2_1_ScanMag_69_Oct_2014_Text:Scan Magazine 1
Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Nordic Architecture Norway
tant for us to find a new market, especially to deploy the substantial number of people working for A-lab by that point.” This new focus became urban planning and large-scale building and housing developments. Always ambitious, the company won a competition to develop a city structure in the area of Vollebekk in Oslo. “The project basically involves building a city from scratch, ”Klev explains offhandedly. Developing and designing large-scale areas is something that has proved to be an extension of A-lab's winning streak. Last year they won 9 out of 12 competitions related to urban planning and development, inaugurating them as one of the country's leading companies in this field. “Since the beginning we have always been challenging ourselves,” says Odd Klev of A-lab. Photo: A-lab
Next Stop: Mumbai
Ready for the Plunge Having won dozens of awards and earned international recognition, A-lab has established itself as one of Norway's most ambitious architecture firms. There's no denying that they have landed solidly on their feet – but what's next? By Maya Acharya
Since 2000, the adventurous Norwegian duo of Odd Klev and Geir Haaversen has spearheaded A-lab, which started out as an endeavour to design IT-offices. It quickly grew into a company of around 40 employees and a list of credentials that includes designing the headquarters for DNB and the Norwegian oil giant Statoil. All at the same time.
Winning urbanites The Statoil building won the award for 'world's best office building' at the World Architecture Festival last year, while another one of their buildings – 'The Carve' – has been nominated this year. “Since the beginning we have always been challenging ourselves,” says Klev. “When we finished those mega projects it was impor-
The next big step is that A-lab will be extending their reach to India, where they have been chosen to design 10 fifty-floor high-rise apartments. A-lab was picked out of 20 companies, after interview rounds with one of India's big development firms. “They got in touch after reading about us in an inflight magazine. Geir flew home from Mumbai yesterday with a bit of stomach trouble and the deal in his briefcase,” Klev smiles. An international project designing skyscrapers in Mumbai is quite a leap from Alab's humble beginnings. “We have sometimes wondered if we dared to take the plunge,” says Klev, “but we've been lucky. Especially in finding the right people and skills for the job.” A-lab works with a 'flat' structure, in which Klev and Haaversen like to think of themselves as having, as Klev puts it: a conductor function. “Our job is to make others good, not deciding everything. And no matter what we do, A-lab has always been about good architecture that changes lives for the better.”
LEFT: The Statoil building won the award for 'world's best office building' at the World Architecture Festival last year. Photo: Luis Fonseca. RIGHT: The Carve Perspective towards the fjord. Photo: Ivan Brodey.
66 | Issue 69 | October 2014
For more information, please visit: www.a-lab.no
Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with actress Signe Egholm Olsen.