Johansen Skovsted Architects: It’s all about simplifying things



“We like it when things are cut to the bone.”

Meet a rising star of the architectural scene in Northern Europe – Copenhagen based Søren Johansen and Sebastian Skovsted: “When you ask about minimalism in our work, or any other ism, we are not interested in simplicity for simplicity’s sake.”

Søren Johansen and Sebastian Skovsted studied and travelled together before joining forces on first projects. “So it was something that just evolved, more than a case of us sitting down and deciding to do this.” From the very beginning though, Johansen Skovsted Architects had a common fascination for architecture being “contemporary and silent”.

At the same time, the studio doesn’t mind working within a given framework. “It’s as if we make better choices when we have restrictions. We sometimes call it creative obstructions. There are changes to patterns of movement, patterns of life and in material cultures. All these things are in a state of constant flow. Architecture should be continuously adjusted to reflect what goes on around us.”

“The exciting thing about being an architect is that on the one hand you’re creating within a certain context, business or pattern of life and have a good sense of when it was built. Even if it’s timeless. On the one hand, it’s rooted in a specific time and place. If you can produce the feeling of being present in the world and feeling that you are in the right place as a human while also creating a building which is built at a certain point of time, that’s something we strive for. If we can achieve that, we have reached our goal.”

Johansen Skovsted Arkitekter is an architectural office based in Copenhagen, founded by Søren Johansen (b.1981) and Sebastian Skovsted (b.1982) in 2014. The office seeks to bridge the gap between contemporary building processes and materials, and basic architectural values, through a synthesis of ideas, techniques and manufacturing methods. The office sees structure as a lively part of the space it makes by placing and connecting components which are both readable and relatable and which strongly contribute to a particular spatial character.

The office has been rewarded by several prizes, such as the Häuser Award – Interior Prize 2020, the AD Design Award 2018, the Three-Year Working Grant of the Danish Arts Foundation 2017, the Danish Crown Prince Couple’s Stardust Award 2016 and the Bisballe Prize 2015, named Highly Commended Practice in the Architectural Review Emerging Architecture Award 2018 and shortlisted for the EU Mies Award 2017.

Both Søren Johansen and Sebastian Skovsted have studied architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK). Sebastian Skovsted has furthermore conducted parts of his studies at TU Delft. In addition to their practice they teach at KADK at the Institute of Architecture and Technology. In 2019 they run a studio at the Porto Academy. They have lectured at institutions such as ETH Zurich, EPFL Lucerne, The Barbican, London Metropolitan University, Porto School of Architecture, the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, the University of New South Wales and the Sydney Opera House. They are both members of The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, the Society of Artists. In 2020 Trema Förlag published Rotunda III – Johansen Skovsted Arkitekter.

Johansen Skovsted Architects were interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at their studio in Copenhagen, Denmark in August 2020.

Camera: Klaus Elmer and David Schweiger

Edited by Klaus Elmer

Produced by Marc-Christoph Wagner

Copyright: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2021

Supported by Dreyersfond

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