Hammarby Sjöstad Micro-living unveiled
Tom Dixon's Design Research Studio responds to the growing demand for a multifunctional way of living through intelligent, modular and sustainable design
Design Research Studio, the design and innovations agency at the heart of Tom Dixon Studio, has partnered with the brand new living concept brand, UNITY, to reimagine the future of hybrid living, with new micro-housing concepts launching in Sweden, Finland and Denmark from November 2021.
Between 2021 and 2023, UNITY will unveil 7 newly designed intelligent-living properties aimed at a diverse range of tenant communities including professionals, project managers, freelancers, students, families and travellers at various urban locations in the Nordics. November 2021 will see the first launch, with the opening of Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm. Looking ahead, UNITY will launch two further locations in Stockholm Kista (2022), Helsinki and Tampere, Finland (2022); Malmo, Sweden (2023), and Aarhus, Denmark (2023).
In response to UNITY’s original brief, Tom Dixon and Helene Bangsbo Andersen, of Design Research Studio examined the current demands within the housing arena. The way in which we live is constantly evolving and the housing market can be slow to adapt - the Studio realised there was an urgent need to respond to contemporary needs. Through their approach to designing UNITY’s compact living space and communal areas, Design Research Studio’s aim was to provide democratic housing that fostered a strong sense of community, multi-purpose usage and premium interiors.
Tom Dixon says: “Young professionals and students deserve quality design and future thinking. Lower cost does not necessarily mean less design value. UNITY is a response to this challenge. A key element in our thinking is that the future is going to have to become more cooperative. For us to be able to achieve higher specifications, sharing becomes the solution. UNITY is a step towards addressing some of these fundamental issues or capturing the opportunity to re-think affordable housing with top quality services, spaces planning, and community building.”
The first building in Hammarby Sjöstad, a former transformer production factory, spanning over 62,000 sq ft, offers a total of 140 studio apartments and 200 flexible and fixed co-working spaces. Each of the residences have been thoughtfully designed as a library of parts, with multiple room layouts available to accommodate different uses of the living spaces. Each studio has a warm and light palette of colours accompanied by durable, honest and robust finishes. Designed to be discreet and space-saving, all kitchen and storage units are modular and easy to adapt to the user’s needs. A range of high-quality custom-made items have been created for UNITY to ensure space is intelligently used including adjustable and multi-functional tables and stackable Slab Chairs. Studio spaces will also include Spot, Press and Plane Surface Lights; Swirl Wall Hooks and Fat Lounge Chairs.
“We have changed the traditional standard apartment into a compressed living space with all the amenities that you need within reach. We use flexible furniture to create a compact but well-designed interior space that promotes the daily routine by its flexibility. We don’t only focus on living space, we also put high value in creating a community space for like-minded people - including a Cafe, Gym, Event space, co-working, meeting rooms and much more. Simply everything that belongs to the modern metropolitan lifestyle”, explains Michael Schumann, fund development manager at developer Aberdeen Standard Investment.
Design Research Studio have explored sustainable, affordable and forward-thinking solutions for the interiors to be both premium and long-lasting. Cork is a dominant material in Hammarby’s Lobby – a tactile and multi-sensory material which has been used for millennia in nautical and construction uses due to its elasticity, sound absorption and waterproof qualities. Cork is recyclable and fully carbon negative, as it can be harvested without harming the trees that it grows upon. Elements of the Design Research Studio’s work respond to the building’s industrial heritage, with polished concrete in the communal areas and reconstituted Ege carpets made from fishing nets. Kvadrat’s Melange Nap features widely across the scheme – an extremely soft yet durable woollen upholstery textile made in the UK. The material is constructed with a unicoloured and a melange yarn, which creates a graphic pattern of tiny dots that play across its surface, conjuring a tweed-like pattern.
Whether it’s a short stay for corporate travellers or back-packing families, a long-term residential stay for young professionals or a semester placement for students, each space offers a flexible space to work, live and socialise in one place.
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