacular views. A sunken balcony overlooking the neighborhood, together with grand glazed surfaces, allows the surrounding landscape to flow uninterrupted through the beautifully designed space.
The strong connection between indoor and outdoor spaces is further strengthened by the almost identical color palette – merging them into a cozy and sculptural whole.
Polished concrete floors running through the building and the roof and walls clad in composite panels made of concrete and wood chips create a robust, monochromatic space, to which the wooden window frames and support beams provide contrast. The idea of a completely grayscale interior might feel a bit dreary but the vivid surfaces rich in detail do not leave you wanting for more.
The abundant natural light that floods the tall rooms adds yet another layer of softness to the building's serious, yet sensitive nature.
The monochromatic space feels calming and grounding, and the abundant natural light that floods the tall rooms adds yet another layer of softness to the building's serious, yet sensitive nature.
The subtle color palette also creates an inspiring framework for a variety of interior design experiments: the house is indeed almost made for a minimalist, Scandinavian mood, but even a more maximalist range of colors comes to life in a completely new way against the soft grey canvas.
Get inspired by the look
Text: Mira Ahola Images: Erik Lefvander