The renovation of Stockholm’s National Museum is a celebration of Scandinavian design

Sweden’s grand dame of an exhibition face has been given a facelift, and there's more to love than ever before

National Museum Sweden exterior
National Museum

Stockholm’s National Museum has doubled its visitor numbers since reopening its doors last year. Proof, if it were needed, that the historic art and design destination’s £104 million renovation has been a roaring success. Swedish architecture practice Wingårds and restoration specialist Erik Wikerstãl led the project – a collaboration, they say, that ‘turned out better than anyone could have imagined’.

Striking a balance between preserving and modernising, the space honours architect Friedrich August Stüler’s original design while simultaneously becoming one of the world’s most technologically advanced museums – think state-of-the-art climate control and acoustic-attenuating stucco surfaces.

National Museum Sweden restaurant
Pla Ulin

As well as revolutionising the building, the work has also changed the way the collections are presented. Exhibition space has been increased (there are three times more artefacts on display than before), the courtyards have been opened up and given Pompidou-esque glass roofs, while the façade has been refitted with the same local Borghamm limestone Stüler used in 1866. ‘Now, more than 5,000 works of art and design are displayed on a timeline from the 16th century to the present,’ explains Susanna Pettersson, the museum’s director general.

National Museum Sweden courtyard
National Museum

To complete the modernisation, more than 30 designers and 20 brands collaborated on pieces to complete the restaurant’s new look – almost all are available to buy. TAF Studio designed the ‘Atelier’ chair for Artek, Örsjö Belysning and The Glass Factory made lights, Chris Martin and Mass Productions created the ‘Draft’ tables, and the covetable tableware is courtesy of Carina Seth Andersson and Design House Stockholm. The result is a celebration of modern Scandi design.

This article first appeared in the August 2019 issue of ELLE Decoration

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