glass house, Michelin-starred restaurant ÄNG
Sitting as a solitary diamond in the fields of Ästad Vingård, one of Sweden’s largest vineyards, Restaurang ÄNG stands out among the greenery as a diamond-shaped prism reflecting its surroundings, the sky, and the culinary experience that awaits inside. The partly underground Michelin-starred restaurant ushers in its guests through the glasshouse entrance in the middle of the lush field brimming with young flowers, designed by Norm Architects and furnished by Japanese Karimoku. The exterior preludes the interplay between architecture, food, wine, interiors, and art that its architects aim to materialize, the complement to the 19-course, haute-cuisine experience it serves inside. The experience of ÄNG starts even before one steps inside. As guests pad through the meadow with crops and grasses on both sides of the winding pathway, the journey leads guests to the modern and refined interpretation of a greenhouse turned inside out.
Having the iron structure on the inside, it stands like a prism in the middle of the field; utterly sharp and smooth, mirroring the surroundings. Guests chance upon a small herb garden out front that discloses the local touch and approach to the culinary experience they’re about to have. A protective hedge reveals a glimpse of a nearby lake while still conferring the guests a sense of focus to stay in the present space. The art begins inside the restaurant as seven wooden and stone sculptures with a personal design language are displayed by the Norwegian artist Anders Pfeffer Gjengedal (Løvfall). With inspiration from years in the world of ballet, he works with the sense of form in collaboration with architects and designers alike, turning natural wood and stone into sensual and expressive sculptures.
images by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen
glass house restaurant ÄNG journeying guests
Sitting down, the nouvelle cuisine begins. The staff starts to pour glasses of local champagne and present appetizers made from homegrown produce. If done at sunset, guests can take a sip of their drink while gazing at the sun slowly descending beyond the meadow, serving as a calm and ever-changing backdrop to the evening. Norm Architects’ collaboration with design studio Bonni Bonne comes to view as one soaks in the environment they’re in. Based in Norrland, Sweden, the studio was born from a joint passion and fascination for nature, gastronomy, and the presence of everyday aesthetics. These elements fuse with its ambition to highlight some of Norrland’s traditions as it presents ancient knowledge through modern contexts.
In order to emphasize ÄNG’s strong connection with nature, parts of the curated collection are made from green wood, an ancient woodworking method that creates natural silhouettes and raw textures perfect for the atmosphere in the restaurant. The selected natural materials, such as pure oak for the furniture items and the stone flooring, have been slightly refined or processed to make them more delicate, and the design reminisces Filip Gemzel’s, the restaurant’s head chef, ways of refining the local ingredients that make up the 19-course tasting menu. When it comes to haute cuisine, it’s all about this exchange between architecture, design, lighting, taste, smell, and sounds. When all these elements are balanced and well-adjusted, everything comes together, creating an esteemed experience out of the ordinary.
glass house restaurant ÄNG interplays art and architecture
Integrating artworks and sculptures ground the foundations of the interior and atmosphere at ÄNG. Having the Danish designer, Sara Martinsen, contribute artworks to the space adds warmth and stimuli to the surroundings. The shelves in the open kitchen are filled with curated sculptures and ceramics by Viki Weiland and Ulla Bang. All of Weiland’s designs are wheel-thrown and glazed by hand while Bang’s handbuilt stoneware ceramics employ an ancient pottery technique. As the evening moves along, the guests will be led to a hidden elevator, temporarily ending the bright summer evening, and escorts them underground into a dark catacomb-like wine cellar to test the restaurant’s own production as well as high-end French labels.
As the sommelier leads the way through the shelves to pick out the wine for the next part of the dinner, patrons also catch a glimpse of a quiet, dark lounge setting in the middle of the space. To emphasize the transitions from one atmosphere to another, the tiles, cut like a brick floor, foster a cave-like feeling that meets the wooden floor by Danish Dinesen. Inspired by the Japanese Karesansui gardens of raked sand and stone, Norm Architects traveled to Växjö to collect the ready-made sculptures of nature from a giant quarry. An important aesthetic principle underlying these dry landscape gardens is ‘yohaku-no-bi’, or ‘the beauty of blank space’.
glass house, Michelin-starred ‘Restaurant ÄNG’ stands out as a diamond prism in greenfield
The raw beauty of stone
The team says they learned from Masatoshi Izumi to see the raw beauty in stone and have realized how the sculpture is already within. ‘You just have to look for it,’ states Norm Architects. The stone sculptures stand as simulations of the surrounding landscape, welcoming guests as they step out from the darkness of the wine cellar and into the main dining room through a giant pivoting wooden door.
In addition to references to Swedish nature and the use of renowned Japanese furniture design, the architectural studio implemented acoustic walls made of canvas from Kvadrat, chosen in a shade reminiscent of jute sacks where crops and grain are placed. The evening ends back in the glass house, where the experience comes full circle as the sun has now set and the desserts are being served. As the architects believe along with their collaborators, ÄNG unveils a venue that enables anyone who walks and works in it to explore, learn, elaborate, and create memories.
it blends art, architecture, and culinary experience through sculptures and 19-course, haute-cuisine menu