Situated in the town of Kalmar on the east coast of Sweden, Villa Näckros is a world away from the traditional ‘houseboats’ of the past. Where previously, floating homes have always been restricted in terms of both space and comfort, Villa Näckros, designed by Swedish architect Staffan Strindberg, offers a spacious, contemporary living environment that combines all the luxuries of the modern day home with the spatial freedom and unrivalled views that only waterfront living can provide.
The project began in February 2001, when Strindberg and contractor K-V bygg were approached to create a floating home for client, Tecomatic. By November 2001, the design team had created a 1:5 scale model of the proposed design, which elicited such a positive response that they decided to join forces with their client, setting up a new company to pursue the design and technical development of their collective vision. Thus, Modern Marine Homes was born.
Creating the Villa did, however, involve a great deal of careful planning and consideration on the part of the design team. One of Strindberg’s key design solutions was to use repetition where possible. This worked both to simplify the construction process and help keep costs down.
Incorporating 178 square metres living space, set over three half levels, as well as a roof garden and terrace, the Villa’s square shape evolved from the need to create a structure that was as stable as possible. “We had to create something that would float but designing a portable home was not the main objective in this case,” explains Strindberg. “It is going to remain in the same place so there was no need, as with traditional houseboats, to assume the traditional shape of a boat.”
Built using ‘warm construction’, the hull is constructed from reinforced concrete, which has been externally isolated to eliminate moisture on the inside. The weight of the concrete, combined with the shape of the hull provides optimum stability. This method of construction, and innovative means of securing the insulation has now been patented by the company. “I think the building industry is rather conservative,” he continues. “We have developed a new technology in that respect – everything is glued together; there are no mechanical fastenings.”
The primary design objective was to create a light, comfortable and spacious home and was achieved, in part, by dividing the space into a number of split-levels. On entering the villa, immediately to the left is the kitchen, while leading off to the right are the office and study. A short staircase leads down from the kitchen to the main living area and waterfront terrace while descending a further half level leads you to the three bedrooms and two bathrooms. On the upper deck, a 100 square metre roof garden offers extensive views over the water.
The main living area is characterised by large floor-to-ceiling windows, again overlooking the water, that allow the light to flood in. Oak flooring and neutral walls provide a blank canvas upon which to showcase the room’s almost sculptural furnishings. Swathes of light also enable innovative pieces, such the large white sculpture by Swedish sculptor Eva Hild and Olga Thorson’s handmade ceramic ‘Woman’ lamp to create their own playful shadows across the floor. In the corner, a Contura fire by Swedish company NIBE draws the eye upwards, emphasising the room’s double ceiling height. Carpets designed by Barbro Lomakka for Lomakka, have been used to subtly sub-divide and define the open plan living space, while Mats Theselius’ Ambassad chairs, with their coppered steel frames upholstered in rivet prime leather, provide the perfect accompaniment to Mats Lindehoff’s Kub tables.
The room’s centrepiece, a distinctive cream Loungechair by Bruno Mathsson International, creates an added dimension by introducing additional textures with its ‘woven’ upholstery. A CD rack imported from Middle East furniture retailer “The One” leans informally against the wall while a glass vase by Ulrica Hydman-Wallien and miniature car and camper by Olle Brozén are neatly framed by the clean lines of the oblong right-angular window. Using components from Zero, lighting throughout the villa was designed by Mats Lindehoff in collaboration with Strindberg and plays with the different ceiling heights and angles to further customise the space.
Heading up the solid oak stairs to the kitchen area, the angular silhouette of Åke Axelsson’s architectural Anshelm chairs and oak table are over-lit by Eglo’s elegant Focus light. The kitchen itself, by Kvänum, Sweden and Gaggenau, incorporates a central cooking island, creating the social cooking environment that has come to define many of today’s contemporary kitchens.
Across the entrance hall with its limestone floor, a ZINK bookstand, designed by Jonas Bohlin for Källemo, further emphasises the gallery-like approach to the interior design. This is again reflected in the study where, John Kandell’s Solitär table and Singel chair and Theselius’ Sheriff chair, all for Källemo, appear almost as objêts d’art within the space.
Downstairs, the bedrooms have been designed with simplicity in mind. Built in wardrobes create a clean line around the room’s perimeter while the blind, by Nordic Light, provides privacy without restricting the rooms primary light source. A second of Olga Thorson’s limited edition ceramic lamps – this time “Man” – provides an element of continuity whilst retaining its unique individuality.
In the bathrooms, pale yellow tiles, [Höganäs Harmony, No. 22] inject a gentle splash of colour while the ‘Snakeflower’ vase, designed by Ulrika Hydman Wallien for Afors, is simply framed by the rectangular window. Attention to detail is key in the bathroom where Inxx A2 taps by Mora Armatur AB provide the finishing touch. The corner bathtub by Svenska Badkar creates an added sense of luxury, as well as maximising on the available space.
Villa Näckros the company’s first full scale marine home, is the first step in realising Strindberg’s original concept of creating several waterfront homes. In order to realise his vision, it was vital to build one home, a fully inhabited space that could be tested and validated. Having been water-bound for over a year, Villa Näckros has certainly proved itself beyond all expectations. Moreover, it is among the five nominees shortlisted for the Swedish building industries, Building of the Year.
Modern Marine Homes are now working on cityplans, one of which has been created for Kalmar, which will enable more people to live in this unique way.
Photography: James Silverman
In the living area, the combination of a neutral colour palette and high ceilings provides the perfect backdrop for sculptural furnishings by the likes of Eva Hild and Mats Theselius.
Built-in wardrobes work to minimise clutter in the bedrooms, while limited edition pieces, such as Olga Thorson’s handmade ceramic ‘Man’ lamp reflect the sculptural aesthetic that dominates this home.
In the bathroom, pale yellow tiles provide the perfect backdrop to Ulrika Hydman Wallien’s ‘Snakeflower’ vase. The pristine white corner bathtub is complimented by chrome fittings by Mora Armatur AB.
The stainless steel and oak kitchen is the epitome of 21st century living, providing a sociable, yet practical environment in which to cook, dine and entertain.
Overlooking the water, floor-to-ceiling windows ensure plenty of natural light in the study. Barbro Lomakka’s Konkord carpet echoes the rectangular shape of the room while the tubular Genua light, by Per Sundstedt & Mårten Zyrén for Zero, spanning the length of the desk provides an added focal point.
Accessed from the main living area, a 30 square metre terrace furnished with Non 2000 chairs by Komplot Design for Källemo leads right to the waters edge.
The distinctive red corrugated aluminium exterior and aluminium structure of the Villa provide a striking silhouette. The façade was lit at night by Andrew Gauld of gaulddesign.
www.olgadesign.com Olga Thorsen
Olga Thorsen lamps “Man” ”Woman”email@example.com
Komplot Design chairs
Mats Theselius Ambassad chairs/ chair Sheriff
Mats Lindehoff’s Kub tables
John Kandell Solitär table and Singel chair
Jonas Bohlin ZINK bookstand
www.2hild.com Eva Hild
Eva Hild sculpture firstname.lastname@example.org
www.kostaboda.com Kosta Boda
Ulrica Hydman-Wallien glass vase/ Snakeflower’ vase
Olle Brozén miniature car and camper
Inxx A2 taps
www.bruno-mathsson-int.com Bruno Mathson International
bruno Mathsson chair
Per Sundstedt & Mårten Zyrén Genua light
Mats Lindehoff Lighting inside
www.gaulddesign.com Gauld Design
Andrew Gauld outside lighting email@example.com
Barbro Lomakka Konkord carpet
Nordic Light - blinds
Svenska Badkar bathtub
Åke Axelsson Anshelm chairs and oak table
Eglo Focus light
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