There exists among the Swedish people, an intrinsic love and respect for nature. This is the land where everyone is free to roam and enjoy nature without laws of trespassing even on private property, and they have a name for it, Allemansrätten.
Björn Jakobson is an example of one such Swede. With his love for nature, the forests, the sea and the Stockholm Archipelago, in 2000 came up with a vision to build a place to bring people together to enjoy everything he so loves. Björn is one of Sweden’s most successful entrepreneurs, having built the company BabyBjörn. It all started with the baby carriers parents all over the world used to carry their babies strapped to their chests, I used them as well. In 2012 Artipelag was born. An Art Museum and Event Centre by the Archipelago, with two restaurants and an auditorium. A labour of love for Björn Jakobson and he continues today, at the age of 81, to be completely involved in the running of the place.
I had the pleasure of meeting Björn, his equally energetic and charming wife Lillemor and his daughter Lisa. Björn and Lillemor have worked closely together for many years in building up the BabyBjörn label, he in all the business aspects and she on the design front. A guided tour by Björn through the property, one can feel the passion he possesses for the place, all 54 acres of it, a magnificent pine forest, and tall slender birch trees. The building itself blends into the landscape without disturbing it, an architectural beauty designed by Johan Nyrén. Artipelag is an Art Museum, but here is a building that frames the Art that exists in Nature, tall windows that overlook the cliffs, the tall pine trees, the sky, the shimmering sea. So much attention to detail, the acoustics are impressive, you can have 1,000 people at an event in the Art Box and you can still have an intimate conversation. This is carried on in all the private rooms upstairs connected to the restaurant, which can be used for meetings. A large rock forms part of the restaurant, one that Björn and Lillemor insisted should stay and not be removed during the building process and the restaurant is named after this 11,000 year old rock Bådan. This rock forms the walls of the stunning toilet areas below the restaurant. We had lunch at the Artipelag restaurant in a private room. The food was delicious, all from high quality local produce. Everywhere you sit you are able to enjoy the view and the surrounding beauty. There is also a boardwalk covering 800m curving through the rocky coastline and the forests, leading from the car park to the front of the building, which also makes it completely wheelchair accessible. Even a dock for those who decide to bring their boats. The rooftops are covered in a palette of colours from the Sedum that covers it. There are places up there to sit in the sunshine and enjoy the warmth and the view and breathe in the fresh air. All this to enjoy and only 20 minutes away from the city centre.
There are three to four exhibitions a year at Artipelag. The one at present is called “Earth Matters” curated by Li Edelkoort, one of the world’s leading trend analysts and Philip Fimmano. An exhibition concept designed specifically for Artipelag related to the Landscape, Water and Earth. Walking through the exhibition one is framed into the nature surrounding us at Artipelag, the surroundings being perfect for this exhibition. An important exhibition on Sustainability and Design. How we use and abuse the earth’s resources and how we can slowly change our perceptions of design and perhaps challenge ourselves to a new way of thinking about what we use and wear in our daily life. What we do to our planet and how we destroy it. To quote Li Edelkoort – “This young century has brought about a moment of reflection and radical change, making up for a century of ecological abuse, consumption, greed and violence. For the first time, a post-fossil society is emerging, using natural ingredients, offering alternatives and giving us hope for the future.” The exhibition ends on the 3rd of May, if you haven’t seen it, it is definitely worth your time. Watch these series of short films by Conservation International that is presented as a video installation with voice overs by well known actors and actresses.