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The collaboration with Skanska began with an unexpected discovery by Sofie Hjort, a project manager and architect at the property developer, who was flicking through a magazine on the train to Malmö when she came across a feature about Contem. The timing was perfect as the urban business space, Sthlm 02 Studion in Stockholm needed a partner for its ground-floor interior. Designed by Varg Arkitekter, the project embodied warmth, elegance, and environmental consciousness. Contem, and its commitment to repurposing materials, emerged as the perfect fit.

For the design of the 250-square-meter public space and café, Contem joined forces with architects Studio Abirascid Hemlin and Ductus Studio, drawing inspiration from iconic Stockholm establishments such as Pelican, Kvarnen, and Konstnärsbaren. They’ve not only survived decades of trend shifts but continue to grow as legendary venues, known for their enduring interiors characterised by bold use of wood – a true sign of sustainability. Contem enlisted architects Michele Abirascid (Studio Abirascid Hemlin) and Patrick Müller (Ductus Studio) to help develop the permanent fixtures, envisioning a communal setting with a vibrant coffee bar at its heart that would stand the test of time.

Originally, the plan was to utilise salvaged material from the construction site, but since most had already been removed, another solution was needed. On one of the many visits to a scrap yard, Contem came across huge urban tree trunks, discarded due to the rampant Dutch elm disease. During 2023 over 600 elms were taken down in Stockholm alone, with the vast majority becoming fuel for district heating. Despite the wood’s ideal qualities for furniture making and interiors, so few have dared to grow it due to the risk of sickness. The decision to repurpose the elm for Sthlm 02 Studion was an easy one and Contem quickly connected with a specialist arborist who was vaccinating endangered trees worldwide. As it turns out, he was storing several trees, felled fifteen years ago from the garden of one of Sweden’s most renowned furniture designers, Carl Malmsten, awaiting the right project. At a local sawmill, the wood was systematically dried and transformed into panels, then installed and complemented by the furniture collection produced in Bandhagen, Stockholm. The legacy of Sthlm 02 Studion now embodies a narrative of environmental responsibility, turning a chance encounter into a symbol of conscious and timeless design.