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Blonde wood walls and a gable roof. Throughout the Swedish countryside, it’s a simple typology for cottages and boathouses that’s been ubiquitous for centuries. On a rugged cliff just north of Gothenburg on the country’s west coast, the quintessentially Scandinavian style was an inspiration — and a point of elegant departure — for a minimal yet inviting new family home by Denmark’s Norm Architects.

Lined in natural pine, Archipelago House meets the coastline in a quartet of volumes that negotiate the jagged topography. The interlocking forms are connected by a terraced deck that frames the back of the home with a hospitable and protected outdoor space. Overlooking a panorama of the archipelago, the unencumbered openness of the deck fosters a sense of closeness with nature.

Set against the dramatic coastal scenery, the home’s simplicity — and natural materiality — conveys a soothing ambiance. Inside, the same clean lines and wood finishes translate to an intimate living space. In the kitchen, for example, ample storage is built into a bespoke wall unit to create an internal wood facade free of visual clutter.

A double-height living area maintains the design’s rigorous minimalism, with unadorned walls that draws attention to the wood finishes and the clean angularity of the gable ceiling — not to mention the striking views outside. An adjoining dining area can be closed off with a hidden sliding door, or configured as part of a generously continuous open space.

The bathrooms, too, reflect the drama of the landscape. A departure from the light, deferential sensibility of the living and dining spaces, rich grey stone creates a pair of almost cave-like — yet decidedly luxurious — spas in miniature.

However, it’s a bespoke lighting program that truly unifies these restrained gestures. A project-specific collaboration between Norm Architects, Japanese wood furniture manufacturer Karimoku and acclaimed Kyoto-based lantern-maker Kojima Shouten yielded both a delicate pendant and a small floor lamp.

While the shape of the pendant hints at Archipelago House’s gable roofs, the quality of the light gently accentuates the home’s coziness. Thanks to its triangular construction, the luminaire filters light out and above as well as down, with the bottom gracefully covered by a single piece of Washi paper.

A similarly delicate Washi lampshade lends the floor lamp an equally warm glow. Sitting on Karimoku’s wooden base, the fixtures reads as a piece of furniture, making for a small yet substantial accent. Both the lampshade and the wooden base can easily be disassembled and flat-packed, allowing easy transportation.

In Archipelago House, Karimoku also introduces their new club chair — set to hit the market in 2021. Dubbed N-CC01, the compact yet comfortable seat boasts an artfully integrated armrest and back. Its natural wood finish and lightweight, breathable presence also make it a perfect fit for the coastal home.


According to the architects, these bespoke furnishings and lighting are as much a part of the home as the building itself. “In the design process, it was a clear goal for us that the details in the product itself should speak directly into the surrounding architecture and interior,” says Norm Architects, “while also telling the story of each of the companies being involved in the production.”

On Sweden’s Rocky Coast, a Modest House Embraces the Warmth of Wood

Designed by Norm Architects, the refined Archipelago House is elevated by its sleek simplicity and bespoke touches.

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