Mandaworks is a progressive and contemporary design studio engaged in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and comprehensive planning. The Stockholm based studio was founded in 2010 and is owned and operated by partners Martin Arfalk and Patrick Verhoeven. The supporting multidisciplinary design team spans nine nationalities and features a fertile mix of professional and educational backgrounds. The core team is complemented with a strong and growing network of collaborators across Europe, Asia and North America. Mandaworks is currently working to realise a diverse and exciting portfolio of projects in Sweden and abroad that range from public spaces, landscapes and masterplans that have resulted from successful competitions, pre-qualifications and direct commissions.
Mandaworks is committed to improving our buildings, public realms and cities through design solutions that are unexpected, imaginative and contextually sensitive. We place human experience at the centre of our work. Striving to create places that make people feel connected, stimulated and joyful.
We are urban optimists: At the core of our thinking is the firm belief that great urban environments make our lives better. The contemporary city is a dynamic place and we invest our time imagining how it can be improved.
We see projects as opportunities: We are committed to the idea that every component of the city – big or small – contributes to the overall urban experience. Therefore we consider each and every project an important opportunity to give back to the building, street, neighbourhood, city or region.
We think in scales: We fully embrace the challenges of modern city building in our work. We aim to provide holistic solutions that blend ecosystem, economy, technology, identity and community.
Mandaworks projects are driven by a flexible set of methods that guide us through the design process. We have three consistent cornerstones of our work: comprehensive analysis of a project site, a rigorous and thorough experimentation process and the development of clear conceptual narratives. The studio is proficient in a variety of design tools and utilises them to engage with projects on many scales – from comprehensive planning to urban furniture design. We seek to understand and consolidate the needs of a project on multiple scales, combining site specific spatial thinking, regional urban dynamics and an imaginative approach to the future of our cities.We understand that great work comes from great partnerships.
We endeavour to form forward thinking collaborations with our clients and partners by clearly and concretely communicating ideas early in the design process. We thrive in open and creative dialogues where our experienced project leaders can work together with clients and collaborators to formulate inspiring design directions and solutions. Our work is driven through three key elements: Curiosity; We begin with thorough research and analysis that seeks to reframe problems and reveal hidden or forgotten layers, Experimentation; We rigorously test multiple conceptual directions to maximise our ability to find and develop creative and effective solutions, and Narrative; We think a big part of the design process is invisible, and sometimes the narrative is the design itself!
Pocket park on the canal
Slussplan is located along one of Malmö’s important urban links – Östra förstadsgatan – which connects Malmö’s town centre with its eastern district Värnhem. The space’s triangular plot unites one of the City’s tallest residential buildings with the historic Rörsjö Canal via a stairway down to the water’s edge. The urban park design integrates artwork by Malmö Artist David Svensson, whose inspiration from maritime history and aesthetics complements the space greatly. The triangular park is divided into two parts featuring circular vegetation beds adorned with shrubs and plants on one side and an active urban square on the other. The composition of the square is tied together by the four large Kebony wood sculptures that form seating furnitures. The largest of the furnitures is a wooden stairway by the water that has been rotated to face the sun, inviting people to interact with the water in a way they couldn’t before.
Location: Malmö, Sweden / Date: 2010 / Size 1200 m2 / Type: Public Space Commission / Status: Completed 2015 / Client: Municipality of Malmö / Collaborators: Photograph: Anthony Hill, artist: David Svensson, Construction drawings: Rambøll / Photographer: Anthony Hill
An active and green village square
A neighbourhood square grown out of the site’s movement patterns, geological history, and surrounding architectural qualities, Hermods Plats brings a new identity to the village of Klagshamn. Inspired by the fragmentary nature of the flint stone found in the surrounding landscape, the design connects across the bisecting street to form a unified square that prioritizes pedestrian flow and creates a cohesive design language. The resulting design creates a series of rooms, called fragments, that tie together the old village structure with the newly developed residential area.
Responding to their adjacent context, each fragment is defined through a series of curved concrete edges that vary in height and function. Within the square there are two types of concrete edges: one is a thin line in level with the floor surface that respects the site’s lines of desire and the other is a thicker, elevated wall that supports in situ seating areas, a jeu de boule play area, and elevated vegetation areas. Collectively the differentiated edges organize a selection of floor treatments and softscape materials that bring a strong design identity while also answering to the municipality’s demand for adaptability over time.
Location: Malmö, Sweden / Date: 2010-2013 / Size 3600 m2 / Type: Public Space Commission / Status: Completed 2013 / Client: Municipality of Malmö / Collaborators: Pernilla Theselius, Malmö Municipality / Photos: Kasper Dudzik
Bringing Clarity to a Historic Public Space
The cultural axis is a historically important part of central Vänersborg that has become increasingly peripheral and disconnected from city life. The site, once clear in aesthetics and concept, is now unfocused, overgrown and fractured. Our design to revitalise the park focuses on redefining the site’s borders, bringing clarity to the axis, and incorporating new functions to create a civic meeting place for the inhabitants of the city.
The axis is made of a sequence of renewed spaces that are reconnected by unified site furnishings and strengthened visual connections. The heart of the revitalisation is the market square. Here the design establishes a level surface and coherent floor pattern that allow for its flexible use. In the central section, two forest-like blocks are merged and reshaped into a structure that places the church inside a magnificent colonnade. Within the colonnade all the sculptures of the axis are collected and displayed. In the far east, the former school plot is transformed into an enclosed cultural hub that combines adapted buildings, a new cultural building and an inner arboretum.
Location: Vänersborg, Sweden / Date: 2015 / Size 11 Hectares / Type: Invited Competition / Status: Completed 2016 / Client: City of Vänersborg / Collaborators: Benthem Crouwel Architects, David Svensson / Photographer: Anthony Hill
A strategy for a new activity landscape
Lund University and its collaborators are developing a world class science facility in Lund. The new area will feature the European Spallation Source (ESS), Max IV Lab and Science Village. The Knowledge park is a proposal for a new landscape park located in Brunnshög, the main development area for the University expansion.
The proposal uses the areas distinct topography by enhancing and placing five activity islands on the heights of the landscape. Each park island has a main theme and focus while also unfolding a variety of sub-themes. Like ingredients in a dish, the type and amount has been adapted to each island, so that the landscape, the size of the island, and the location adequately meet the city’s need for recreation. The five island themes are playfulness, experimentation, tranquility, exercise and fantasy.
Additionally, the design utilises Skåne’s regional landscape and its rich diversity to create strong landscape experiences that bind together the thematic islands and the region’s cultural landscape. The design draws inspiration from the five Skåne landscapes and uses their features to help define and characterise the park.
Location: Lund, Sweden / Date: 2015 / Size 170 Hectares / Type: Landscape and park plan commission / Status: Concept Phase completed 2015 / Client: Municipality of Lund.
Masterplan for an industrial harbour front
Kolkajen (The coal quay) is located in Stockholm’s Royal Seaport, one of Europe’s largest development areas. Situated on the site of an obsolete gasworks and steps away from one of Stockholm’s Metro lines, the old industrial harbour offers a unique opportunity to redefine Stockholm’s relationship with its waterfront.
The masterplan is structured around its central public space – the water arena – which extends out from the existing coastline and frames a section of the Lilla Värtan waterway. Strategically placed platforms connect to the quay edge forming sun soaked public balconies that grow out of the urban structure.
The three distinct areas of the plan – Kolkajen’s Balcony, Tjärkajen’s Terraces and the Ropsten Plateau – are tied together with an eclectic mix of spaces that include a canal, linear park, waterfront square, urban boulevard and pier.
Location: Stockholm, Sweden / Date: 2014 / Size 15 Hectares / Type: Masterplan – Invited Competition / Status: Invited Competition 1st Prize – 2014, WAF Shortlist – 2016, Plan Development Ongoing / Client: Stockholm City / Collaborators: Adept Architects.