In June 2024, ArkDes, Sweden's national museum of architecture and design, will unveil a new experience for its visitors. In its historic buildings, next to Moderna Museet in the centre of Stockholm, ArkDes’ will create new spaces for a radical rethinking of how to exhibit architecture and design, with the direction of the award-winning architectural firm Arrhov Frick. A strong focus is placed on open, welcoming meeting spaces, a new collections exhibition, space for temporary exhibitions and events, new access to outdoor areas, and more space for play.
At the heart of this comprehensive rethinking of ArkDes’ spaces will be a new exhibition of Swedish architecture and design between 1880 and the present day, bringing to light never-before-seen, original works from ArkDes’ world class collection of four million objects. At the same time, ArkDes is pursuing new stories hidden in the collection, including research into the many women whose decisive roles in Swedish architecture and design history have been hidden or forgotten.
"Sweden's history of architecture and design is unique and our collection is one of the country’s major cultural treasures. Nowhere else in the world has architecture had such a strong connection with building a modern society. Now all our focus is on building a new ArkDes with the ambition to become one of world’s most important museums for architecture and design, combining a new historical narrative with a wide range of the work of contemporary architects and designers", says Kieran Long, director of ArkDes.
Architecture. Arrhov Frick photo: Olivier Campagne
The location is the same as before, but otherwise ArkDes will be something completely new. The early conceptual drawings from architects Arrhov Frick demonstrate their approach, creating an elegant new interior from a radical approach to reusing materials. Their plan includes a new entrance to the museum, which will be the site of an annual commission for a spectacular entrance portal.
Inside, the full breadth of ArkDes’ work will be present, from historic collections to contemporary exhibitions. A new space dedicated to practice-based research and policy work will invite the public into the debate about the future of Swedish cities. ArkDes will create a new education programme and an annual commission aimed at young people and children. ArkDes’ renowned programme of temporary exhibitions will continue in 2024 with Designing Motherhood, an exhibition about design’s role in pregnancy, birth and motherhood in countries and cultures around the world.
The architects – Arrhov Frick
Since spring 2022, Johan Arrhov and Henrik Frick have been working on the plans for what will become the new ArkDes. Their first step was an inventory of materials already used at ArkDes, including steel, wood, and glass. With that treasure trove of materials, the architect duo decided to start creating a new museum from what already exists. The design of the objects is therefore largely defined by the existing components. Larger, curtained pavilion structures will enable dark and climate-controlled areas for sensitive objects and provide a spatial drama to the journey through the museum.
"Arrhov Frick's work is characterized by a clear artistic process where recurring themes include everything that is important for a museum; how to create open and free public spaces where a variety of movement and life is possible. Their proposal is reminiscent of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, using a found space to create new possibilities for the display of architecture and design. Their work is always based on questioning the necessity of using carbon-intensive new materials and the aesthetic results of their meticulous process of reuse and repurposing are very compelling", says Kieran Long, director at ArkDes
Arrhov Frick (founded in 2010 in Stockholm) has been described as one of Sweden’s most important emerging architectural firms. They have been nominated for several different awards, such as the Mies van der Rohe Award and the Kasper Salin prize for the best building of the year in Sweden. Their work has been published in several international books and journals and over the years the office has had two monographs published: 2G International Architectural Magazine (2018) and by the prestigious magazine El Croquis (2022). And at home in Sweden, they won the TV4 award Grand Designs House of the Year 2022. They teach at Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio, Switzerland, one of the world’s most important schools of architecture.
In June 2024, ArkDes, Sweden's national museum of architecture and design, will unveil a new experience for its visitors. Photo: Matti Östling.
ArkDes’ holds the national collection of architecture in Sweden, consisting of over four million objects.
ArkDes has the task from the Swedish government to be a museum, and a node for research and policy thinking on architecture and design in Sweden.
With the new collection exhibition, this unique Swedish cultural treasure comes to light for the first time.
The collection exhibition replaces an existing permanent exhibition from 1998.
The first temporary exhibition will be Designing Motherhood.
A new space will be created to show ArkDes’ extensive work in practice-based research, managed by the ArkDes Think Tank team.
ArkDes will close for remodeling on August 28, 2023.
ArkDes reopens on June 14, 2024.
The architects are Arrhov Frick.
The project lead is Karin Nilsson, operations manager, and deputy director at ArkDes.
Director of ArkDes is Kieran Long.
ArkDes is Sweden’s national centre for architecture and design. It is a museum, a study centre and an arena for debate and discussion about the future of architecture, design and citizenship.