villa widlund by claesson koivisto rune in 'house art view' exhibition in tokyo

villa widlund by claesson koivisto rune in 'house art view' exhibition in tokyo

seven years ago, architects claesson koivisto rune designed a private house in the village of sandvik, located on the baltic island of öland, which is connected to the mainland by a long bridge — about a five-hour drive from stockholm, sweden. the summer vacation house for an art collector, villa widlund, is still one of the architects’ favourite projects, and together with the owner, mr. jan widlund, they analysed what it is like to inhabit this work of architecture (because time can be a reliable judge of quality in architecture).


how does the concept work at the end? how is the emotional interaction between the inhabitants and the space in reality? is there perhaps an aspect of architectural design that can be compared to an art experience? designboom met the architects at tokyo’s time & style gallery at the opening of their exhibition ‘house art view’.

villa widlund by claesson koivisto rune



the 3,000-square-foot widlund vacation house comprises a white concrete box ‘corsetted’ in the middle, creating slightly sheared wall and roof angles. this gives the building both its direction and character, while also marking the difference between the rear private two-storey bedroom part and the communal double ceiling-height front part. ‘we were asked by jan widlund, a stockholm lawyer and art collector, and his wife, karin meidner to create a building to live in, to house art pieces and to enhance the views – and it turned out to be a funnel of light, space and sea views’ eero koivisto tells designboom.

villa widlund house has a broadly triangular silhouette, marked by a geometric ensemble of asymmetric shapes
all images by åke e:son lindman, if not otherwise stated.



‘it is unusual for architects to look back, and this project is an exception, you go back to something you did 7 years ago, to remember what was the idea behind a project and to make new objects, based on the initial concepts. it is like adding another layer to it.’ continue claesson koivisto rune,‘we decided to create ‘objets d’art’ – meaning art objects – something that is not art and not design, and that’s how ‘time and style’ came into the play’.

the concrete is not painted or surface-pigmented but solid white, which gives it a wonderful glow



stemming from this house, and from the passing of time, a number of new objects have been conceived in collaboration with japanese luxury design company time & style, previewed during the design art tokyo festival 2018 — running until october 28. among backdrops of large, architectural scale model and poster-size photographic prints, a book has also been presented, which includes texts and drawings by the house’s owner and the architects.

the joints between the concrete elements are carefully designed and positioned so that – instead of interfering with – they become part of the building’s geometry and expression



‘when we started talking about the exhibition, 2 months ago, we started out developing 10 things, but we thought we might have picked only the best three for production. instead we made 9 – and the book – number 10.says mårten claesson. ‘the 9 objets d’art are manufactured with different craftsmen around japan.’

the sealant in between is gray to enhance the graphic effect rather than matching the concrete surface



depending on the different materials and manufacturing techniques, we worked with the best artisans and the quality is perfect.ola rune specifies, ‘we worked with wood, ceramics, metal, gold – yeah gold – why not, or… or handmade acrylic, under supervision of mr. ryutaro yoshida of time & style.

construction and furnishings are minimal so that each room highlights the windows and spectacular outdoor views



‘the 9 objects are inspired by one architectural concept but also hold a function in their own right. talking about functions, we remembered the construction difficulties that we had to overcome. for example the house faces a strong wind throughout the year and the big windows, especially in the middle, have to resist to high pressure. when we wanted to fit two floors and were limited by local building restrictions we decided to take out 70 cm of the ground. there were many challenges, to find the right manufacturer for this white concrete we had to do tests with 4 different suppliers’, says eero koivisto.

interior view



‘you ask me how we have evolved from the moment when we built villa widlund, and I think we’re even more focused and more pure now. we’ve got a bit older, have no time for bullshit and still believe in what we are doing. we care about things on a longer prospective.’ says ola rune.over a 20 year period of traveling to and through japan, this country has left a big influence on us. working with local craftsmen is always exciting. the ‘house art view’ exhibition is a culmination of all of this.’

the ‘house art view’ exhibition at time & style gallery, in tokyo
image courtesy of claesson koivisto rune, time & style



also the book is an exception. it is an unusual architecture book. it’s all connected together. the photos are taken at various times over 7 years, and for example the furniture has changed. we think this is nice’, says mårten claesson. ‘in the pictures there are many design pieces, alvar aalto vintage, or of marcel breuer, but we do not describe them in the book.  we only describe the art works.’ 

close-up into the exhibition
image © designboom

villa widlund, wood model
image © designboom

objet d’art n° 5 – acrylic paper weights
image courtesy of claesson koivisto rune, time & style

objet d’art n° 1 – plate set
image courtesy of claesson koivisto rune, time & style

a view into the exhibition
image © designboom

objet d’art n° 2 – book stand
image courtesy of claesson koivisto rune, time & style

objet d’art n° 3 – tray set
image courtesy of claesson koivisto rune, time & style

objet d’art n° 4 – club chair
image courtesy of claesson koivisto rune, time & style

a view into the exhibition
image © designboom

objet d’art n° 9 – ornamental frames
image courtesy of claesson koivisto rune, time & style



claesson koivisto rune at time & style gallery tokyo
image © designboom

book ‘house art view ‘- villa widlund by claesson koivisto rune


house art view – claesson koivisto rune

october 17th -28th, 2018

time & style, 3f, galleria, tokyo-midtown 9-7-4, akasaka minato-ku



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