Frida Ronge is one of the artists who have succeeded in elevating Swedish culinary ingredients to Japanese levels. Her studio is the kitchen, her canvas the table. With the restaurant Tak (Swedish for either roof or ceiling) she has been given an entirely new workshop to tinker in, a place designed for a fully formed encounter between the Nordic and the Japanese for an evening. The building at Brunkebergs Torg, in the heart of downtown Stockholm, was built in the 1970s as an office building. But the location of the building’s top two floors gave the space the potential to do much more than just turn inward. When the surrounding walls were removed in favor of glass, the old stuffiness was dispelled by a breath of fresh air.
“We have worked to follow through on Ronge’s gastronomic ambitions in the interior design,” says Helena Toresson, a Principal Interior Designer at Wingårdh, “and we have taken inspiration from Japanese methods of space design—but with a Nordic palette of materials.”
The building’s seventies notes also gave the interior some of its flavor. Structuralist architecture’s fascination with systems and flexibility can be discerned from the movable wall tracks still visible in the old ceiling and the polished concrete floor, the rhythms of the new suspended ceiling, and the play between open and closed in the new screen partitions.
“In the middle of the restaurant we have banquettes that compete with the tables that have views,” says Gert Wingårdh, the principal architect on the project. “The banquettes wrap themselves around each group and make the space sway lightly like water lilies on a pond. A poetic moment in what is otherwise such a rational design.”
Jasper Morrison, one of six members of this year’s Design Awards jury, explains in an interview with Wallpaper* why Tak earned his vote: “The contrast of the rather delicate interior, playing off against the brutalist structures which contain it,” adding that “it also helped that they selected my Lightwood chair!”
“The Nordic furniture tradition provided a good foundation,” says David Regestam, the project managing interior designer at Wingårdh. “We developed a series of new tables that work very well together with Jasper Morrison’s Lightwood chair. We designed screen partitions, suspended ceilings, pleated collars [for the banquettes], banquettes and bars—all unthinkable without what we learned both at home and in Japan,” says Regestam, who designed the table series.
A staircase leads from the subdued elegance of the restaurant to the more straightforward, plainspoken upstairs bar. Here the conversational din, the people, the music, and the tentative glances take over. The south-facing roof terrace is the main attraction—a cozy home for the view over Stockholm.
Facts about Tak:
Tak is located on the 13th and 14th floors of Brunkebergstorg 4 in the heart of downtown Stockholm. The palette of materials is a mixture of coarse and elegant: concrete floors and stainless steel kitchen counters meet partitioning screens and suspended ceilings of brass. The interior has a Scandinavian feel but some obvious seventies’ influences as well. Wingårdh custom designed the furniture series that shares the name of the restaurant. The furniture comes in beech or oak and is now manufactured by the Swedish company Gärsnäs.
The restaurant is 1475 m2 in area and opened in the spring of 2017 under Chef Frida Ronge.
Facts about Wingårdh:
Wingårdh Architects was founded in 1977 and now has offices in Gothenburg, Malmö, and Stockholm. The firm designs everything from private homes to large shopping centers (such as the Mall of Scandinavia and Emporia), office buildings, and public buildings (such as Aula Medica).
Inside is Wingårdh’s interior design brand. Their work includes the interiors for the Nobis Hotel Copenhagen, the Miss Clara, and the Radison Blu Strand Hotel.