ALWAYS EVOLVING – AT HOME WITH ARCHITECT ANDREAS MARTIN-LÖF

Andreas Martin-Löf is the visionary architect and designer whose creations have helped put Stockholm on the map as an architectural trailblazer. He has an innate understanding of buildings, environments, materials, and craftsmanship, and his homes are in a state of constant development. At his summer house Aspvik, Andreas has created a haven where old meets new. Follow his architectural journey at @amlamlaml.

What does your home mean to you?
A home, in general, is a place to relax and personalize over time with things you love. I'm a bit of a junk collector and enjoy gathering items that might eventually become new products. My homes are constant, ongoing projects – extensions of myself that evolve and change. As an architect, my homes serve various functions: they are both safe havens and experimental spaces, as well as showcase environments that have helped build my business.

Tell us about your summer home, Aspvik, featured in the photos.
I built Aspvik as a small house for vacations. However, it has become quite popular in various magazines, contrary to my initial intention. Some architects find it difficult to design for themselves, but I feel the opposite. Every home I create for myself illustrates who I am at that point in life, allowing updates and changes over time as I evolve. When I built Aspvik in 2013, I felt more chaotic and designed it as a box in untreated plywood. Now, I wanted a more sophisticated look, so I stained all the plywood in a darker, honey-colored shade.

How would you describe your design and interior philosophy

Each generation of architects must have their own ideas to avoid merely repeating history. When I was young, "the clear cut" – a distinct separation between old and new – was very trendy in architecture. However, I have always been more interested in a smooth transition between past and present. Imagine a thousand-year-old wall made of bricks. My contribution to architecture is like a new brick, thoughtfully and carefully placed, becoming part of the wall. I am often hired to create smooth transitions between old and new and to renovate and convert old houses. Context is always crucial, understanding the setting and placing the right thing in the right place is something I believe I excel at.

How have you chosen products and furnishings for Aspvik?

It's a mix of old and new. I choose items I like and design much of my home's furnishings myself. However, there are two clear references. My house is built on a plot where my grandparents' old house stands, so everything has a strong connection to it. That house has a Chinese-inspired tower from the early 1900s with red walls and a black interior, along with a 1960s extension. The new house includes elements sampled from the old one. The other clear reference is West Coast American architecture and Case Study houses. For instance, Aspvik hangs over a cliff, and the honey-colored stain directly references the Case Study houses. Interior-wise, I actually have a lot from Singular because I really like their stuff.

How did your interest in architecture and interior design begin?

I don't know if my parents did it intentionally, but we lived in a charming but worn apartment in Vasastan when I was little. My room had cracked glue paint on the ceiling. I felt embarrassed for my friends and thought I wouldn't want it like that when I grew up. Perhaps that pushed me to learn more about construction. I've always been someone who tinkers and fixes things, builds lamps, and collects junk. Initially, I wanted to be a furniture designer, but life took a turn through architecture before I also became a designer.

What is your favorite material?

I've gone through phases with different materials to understand them better. It started with glass because my aunt is a glass artist. Then came woodworking, and the two latest materials I've delved into are metal and stone. For me, each material comes with several crafting methods I want to understand. Stone brings stone carving, metal brings forging, and wood brings woodworking. Learning how to work with a material makes it truly interesting.

What is your favorite room at home?

In the city, I live in a large old functionalist apartment in Kungsholmen, and my favorite is definitely my 3.5 x 11 meter mirror gallery. It's like an inner hall with mirrors reflecting Norr Mälarstrand and the water outside. In the countryside, it's the upper room, which is the living room, where you sit among the treetops with a view over Torsbyfjärden. But the bedrooms, where it feels like sleeping in a treehouse, are also favorites.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by reality. I observe how things are made, especially in the past when craftsmanship played a bigger role in construction. When everything was fully crafted rather than prefabricated. Understanding the components that must be present to build a house and making these parts come together into a cohesive whole inspires me daily at work. I believe many forget the components and think design is about something else. For me, architecture is very hands-on – understanding materials, craftsmanship, and different ways to solve things, and I think it's beneficial if this practical aspect returns to the profession. Building should not become too pretentious.

ANDREAS'S FIVE FAVOURITE SINGULAR PICKS FROM HER HOME

Scented Candles

It's interesting that you can make bowls out of the candles once they've burned down. For example, I've made food bowls for my dog Vincent. It's a circular and modern way of thinking, giving products a second life and transforming them into something new.

Men’s Nylon Jacket

This is a real favorite jacket that I wear very often. Apparently, the nylon is the same as Prada uses, though maybe I wasn’t allowed to say that, haha.

Organic Tea

I've recently set up a tea and coffee station at home with all the tea varieties, which is quite fun. My personal favorite is Green Tea Lemon Ginger.

Stainless Steel Knives

I'm not a foodie, but I cook enough to need sharp knives, and these are incredible. Plus, the craftsmanship with the wooden handles is beautiful.

Splattered Handmade Ceramics

I used to have plain-colored porcelain, but a summer house should feel like a summer house. When I saw the splattered ceramics, I realized it gives a completely different vibe. It's important to drink coffee from a different cup in the countryside than in the city.