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The Woman behind the Architecture

We’re investigating familiar and groundbreaking design from our collections.

Whose are the water towers?

One of the world’s most famous water towers, ‘Kuwait Towers’, was designed by the architect Malene Bjørn (1914-2016). At that time she was working as a consultant for VBB – Vattenbyggnadsbyrån (The Water Construction Agency) but, unfortunately, her name was rarely mentioned in relation to this project. The Emir of Kuwait became enthusiastic about her formal sketches, which were very different from the other proposals presented by VBB. Björn grew up in Denmark but moved to Sweden after the Second World War. She later married the architect Sune Lindström, with whom she collaborated in projects such as Wennergrens Center and on interiors for aircrafts operated by SAS (Scandinavian Airlines).

How to best illustrate a construction

To first visualise and then represent a building in a way that makes sense to a client is a crucial part of an architect’s task. The artist Mariana Manner worked closely with the architect Bernt Nyberg over man years. She was in charge of the colour schemes for the projects, and developing inspiring illustrations of the building proposals. Her interest in fashion, as well as her drawing skills, is shown in her presentations drawings. She also used the technique of ‘grafiska blad’ (a format in which you put colour on a plate on and then ‘print’ on paper).

Who’s the idea?

During her third year at KTH in Stockholm, Elisabet Edstam Sterner designed a group of row houses in Ålsten, a suburb of Stockholm. Three years later, a number of formally similar houses were built on the same plot – but were designed by the architect Paul Hedqvist. Was this a coincidence? Except for several colourful and strongly articulated projects from KTH and Arkitekturskolan KKH, there are a lot of proposals for ‘homes for elderly people’ in her collection at ArkDes. This typology seems to have become her speciality.

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