June 4, 2019

Kvistad Gives Digital Studio Bakken & Bæck’s Office a Refresh

Custom powder-coated steel cabinetry meets Claus Bonderup and Torsten Thorup pendant fixtures and Norm Architects tables in the Amsterdam meeting area. Photography by Tekla Evelina Severin.

Proud of its employee-satisfaction record, digital studio Bakken & Bæck sees itself as one big family. So perhaps it’s not surprising that the company turned to real-life siblings to refresh its offices in Oslo and Amsterdam.

What is surprising, however, is that Norwegian brother and sister—and next-door neighbors—Bjarne and Astrid Kvistad had no interior design credentials. But they and their respective spouses, Miriam and Ziemowit—who has assumed his wife’s surname—share many creative skills, from knitting to carpentry, and simply wanted to work together. Bjarne, then a graphic designer at Bakken & Bæck, knew the company wanted to expand its Oslo cafeteria, so the nascent Kvistad firm made its first project pitch. “We met with Bakken & Bæck’s executive team,” Ziemowit reports, “and they liked our crazy ideas so much that they decided to overhaul the entire office.”

The lounge features polyester carpet covering the floor, banquette base, and walls. Photography by Lasse Fløde.

To re-energize the tired 6,500-square-foot former industrial quarters, the designers came up with a theme: Scandinavian Spaceship. “We love 1970s interiors,” Astrid explains. Inspired by a sample of azure solid surfacing, the firm wrap­ped the entire space in seamless Nordic blue, with six gathering areas adding playful pops of con­trasting color. They carpeted some walls and, having learned weaving, created rugs to hang as art on others. “Then we chose furnishings with slender legs, so they look like they are floating,” Astrid adds.

The Oslo office coatroom features a steel hanging system. Photography by Lasse Fløde.

Bakken & Bæck ended up loving the Oslo office so much, the studio engaged Kvistad to overhaul its Amsterdam outpost. The firm was presented with 2,000 square feet consisting of a long, low room, with one big window overlooking a canal. “It made us think of Yellow Submarine!” Ziemowit says.

The love seat in the Oslo office area is by Swedish design studio Note (as are the lounge chairs in the Amsterdam break-out area). Photography by Lasse Fløde.

While clearly having fun, the Kvistads, who have just completed a third Bakken & Bæck office in Bonn, Germany, had to work hard at their new profession. “The biggest challenge was doing everything—from the business side to making furniture—for the first time,” Ziemowit says. “But we did it.”

Keep scrolling to view more images of the project >

The oak flooring in the Amsterdam break-out area and elsewhere is original. Photography by Tekla Evelina Severin.
The Oslo kitchen’s solid-surfacing counter and sink helped inspire the color palette throughout. Photography by Lasse Fløde.
Its custom wall-hung rugs in the Amsterdam office are wool. Photography by Tekla Evelina Severin.
The sofa in the Amsterdam office’s lounge is upholstered in a custom cotton blend. Photography by Tekla Evelina Severin.
Logos for both offices are in neon. Photography by Lasse Fløde.
Most of the Oslo workplace was painted from floor to ceiling. Photography by Lasse Fløde.

Sources: From Top: Areti: Sconces (Lounge). Bemz: Custom Sofa Uphol­Stery. Ikea: Sofa (Lounge), Hanging System (Coatroom), Tables (Office Area). &Tradition: Ceiling Fixture (Lounge). Kvadrat: Custom Pillow Fabric. Hay: Table (Lounge), Vase (Break-Out Area). Satelliet: Chairs (Office Area). Sancal: Love Seat (Office Area), Lounge Chairs (Break-Out Area). DuPont: Solid Surfacing (Kitchen). Vola: Sink Fittings. Gubi: Pendant Fixtures (Meeting Area). Menu.As: Tables, Chairs. Eumenes: Armchairs. Tacchini: Table (Break-Out Area). Throughout: Jotun: Paint. Eg Prosjekt: General Contractor (Oslo). Venserojecten: General Contractor (Amsterdam).

> See more from the May 2019 issue of Interior Design

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