Three thoughts on building materials, with Jan Ammundsen2021-11-12T08:16:15+01:00

Project Description

Three thoughts on building materials, with Jan Ammundsen

Three thoughts on building materials, with Jan Ammundsen

Senior Partner and Design Director at 3XN, Jan Ammundsen, talks to Gustafs Stories about material selection and the future of building materials.

Jan Ammundsen Design Director at 3XN

Founded in 1986 and with offices in Copenhagen, Stockholm, London, New York and Sydney, 3XN bring a human-focused approach to all their projects, underpinned by their Scandinavian roots. They work on projects in all sectors: from public spaces and education, to offices and hotels. In his role as Head of Design, Jan Ammundsen has been the driving force behind many of 3XN’s award winning projects, ensuring the highest design quality. We sat down with Jan for a morning coffee, and asked him to share three thoughts on 3XN’s approach to material selection.

Jan Ammundsen Design Director at 3XN

Founded in 1986 and with offices in Copenhagen, Stockholm, London, New York and Sydney, 3XN bring a human-focused approach to all their projects, underpinned by their Scandinavian roots. They work on projects in all sectors: from public spaces and education, to offices and hotels. In his role as Head of Design, Jan Ammundsen has been the driving force behind many of 3XN’s award winning projects, ensuring the highest design quality. We sat down with Jan for a morning coffee, and asked him to share three thoughts on 3XN’s approach to material selection.

1. The right materials for each project

Ammundsen explains that 3XN have made a conscious decision to make the material selection fully dependent on each project’s constraints and possibilities. “We don’t design around a material; rather the opposite. We believe that each building or project has its own potential; we try to keep an open mind and use various materials to release this potential, and to push the boundaries of what is possible.”

He points out that some projects require harder, more robust materials, whilst others require softer, warmer materials. “This means that we, as a practice, have no palette of materials that we always use. We don’t have a specific style. We use bits and pieces and make them work together with the design. Usually it’s not the materials that excite me, but how they’re used as part of a design.”

The atrium in Segerstedthuset by 3XN
The atrium in Segerstedthuset by 3XN

1. The right materials for each project

Ammundsen explains that 3XN have made a conscious decision to make the material selection fully dependent on each project’s constraints and possibilities. “We don’t design around a material; rather the opposite. We believe that each building or project has its own potential; we try to keep an open mind and use various materials to release this potential, and to push the boundaries of what is possible.” 

He points out that some projects require harder, more robust materials, whilst others require softer, warmer materials. “This means that we, as a practice, have no palette of materials that we always use. We don’t have a specific style. We use bits and pieces and make them work together with the design. Usually it’s not the materials that excite me, but how they’re used as part of a design.”

Wood is becoming a more accepted material

2. Timber is becoming more accepted

“Wood is fantastic material, and we’ve been trying to push for using timber in our projects for a while,” says Ammundsen. He continues; “We’ve certainly seen a change in that our clients are now more interested in, and open to, using wood. Especially when it comes to using timber for facades, surfaces and structural elements.” Ammundsen explains that using wood for interiors is an integral part of 3XN’s design ethos. “For interiors, we’ve always been using wood; it’s part of how we think. It’s a great surface material; it’s beautiful, it’s nice to be close to, and it evolves over time.”

“Wood is fantastic material, and we’ve been trying to push for using timber in our projects for a while,” says Ammundsen. He continues; “We’ve certainly seen a change in that our clients are now more interested in, and open to, using wood. Especially when it comes to using timber for facades, surfaces and structural elements.”  

Ammundsen explains that using wood for interiors is an integral part of 3XN’s design ethos. “For interiors, we’ve always been using wood; it’s part of how we think. It’s a great surface material; it’s beautiful, it’s nice to be close to, and it evolves over time.”

Linum as a future building material

3. Future building materials will be organic

When considering what materials he believes we’ll be using more in the future, Ammundsen talks about his work with GXN, the research and development studio connected to 3XN. “We have been carrying out research into different types of biocomposites, and I believe this is where the future lies in terms of building materials. Essentially, we’re looking at different mixtures of organic stuff, such as linum (flax), corn and cork, for example. We’re doing what we can to push the sustainability agenda forward, and it’s really promising seeing these new types of fully renewable materials coming together.”

Linum as a future building material

3. Future building materials will be organic

When considering what materials he believes we’ll be using more in the future, Ammundsen talks about his work with GXN, the research and development studio connected to 3XN. “We have been carrying out research into different types of biocomposites, and I believe this is where the future lies in terms of building materials. Essentially, we’re looking at different mixtures of organic stuff, such as linum (flax), corn and cork, for example. We’re doing what we can to push the sustainability agenda forward, and it’s really promising seeing these new types of fully renewable materials coming together.”

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Photos:

3XN, Devis Bionaz & Adam Mørk