Andreas Martin-Löf, who designed Frama's AML stool carrying his initials, does not forget about the past when creating new items.
CELEBRATING its tenth anniversary this year, the Swedish architectural office AML Arkitekter's portfolio includes interior decoration for new buildings and renovation of buildings from the early 20th century, but also some new products. We interviewed the company's founder, architect Andreas Martin-Löf, and learned how he is doing and also the story behind the latest launch.
Tell us about the creation process of the AML stool you designed for the Frama company.
“I have a habit of picking memorabilia from our architectural office's targets before all the movable items are thrown on skips. I find such items concrete memories of what the space was before I set foot in it the first time. It does not seem fair that objects that have been created with a lot of effort and love are simply thrown away. They are not ready for the landfill site.
I was having breakfast with Niels Strøyer Christophersen, the founder of Frama, at my place and I showed him a few of the items I had picked up along the years. One of them was an old milking stool, which I found particularly cute and interesting. It had an exceptionally hefty seat and three sturdy legs at an angle, as if sculpted. Niels had an idea that it should be made into a product. From that moment onwards for about two years we worked on completing the stool, focusing on the right kind of feel and finish. We didn't want the AML stool to feel too perfect or smooth.”
“We worked on completing the stool for two years, focusing on the right kind of feel and finish.”
When did you first get acquainted with Niels and Frama?
“My friend Hanna thought I should meet Niels and so she introduced us to each other a few years ago. We became friends and have since then worked together on a couple of exhibition projects and planned other possible cooperation. Our latest thing was the Spatial Sensibilities exhibition at Stockholm Design Week in February 2019, where we also had the AML stool on display.”
Have you got an AML Stool at home?
“Sure. I use one as a bedside table, usually stacked with books. Then I have another one in my bathroom. I wear glasses and when I take a shower, I place my glasses on the stool so I'll know where to find them when I'm done.”
Do you share a similar style with Frama?
“We have similar ideas about surfaces, finish and what a product should feel like. Frama's style is maybe a bit more Bohemian than mine. Sometimes we joke that Niels is more like wabi-sabi and I'm really not. It's important to me in interior decoration that the end result coincides with the building's era: for example, when we're working on a 1920s building, we pick elements from that period, repeating them in new ways. Our architectural office doesn't really have one certain style – but we have a method by which we try to find a specific language for each project.”
How would you describe modern aesthetic preferences?
“I tend to say that we are currently reversing into the future. On our way to the future, we want to take part of the history with us, and in this digital world of ours, we also yearn for hand-made items and tradition. Furniture by Axel Einar Hjorth, and architect and furniture designer from the early 20th century, has been tremendously popular in Sweden for some time now. I think this is an indication of this very phenomenon. Simple pine furniture that has been used for years in Swedish summer cottages is what we'll be taking with us into the future.”
“I tend to say that we are currently reversing into the future. In this digital world of ours, we also yearn for hand-made items and tradition.”
You work for AML Arkiterter, a company you founded. What are you currently working on?
“It's a busy period and we are working on a number of projects at the same time. We are renovating one floor of a building, which Ivar Kreuger, who created his empire with his match industry, had built in Stockholm in the early 20th century. We are also working on villa projects, and the design of private homes and a hotel. We are designing floors 68–83 to Karlatornet in Göteborg, which will be the tallest building in the Nordic countries. The foundations are now ready and it's time to start building up towards the sky.”
What plans have you got for the rest of the year?
“Our office will celebrate its tenth anniversary this year. We have been working on a book on our ten-year journey. It was supposed to be a quick review of the past, but things have got a bit out of hand and it's currently running at 300 pages. During the last months I've been writing text for the book and looking back in time. It's been emotional: we've seen the economy boom and now gradually slow down and witnessed our friends' career changes and ageing. It's in a way the end of an era.”
Who: Andreas Martin-Löf
• Founded architectural office Andreas Martin-Löf Arkitekter in 2009
• The office located in downtown Stockholm employs a staff of 20
• Andreas has also designed products, such as lamps, together with Monocle, and a perfume and its packaging that were launched last year
• The AML stool was launched in Stockholm in early 2019.
Text: Hanna-Katariina Mononen Photos: Maureen M. Evans, Frama and Sthlm Portrait Factory