About Mod.

Mod is an architectural practice whose collaborators have long experience of working on projects that, despite meeting rigorous demands with regard to function, sustainability, economy and all of the parameters of architecture, also resonate with the users’ and visitors’ feelings.

Text by Daniel Golling, architecture and design writer

Function, materials, programme, aesthetic treatment, context, long-term sustainability, innovation, spatiality.

All of these are self-evident aspects of every architectural project, even though some of the terms may prove difficult to understand, or may even seem to lack meaning outside the narrow confines of architectural practice. What is easier to understand is that architecture creates the conditions essential to life. Without it, we are at the mercy of nature and the elements. This has been a central insight throughout the ages. People erected walls and added roofs to protect themselves from the rigours of nature long before there were architects.

Creating a room may not be particularly difficult, but architecture certainly is. The big challenge — the ultimate test — lies in creating good architecture, achieving settings in which people can not only spend their time but can enjoy being there.

All of us have, on occasion, tarried in order to continue spending time in a room where we feel an urge to remain because it causes us to feel good, or that is stimulating in itself. It is difficult to pinpoint what it is that gives rise to such feelings and that is one of the reasons why architecture is sometimes regarded as a ‘non-measurable quality’.

Mod is an architectural practice with a lengthy collective experience of projects which, besides meeting rigorous requirements as to function, sustainability, economy and all of the other parameters that define architecture, also speak to the users’ and visitors’ feelings. Their collaborators’ CVs are not just a narrative of 25 years of architectural experience. They include new buildings, interior decoration and refurbishing.

Mod Architects have designed hotels and restaurants as well as shouldered the responsible task of acting as house architect to Sweden’s national theatre, Dramaten.

A casual glance suggests that there is an infinite distance between one’s approach to the assignment of building a new hotel in a highly competitive and rapidly changing market, with short deadlines and a very strict budget and Sweden’s national theatre in its art-nouveau building from 1908. But the approach that Mod maintains suits every setting in which people spend their time.

To achieve this, one needs an instinctive feeling for the task and an open mind for the site. A staircase, which is an assignment that Mod are familiar with, can be more than just a structure by means of which we can move from one level to another. It can be like a catwalk — a place where we relate to each other. Where he we see other people and where we are seen in turn.

Interiors from Slottsholmen designed by Mod Architects.

With this insight, it is precisely the relationship between people that forms the starting point for Mod’s approach rather than the functional aspects of generating flow between rooms. Those aspects are naturally present, but for Mod the programme is the medium and the other aspects are not allowed to dominate. The challenge arises when the programme seems to conflict with the ultimate goal and it is precisely this that architecture often persuades us to do. Instinctively we behave in a way that defies are instincts and experience.

That the impossible is actually possible we have known ever since Hector Guimard, with his signs for the Paris Métro that caused one to think rather of a vibrant world of colours and shapes in a botanical garden than to the latest achievements of the science of engineering, persuaded the people of Paris to make full use of the underground railway.

The method is not to ignore fantasy and feelings but to create an architecture that regards these aspects as part of the programme. In spite of the fact that all the people who stay for a night at the hotel are different and experience the environment in their own way, architects need to accept the challenge of foreseeing what it is that makes the room inspiring and how the programme can be transformed into settings that many people are pleased to return to and that they remember positively. Achieving this requires not only experience and skill, but courage too.

Daniel Golling, architecture and design writer






 

Since its foundation in 1990, Caruso St John has been pursuing an architecture that is rooted in place.  The practice resists the thin-skinned abstraction that characterises much global architecture in favour of buildings that are perceived slowly over time and that have an emotional content.

Its work is enriched by an on-going dialogue with the European city and with history – that of architecture, art, and culture more widely – traditions that bring an accumulated richness of expression to the work. Ideas are elaborated in a manner akin to art practices that engage directly with the built environment and embrace the ‘found’ space. Caruso St John intervenes in sites carefully, valuing the humble and everyday as well as the more celebrated products of the architectural canon. It is the context that is the starting point for generating form rather than allowing the programme to dictate the architecture.

Marie Ebersdotter graduated in interior architecture at the Istítuto per L’árte in Florence and has more than 20 years of experience from a broad spectrum of architectural and interior-design projects. Besides a large number of hotels, conference venues and spas Marie has been responsible for the interior design of restaurants, schools, hospitals and offices. After successfully running her own practice Marie has worked for several highly-reputed firms in Stockholm and Dubai.

Thanks to her vast experience and her understanding of visitors’ needs and of sustainable and functional working environments, she is much in demand for designing hotels, restaurants and spas both in Sweden and in some tens of countries elsewhere in the world.

Images from Quality Hotel View in Malmö, an assignment from Marie’s time at Murman Architects.

The design hotel Skt Petri's restaurant P Eatery in Copenhagen.

Since its foundation in 1990, Caruso St John has been pursuing an architecture that is rooted in place.  The practice resists the thin-skinned abstraction that characterises much global architecture in favour of buildings that are perceived slowly over time and that have an emotional content.

Read more about the thinking and Process of Mod Architects here.