EDB4B870-01B7-44E5-AA27-890D345145CE Created with sketchtool.

Thomas Sandell brings architecture to the Swedes' living room

Interview with the architect Thomas Sandell


In a series of interviews we are meeting with renowned architects and designers. Next up is one of Sweden’s most famous architects, the award-winning and perpetually topical Thomas Sandell.
“I want to add a touch of humor and joy. It shouldn’t be too minimalistic” he says about his style of architecture.

Thomas Sandell has brought architecture into Swedish living rooms through the popular morning TV show “Nyhetsmorgon” with a weekend segment named “The Architect”. He tells us about what characterizes his architecture, which tool he can not live without, a building he would like to design and plenty more enticing topics for those curious about architecture.

Hi Thomas. Which three words encapsulate architecture to you?

“Function, art and joy. Emotion is important, hence the joy. It should be fun to enter or see a building. Not funny, that is, but rather enjoyable enough to bring a smile to your face.”

Which tool can you not live without?

“Pen and paper! I constantly use them.”

Thomas tells us about drawing for his school paper as a young boy, already excelling in art class:
“Back then I had no idea that I would be sketching daily for my work. I sketch faster by hand than with digital tools.”

Tell us about a creation that you are particularly proud of

“I actually do not have a favorite. I am always most fond of the projects I am busy with at the moment. Often there’s more than one at a time. Currently, I am working on a hotel in Kiruna, a school in Salem, and a few houses. I also design glasses for Reijmyre” says Thomas who also, in addition to being an architect, works as a designer.

Do you have a dream project in architecture that you would like to make reality?

“Not really. Every project is so enjoyable! But it would be fun to design a church, that is something I have never done.”

What is always part of the process when you are drawing up a building?

“We always need to consider things such as regulatory requirements, financial aspects, local or zoning plans for the city, as well as time restraints. For me, it is also important that I am given room to address my own ideas for the project.”

Emphasis on building in an eco-friendly manner has increased, Thomas explains and describes the best measurement of sustainability.

“The most environmentally friendly buildings are the ones that are not torn down. This is achieved with sustainable quality in both materials and execution, meaning that the building is made to last. The building’s function and design are also included here, meaning that it should be built to be used and loved for a long time.”

How would you describe the Thomas Sandell style of architecture?

“It is so hard to describe your own style, it is almost like describing your own appearance. I think others do that better. But I get impressions and inspiration from my environment, which has given me a “dig where you stand” kind of philosophy. So sure, I have a Scandinavian style, but I always want to add a touch of humor and joy. It shouldn’t be too minimalistic” Thomas concludes.

Images below from Sandell Sandberg arcitects. Project restaurang Goma, Stockholm and project Sjöhuset, Kvarnholmen (image created by Sightline)

Aritco interviews architects

In a mini series of interviews we are meeting with renowned architects and designers. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for info when more blog posts are published! See below links for architects and designer interviews.

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