In the Swedish city of Halmstad, the Ernst Wigforss Plats has been transformed from a car park into an inviting urban plaza. With the Municipality of Halmstad and Teutsch landskapsarkitekter, Streetlife collaborated on the project by supplying striking Surf Isles and Podium Isles. Due to the poetic and architectonic qualities of this extraordinary square, the design was awarded the annual Byggnadsnämndens Architecture Prize last month.
The square pays homage to Ernst Wigforss, a Swedish teacher, author, linguist and former finance minister who was born in Halmstad. His theory is considered to be the foundation of Swedish social democratic values. The square’s design is a poetic representation of texts by Wigforss: the interplay of lines on the pavement represent lines of text, and, during the evening, light-emitting CorTen steel cubes illuminate laser-cut, memorable quotes displayed on the cubes.
The Podium Isles from the Streetlife Collection follow the line patterns of the paving layout. While characterised by a modest design, these podia are fitted with back and arm rests, allowing them to function as ‘urban sofas’. The Streetlife Surf Isles are larger and more dynamic. These three-dimensional seating isles have an undulating surface. Due to the ever-changing light, the impression is that the waves are actually in motion, which truly brings the Surf Isles to life. Lounging between the hardwood waves is great fun!
The uniform use of materials within the Streetlife Collection means that the products integrate seamlessly with each other, resulting in strong mutual cohesion. Both types of isle are composed of hardwood Streetlife Solid slats, which are invisibly mounted to a CorTen steel base structure. The steel reappears in the linear tree outlines and the light-emitting cubes.
From the opening ceremony onwards, Ernst Wigforss Plaza has demonstrated its added value. The square is used by pedestrians to get to their various destinations and is an appealing location to meet or have lunch. It is also a special place to visit to contemplate on the values that Ernst Wigforss is renowned for. The square assumes a different appearance at various times of the day because of the combination of seating elements and the atmospheric lighting.