Style Council Spotlight: Mr Sigurd Larsen
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany. Photograph by Ms Mia Moessinger/Unsplash. Inset: Mr Sigurd Larsen. Photograph by Ms Janine Sametzky
Mr Sigurd Larsen may be one of the newest inductees to the MR PORTER Style Council, but this is not the first time he has graced our pages. In 2015, the Danish-born architect was one of five men we interviewed for a story in The Journal on his adopted hometown, Berlin, in which he spoke about the effects that gentrification and overtourism were having on the city. Today, like many cities around the world, Berlin faces a very different existential threat.
In the second instalment of our monthly Style Council Spotlight series, we jumped on a call with Mr Larsen to find out how he’s been adapting to life under lockdown, how the changes of the past year have affected his profession and why, for him, Berlin is still the place to be. And if you still haven’t taken a moment to check out MR PORTER’s Style Council, you can do so right here. It’s packed full of global recommendations, just like the ones Mr Larsen shares below.
How has the past year been for you professionally?
Thankfully, architecture hasn’t been too badly hit because construction sites were able to stay open, so my team and I were still able to work. Of course, we have had to adapt. First there was a home-office phase, then we returned to the office but with plastic screens between our desks.
Has the nature of your work changed?
There are a bunch of projects in the pipeline that I think we will look back on as 2020 projects, because they are very clearly the product of our people having time to think about new ways of living. Things such as single-family houses for people who have realised they need more space, or small hotels outside big cities, such as London, that are designed for short weekend breaks without the need for long journeys.
Which project means the most to you?
The treetop hotel, Løvtag, in Denmark is the first hotel project where we designed both the building and interior. It’s a unique place in a forest on a peninsula and I try to find excuses to go there and check up on the buildings as often as possible. Next month I’ll be visiting Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic Sea, to set out plans for a new branch.
Exterior of Treetop Hotel Løvtag, Hadsund, Denmark. Photograph by Mr Søren Larsen, courtesy of Treetop Hotel
Returning closer to home, how has Berlin fared throughout the pandemic?
Going out to eat is a huge part of normal social life in Berlin, so it has been strange not being able to visit restaurants. Back in the summer everything moved outside, with restaurants serving out of their windows onto the streets. That’s a situation I’m hoping will return.
Any favourite spots in the city?
Victoria Bar in Berlin has excellent cocktails, and the room makes you feel like an actor in a movie from another decade. And Michelberger Hotel has managed what many other hotels fail to do, to create a space where both guests from abroad and local neighbours have a reason to stop by. Its restaurant is great. It serves food from its own farm in Spreewald. Finally, RE Cucina in Berlin-Kreuzberg is my favourite local restaurant. It makes the best baccalà in town.
How do you dress for work in the era of Zoom meetings?
I have a fairly desaturated colour palette in my wardrobe at the moment, but on the screen when I have Zoom meetings there are also lots of little architecture models in the background, a green sofa… You have to think about the whole picture.
Interior of Victoria Bar, Berlin, Germany. Photograph courtesy of Victoria Bar
What are your go-to brands?
Dries Van Noten, Jil Sander and Comme des Garçons are my favourites for shirts. Dries does fun prints next to the more simple ones for the office, which are great, too. Comme surprises with classic patterns and stripes combined with unexpected materials, and the guys at Jil Sander are the masters of simplicity and quality. Miuccia Prada and Dries Van Noten are the ones for me who always design collections in a way to build on a wardrobe, rather than exchanging it for something new every season.
What do you wear on your feet?
My favourite sneakers are from Salomon. They are track-running shoes, but are perfect for the city, too. The quality and fit are amazing. I love to run in adidas Boost and I like the new Nike ISPA line. In the office, I wear Birkenstock and for formal occasions, I wear Prada.
Finally, what’s your next big ambition?
Next year, we will complete a house on the Greek island of Kythnos. It’s the first time I’ve acted as client and architect at the same time. We have a million ideas of what we can turn this place into, so I think I’ll be occupied with it for a while.