With history on the walls

Acoustic Print Big sound absorbent

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When the sports arena Scandinavium in Gothenburg was due for renovation architecture firm Abako was asked to design a completely new restaurant for 700 guests.

THE IDEA WAS TO create a meeting place in the form of a completely new restaurant area, while also shining a light on Scandinavium's long history. And a visitor can probably feel a breath of the history when walking around among old concert posters, autographs and images of the Frölunda players, seen here many times throughout the years. 

The new section holds a large dining area with room for 700 guests and will serve as a meeting place for supporters, fans and friends in conjunction with various events.

Glöd comes from the Swedish for “glow” and, precisely as the name suggests, there is a sense of warmth here and the colours play on various reds and yellows with copper accents. Entering the restaurant actually feels a little like entering into the living room of Gothenburg itself.

“Instead of looking around for a pub or restaurant near the stadium, visitors can now meet inside the arena. Most people who go to a concert or an event are there a few hours early anyway, and during this time, they want to be able to relax and also maybe eat something or have a beer,” says Birgitta Holmström, Interior Design Manager for the project.

Part of a larger whole

Gothenburg architecture firm Abako is behind the renovation of Scandinavium. Abako has been involved in a number of renovation projects at Scandinavium. Together with Got Event AB, which handles operations, the firm's associates have developed new concepts for stadium seating, lobbies, bars and lounges.

The new assignment, which was started in 2015, centred on creating an entirely new restaurant area on a level where there used to be an office.

One challenge was to create a good, pleasant acoustic environment in what was previously an office with room for about 40 people. The new space would have to be able to accommodate 700 people.

To reduce crowd noise, the ceiling surfaces are clad with sound-absorbent material, and two gigantic photo-absorbent panels run along one side of the restaurant's walls. The photo screens consist of a collage of historical advertising images and are reflected by mirrors located on the interior wall facing the arena. This serves to create a meeting with the “audience” in the arena. 

“A. M. Acoustics were extremely self-directed and took their own initiative to solve issues that came up over the course of the project, such as, for example, making room for loudspeakers that had not been part of initial plans,” says Birgitta.

A story in images

The photographs found on the walls of the light well are advertising images from the innumerable concerts and events in Got Event's image archive: a gold mine of memories from Scandinavium's long history as an organiser of concerts and other events.

The photo screens are produced by A. M. Acoustics and are 18 metres long and 3 metres high, and we placed the images in two large light wells within the space. They are made using a technique that allows long-format seamless printing. All are printed as a single piece and follow the contoured shape of the building.

Scandinavium is in the form of a cylinder, and the circular motif reappears in the interior, the circles on the wall design, the circular pattern on the copper-laminated bar counter and a number of cylindrical fixtures that make a powerful impression.

“The idea was for the fixtures to also function as sound absorbents, but this quite simply became too costly,” says Birgitta, adding that given that Scandinavium will remain in place for about another ten years, the work had to be prioritised in another way than if the project had been planned for a longer expected lifetime.

Two restaurants in one

All the photos and illustrations are part of the history of Scandinavium and one of the principles of the project has been to select and showcase these. Something that actually started in the renovation of the Arena Restaurang & Bar, now called Pouls Restaurang. The name comes from the architect who designed Scandinavium in 1971, Poul Hultberg. Both restaurants connect through the floors, and we have tried to connect the upper level with the lower restaurant level Glöd bar and grill.

A historical collage 

The walls of the restaurant were already adorned with numerous photos depicting performers and music groups, figure skaters, the Gothenburg Horse Show and many of the athletes who have competed at Scandinavium over the years. We decided to digitally process this material and then print it on the wall instead as a single cohesive tapestry, says Birgitta.

This work led to a deep dive into the archives of Scandinavium, where we found a treasure trove of old images of both performers and audience, old and new posters and several guest books full of autographs. And the pictures from the archive comprise a consistent theme in the new renovation. 

The artist images and posters have also been used on the columns in the lobby, and now serve as advertising pillars when they are decorated with full-size images of various artists. So even if Scandinavium is starting to get close to retirement age, its history will live on, both on the walls and in the interior design.

Facts Abako architecture firm

Abako is a creative architecture firm jointly owned by its 45 employees in Gothenburg. The architecture firm started in 1973 and works from overall project design down to the minute details. Abako has worked with Scandinavium on different projects since the late 1990s.

Birgitta Holmström is an architect licensed by the Swedish architecture association who has worked on several assignments for Got Event AB on Scandinavium and Ullevi. She has also worked with many libraries in Gothenburg and surrounding areas. The team working with Birgitta on Scandinavium included Maria Niklasson Holmgren, Managing Architect, Andreas Lindblad, Assistant Architect, and Sigbjørn Steinstø, Building Engineer.


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