Walking into this apartment in the heart of Gothenburg is penetrating a very complex and whimsical brain: that of designer Torsten Ottesjö. Borne out of the client’s desire to optimize space, Ottesjö together with Lars Isestig has transformed this apartment into an intricate, multi-leveled nest, comprised of two stairways, a bedroom, a bathroom with shower, a fully-equipped kitchen, an office, a closet, a living room/guest bedroom and dining area—all within a mere 17m2 x 3,6m (183 sq ft x 11,8 ft). The apartment was built both in consideration of utilising the volume of the apartment to its capacity, but also to offer a multitude of shifts within perspective, which creates a different space and view from all the possible angles. The sections are therefore positioned not only in respect to each other but also to the sole window. The way each section contorts and folds into such a small space is mind-boggling…and that is exactly the point. Ottesjö deliberately creates complex living playgrounds which destabilize the mind: one doesn’t understand his work intellectually, one moves through it intuitively. In such a way, the designer “lets the environment take care of people and not the other way around”. The intricacy of each form combined with the simplicity of the materials expand the space (and the imagination) rather than condensing it. The light that seeps in between the walls’ wood panels creates a coziness and an airiness that have become a signature of Ottesjö’s style, making heavy materials light, and small spaces vast. This creation is also a bold and beautiful plea for living in a simpler, more resource-conscious way. By creating small livable places with local inexpensive materials, this apartment serves as a powerful example of how we can create more sustainable cities. Rather than building simple housing units however, Ottesjö’s aim is above all to “build apartments that hug you”, and this, perhaps more than anything else, is what he accomplishes here.
(Text by Celine Kuklowsky, Illustration by Lars Isestig, styling by Torunn Ingersdotter Melander, photography by David Relan)