FOJAB defies the economy with Gothenburg investment

In a time of uncertainty and a declining economy, FOJAB is going against the grain and investing in the future. Fredrik Kjellgren is head of the newly opened office in Gothenburg, which is now moving into Hasselblad's old camera factory.

What about old factory premises and FOJAB?

- The Malmö office is housed in a knitwear factory and the Stockholm office in a bicycle factory - it seems obvious that the Gothenburg office should be in a camera factory! These are environments that suit us very well and also highlight what our work as architects will be even more about in the future - finding development opportunities for existing buildings so that they can live longer.

How is FOJAB received in Gothenburg?

- Good, there is a lot of interest! FOJAB is a Malmö company and Gothenburgers are somewhat fascinated by Malmö. The legacy of the shipyard unites us, but Malmö also has a special and exciting cultural offering, and as a Gothenburg native who has worked in Skåne, I would like to help a cultural exchange along the way. My idea is for FOJAB to organize different kinds of public events, preferably with a connection to Malmö. We will bring the best of Malmö to Gothenburg!

Looking for new staff for the office?

- Absolutely! I am looking forward to having colleagues in Gothenburg, but we are not rushing to make any appointments, the important thing is that the right people work well together. At FOJAB there is a very nice culture, a community and care for each other that I want to protect.

- But I don't hide the fact that we are looking for the very best. Of course, this means different things if you are a commissioned architect or if you are a recent graduate. A commissioning manager should have won competitions, have their own client contacts and the ability to generate their own commissions. But it's not necessarily about having the best portfolio. You might as well have a special skill or talent. Having specialist knowledge in sustainability is of course attractive.

- Coming to a newly started office means that you get great opportunities to influence, but in return you must not be afraid to take action where needed, high and low. It's really a golden seat, we can be the adventurous little sister who at the same time feels the security of the mother ship and the strength of 150 talented colleagues in Malmö, Helsingborg and Stockholm.

What do you think distinguishes FOJAB as an architectural practice?

- FOJAB operates within the proud tradition of Skåne architecture, which is of a very high standard. They are not satisfied with the broad strokes but also attach great importance to the details. At FOJAB there is a great deal of knowledge about how to realize buildings with a high level of workmanship. This applies to everything from housing in beautiful, solid materials to intricate details on court buildings. There is also an incredible amount of internal knowledge in sustainability and innovation, and close collaboration with research and academia.

What is most important for the future? Have you identified a direction for the Gothenburg office?

- I have identified a number of areas where I see the greatest potential. But of course it's also about the skills our new employees bring with them, which we can use to build FOJAB further. Regardless of the direction, we are now entering new times; a new economy and here in Gothenburg also a new architectural policy. Going forward, much will be about how we can adapt architecture to the new conditions. For me it is important to create beautiful and good architecture even with a smaller budget. It will also be particularly important to have the courage and strength to stick to good and sustainable projects.


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