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Style, innovation & equality
Presented by Samsung Connected Living

”We are getting more conscious about air travel, which means country houses becomes more attractive… and bigger!”

The Stockholm-based architect (SIR/SAR), designer and artist, Thomas Sandell is one of our three leading minds within fashion, technology, and architecture who talks about about the future of living.

Words Konrad Olsson Photography Morgan Norman

Thomas, what developments in architecture are shaping the way we will live in the coming years?

— There are a few things happening. One is that new apartment buildings functions almost like a hotel, with a lobby-type space in the entrance, furnished like a lounge. It’s like a living room for all the tenants. We are building more and more based on different target groups. We will see both bigger and tinier apartments. And in personalising the buildings, the communal areas become more important.

How does the planning of apartments and home change?

— Today, you have tv and radio everywhere. You can have a family of five sitting in a room and everyone is watching something different on their screen. This affects the disposition of homes. Living rooms become smaller, kitchens become bigger.

The past 15 years saw a revolution in open planning of the home, the tear down of barriers between living room and kitchen. Will this stand?

— I don’t think so. Today, the consumer is looking more towards the number of rooms, rather than actual square meters. Today, architects are struggling with cramming in four rooms in a 85 square meter apartment. Which is a bit boring. No one is doing a one-bedroom apartment of 80 square metres, which I am sure will have a client.

What is the most inspiring building you’ve seen recently?

— There is a completely new type of library called Ode in Helsinki this is really good. They’ve made a library in a whole new way. You can book a conference room and have meetings. You can book a kitchen to cook food. There are sewing machines to fix your clothes. Printers to make posters. All for free. It’s an impressive facility and a supercool building made by ALA Architects.

There is a lot of debate around activity-based office spaces, and wether they are good or bad for the worker. What is your take on that?

— Research has shown that only about 40 percent of office spaces are habited by workers. The rest is empty because people are out meeting clients, working from home, or taking care of their children. And since office space is so expensive, it becomes unsustainable to have 60 percent of it empty. That why we see that all the new offices are some king of activity based set up. I do however think that there is great value in having your own place to work from, where you can put up a picture of your dog or your family or sail boat. The need for identity is there, but it can be manifested in many different ways. The office is always evolving. At our office, we see that the lunch room is one of the most popular places to work from. Same with the sofas by the reception. I think people like being with people.

How will developments in architecture affect they way we think about health and wellbeing?

— We are getting more conscious about air travel, which means country houses become more attractive… and bigger! People who buy second homes or weekend cottages today rarely keep them small. Rather, they build new, villa type houses. More long term, I think that places that we today feel are remote and unattractive will become more valuable. There are many places in Sweden where you can buy lakeside houses for just a few hundred thousand kronor.

What are you working on right now?

— We are doing a wildlife resort in Eriksberg. There we’ve done an entrance building, glamping tents, and a steel structure raised on poles with glass floors, so you can see the animals walking underneath you. You’ll be able to see when they feed the bison and mouflon, which is a type of sheep. It’s going to be really cool. We are mixing old craft with technology. It’s going to be a destination comparable to the Tree Hotel in the north of Sweden.