In a scenic area, right next to the Säve River, you will find the Equmeniakyrkan Floda. The church was originally intended to be located elsewhere but found its rightful place in the well-known and culturally rich area of Garveriet in Floda. Sustainability has been the guiding principle in all decisions made here. It is an open church in the heart of the community, providing space for gatherings in various forms and where the scent of wood is ever-present.
A Sustainable Place for Spirit and Togetherness
Garveriet in Floda is a well-known location with significant cultural and historical value, as it is one of the few preserved tanneries in Sweden. The building is also renowned for its beautiful architecture and has been featured in various cultural programs and TV productions.
When Equmeniakyrkan Floda decided to build a new church, the idea arose to connect it to the garveriet's restaurant and conference facility, allowing the activities to collaborate in an open manner. The keyword for the shared spaces was flexibility. Aesthetically, the new church was designed to harmonize with the geometry of the existing, newly renovated building, leading to the choice of hiring the same architectural firm, Kaminsky Arkitektur in Gothenburg, that handled the renovation. Regarding the church's architecture, it was primarily architect Johan Brandström from the firm who was involved. In close dialogue with him and the church's interior design team, Andreas Sture designed and took responsibility for the furniture and lighting in the church hall.
Andreas Sture, Industrial Designer at White Arkitekter:
"Our goal was to create an accessible church with low thresholds. It felt very good to have a shared entrance for both the church and the existing restaurant. This way, the church's spaces could also be used for conferences and other gatherings that the area invites."
Wood as the Dominant Material
"We have chosen wood as the consistent and visible material throughout the interior and wanted this to be reflected in our choice of furniture as well. Initially, we aimed to find recycled furniture since we wanted to select the most sustainable option. However, due to practical reasons, it was not feasible as we needed 250 chairs of the same type."
Comfortable and Aesthetically Sustainable
"I began sketching a new chair based on the requirements we had collectively agreed upon. It needed to provide high comfort and feel comfortable to sit in during longer church services or conference sessions. It had to accommodate both large and small individuals, be stackable and linkable. It was also important for the chair to have a timeless, beautiful form that could endure for many years without feeling outdated."
The chair that Andreas designed was named Anima, which is Latin and appropriately means soul, air, and breath.
Valuable Expertise from Stolab and Albin
"Through contacts, I had the opportunity to meet Martin, who is the CEO of Stolab and Albin. He immediately showed interest in manufacturing the chair and making it available to Albin's own customers. Together with a highly skilled team in Stolab's production, we developed a prototype that was test-sat by the congregation and received commendable approval."
"We chose to make the chair out of solid, matte-lacquered birch with upholstered seats and backs. It felt very reassuring to benefit from the knowledge and experience that Albin's employees possess regarding padding and upholstered furniture for public environments."
Lilla Åland in Reuse
"In the church's café, there was also a need for chairs, and during the discussion about Anima, Martin suggested that we could utilize Stolab's own reuse concept called Reuse. We felt that the classic Lilla Åland chair would harmonize very well with the rest of the interior, and so it happened. 150 Lilla Åland chairs were restored and lacquered in three natural colors: green, gray, and blue. We also chose the suitable Miss Tailor table from Stolab since, like Anima, it is made of solid birch with a durable matte-lacquered surface."
A Sustainable Concept that Works
"We are very satisfied with the final result of our new church and, after a few years of use, see that it functions as we desired. Our premises are bustling with activity and have become a place for various types of meetings and gatherings. Additionally, we selected one of Sweden's leading acousticians, which has turned the church into a fantastic concert venue."