Renovating the Riksdag2021-06-30T09:23:04+02:00

Project Description

From the diaries: the beautiful birch wood panels of the Riksdag Chamber

From the diaries: the beautiful birch wood panels of the Riksdag Chamber

Ove Andersson, Project Manager at Gustafs, recalls how the company renewed the interiors of the Swedish Parliament.

Light nordic birch brought new life to the Swedish Parliament Chamber, creating the beautiful backdrop seen on daily news broadcasts behind the Swedish Prime Minister.

Ove Andersson, Project Manager, Gustafs

In terms of significant clients, they don’t come much more high-profile than the Swedish parliament or Riksdag. The team at Gustafs worked directly with the property management team at the parliament to replace and repair the existing wood panels, which dated back to 1983 and were supplied by another manufacturer, when the whole building was renovated.

“The panels installed in the 1980s refurb were not of great quality and began to crack, some years after the installation, and sadly the supplier of those panels was no longer in business,” recalls Ove Andersson, Project Manager at Gustafs. This was especially problematic as the Chamber was featured on daily TV broadcasts

“It looked so bad that no close-ups were allowed!”.

The Chamber, also known as the plenary or ‘holy room’  is after all a place where the Riksdag holds debates and so the quality of fixtures and fittings should reflect this room’s importance in national life.

Finding funding

“The head of property management at the Parliament had been in touch with us several times asking for cost estimates about our panels, without giving us much further information.” Andersson added, explaining that usually the conversation would be via an architect or contractor. Finally, in 2005 after twenty years of living with far from perfect panels, funding was approved to replace them, along with other aspects of renovation.

A special client

“It was a special feeling to work with this client, the plenary hall was their home and there are lots of protocols associated with this space such as it was absolutely forbidden to sit in the Speaker’s chair!” Andersson explains. The team at Gustafs had fun getting to explore the secrets of this seat of power.  “We saw underground passages all the way under the Stockholm Old Town – it’s a really exciting neighbourhood. And of course we were all security checked before.”

A comprehensive process

The process included taking the client to the Gustafs factory to show them the complete panel production process and range of solutions. The panel walls selected are made of light Nordic birch, reflecting the country’s character and are intended to be reminiscent of a ‘beautiful midsummer evening’. “We also supplied the wood for the podiums and a lot of acoustic improvements were made with our slotted panels on the side walls, and acoustic slats on the back wall.” The overall renovation gave the space more openness and light.

Production of Gustafs panels in the factory in Sweden
Cutting veneer in Gustafs' factory
Gustafs acoustic panels in the Swedish riksdag
view over the Swedish riksdag

Working with White Arkitekter

White Arkitekter were appointed to this project, one of the largest practices in Scandinavia. The team from Gustafs collaborated with them and also the acousticians, but with the key contact being the team at the Swedish parliament. “It was a very unique project, and lovely to work with the people who will be using and looking after the building.

Birch wood panels in the Swedish Parliament

As seen on TV

The significance of working on this project is not lost on Andersson, “We’re very proud, it’s the most important building in Sweden, shown almost every day on TV! We often use this as a reference to future clients, as it’s perfect when someone asks us ‘how do the panels look in situ?’, I can simply reply ‘turn on the news tonight and you’ll see!’”

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