Sustainability, craftsmanship and tactility

... are top priorities for the young Aarhus-based design studio FEM. At Institut for (X) at the former railway goods yard Godsbanen close to the city centre, the three students behind FEM have built their own office, where sustainability, craftsmanship and tactility all dovetail neatly together.

Ceilings with Troldtekt acoustic panels in office buildings
Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen, architect

The studio’s office has been designed and built with the idea of keeping the floor area to a minimum while maintaining a high level of materiality and craftsmanship. A few simple features, such as a slight difference in floor level and a generous ceiling height, create a welcoming feel, further enhanced by the large reused windows from Aarhus University.

The building is part of the Aarhus office community Institut for (X), and stacking therefore had to be incorporated as a concept. The office is the shape of a classic container, but with an indoor gallery. An overhang has also been added to make the overall height less overwhelming.

Wood inside, outside and on the ceiling

Within the 21 square metres, space has been found for a kitchenette, a dining area, toilet, a sleeping area and four workspaces. FEM’s philosophy is to show how ingenious layout and quality materials should take priority above floor area. By making do with less space, you can instead spend your energy and money on materials and designs that last longer – for the benefit of the environment. 

The materials that have been used are rough for a tactile and physical experience. Wear and use will bring forth the patination which well-used materials can create. The Troldtekt acoustic ceiling panels are a good example of the conscious choice of materials.

“We decided to use Troldtekt for the sake of the indoor climate and the acoustics. It’s perfect. Made from visible wood wool fibres, the panels are clearly a natural product, and we love this element of transparency,” says Frederik Ravn.