Archipelago House by Norm Architects

  • Norm Architects take to the rocky terrain of Sweden’s Archipelago to design a timber-clad summer home rooted in Nordic building methods and Japanese design philosophies.

    Copenhagen-based firm Norm Architects designed their Archipelago House as a place to get away from it all among Sweden’s unspoiled and rugged coastal landscape. A modern interpretation of the traditional Archipelago vernacular, Norm Architects saw nature as a guideline to shaping the wooden structure outside and in. Set into a cliff, the landscape translates into soft and calming interiors that place value age-old craftsmanship, derived from Nordic and Japanese design traditions. 

    The home is composed of four wooden volumes with a pitched roof that interlock and are connected by a terraced wooden deck, adhering to the sloped site. The sloping site is cited indoors through five different levels that fold out into a functional layout, connected by internal steps and stairs. 

    Natural materials find their way inside as part of a symbolic interior scheme to reflect the environment it sits within. When comparing images of the surrounding landscape and interiors, one can see the moss-covered rocks and grassy tones seep into the kitchen, living and dining area. Distinct from the muted hues in the shared spaces, the bathroom becomes a cave-like zone, clad in moody stone with equally dark fixtures to reflect the Archipelago.

    Clean lines combine with an inherent sense of pared-down simplicity. A freestanding Vipp kitchen pierces the subdued palette, backed by full-height timber kitchen joinery. The joinery surfaces again in the double-height living room, playing to Norm Architects’ overall goal to always reduce clutter in their quest for calm. Another signature element within the design – the window seat – frames the outlook for a quiet place to unplug and read. 

    The summer home features a Vipp kitchen and Vipp Kitchen Tap.

    The dining room features the N-DT01 dining table and dining chairs by N-DC01 by Norm Architects.

    The living room features the Club Chairs ‘N-CC01’ by Norm Architects and Sofa ‘A-S01’ by Keiji Ashizawa in collaboration with Norm Architects.

    The Archipelago House also manifests an atmosphere of repose through the handmade pieces designed specifically for the home. These pieces are the upshot of the Danish concept of ‘hygge’ and the immaculate craftsmanship of bespoke Japanese timber furniture-making. It’s a style we’ve seen previously in Norm Architects’ work, in the Kinatu Terrace, Japan – a collaboration with Tokyo-native design studio, Keiji Ashizawa. 

    The two lamps in the home tell the story of a collaboration between leading Japanese wooden furniture manufacturer Karimoku and Kyoto-based lantern maker Kojima Shouten. The dining pendant shares the same shape as the summer house while the lamp in the bedroom was designed as a lighting-furniture hybrid. “In the design process, it was a clear goal for us that the details in the product itself should speak directly into the surrounding architecture and interior, while also telling the story of each of the companies being involved in the production,” Norm Architects architect and partner Peter Eland attests.

    The home also features a collection of custom pieces Norm Architects designed for the project. Their cuddly Club Chair is a standout in the living room, produced by Karimoku as part of the Karimoku Case Study Collection. The Norm Book Box ‘N-BB01’ was also designed by Norm Architects and collaboratively produced by Danish August Sandgren and Japanese Karimoku Case Study.

    It’s no secret Norm Architects can poetically interpret untamed landscapes as they have in their Archipelago House, providing shelter for a family in the summer in its most sincere and considerate form.

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