Studio Visit: Olle Lundberg, Man of Steel by

Issue 19 · Working It · May 13, 2014

Studio Visit: Olle Lundberg, Man of Steel

Issue 19 · Working It · May 13, 2014

San Francisco architect Olle Lundberg, founder of Lundberg Design, took a circuitous route to his profession, majoring in literature, then moving on to sculpture before training as an architect. His studies inform his approach to design—he’s a materials man who likes things with “heft and substance”: think steel, wood, and stone. He's also one of the the only architects we know who has a fabrication shop in his studio. 

The Lundberg Design offices are housed in a 1933 mattress factory building in SF's Dogpatch neighborhood. When Lundberg bought the place, it was an auto repair shop before he transformed it into his office and workshop. The setup also includes an apartment for Lundberg and his wife, Mary Breuer, featuring a large open kitchen that overlooks the workshop (and has so many iron tools, it resembles a smithy more than a kitchen). Come have a look around.

Lundberg Design San Francisco Photographer Ryan Hughes | Remodelista

Above: The concrete and steel entrance to Lundberg Design. The firm’s work ranges from residential to commercial projects, including several restaurants, a winery, and, most recently, Twitter’s new digs. Photograph by Ryan Hughes.

Lundberg Design San Francisco Photographer Art Gray | Remodelista

Above: The lobby and office area are located at the front of the building; the workshop is on a lower level in the rear. 

Lundberg Design San Francisco Photographer Art Gray | Remodelista

Above: Metal scaffolding is used as desk partitions. Lundberg explains that these "slightly irreverent work stations" are put together like kits and were designed for an internet startup a while back—when the business went under, Lundberg snapped them up. 

Lundberg Design San Francisco Photographer Art Gray | Remodelista

Above: Images of the firm's projects include photos of the refurbished Icelandic car ferry that Lundberg and Breuer used to live in, docked off a pier in San Francisco. Lundberg defines the company style as “nature-inspired modernism.” Above three photographs by Art Gray.

Lundberg Design San Francisco | Remodelista

Above: A wall of hot sauces from around the the globe in a meeting room. Lundberg and Breuer have been collecting hot sauces for more than a decade and typically buy a bottle to use and a bottle for the wall. The table was made from bowling alley wood purchased on Craig's List.

Lundberg Design San Francisco  | Remodelista

Above: One of Lundberg's buoy lights hangs in a meeting room that overlooks the fabrication shop. He found the buoy washed up on a coastal property he owns in Northern California. Once he cut the piece in half, he found that he preferred the rusted side and turned it into his office light, which he notes "has a funny death-star quality to it."

Lundberg  Design Studio | Remodelista

Above: The vast, light-filled fabrication shop opens on to a yard at the back of the building. The structure's concrete shell with timber-framed roof was sandblasted and painted white. The industrial steel-framed glass windows overlooking the shop floor offset the new with the old. 

Lundberg Design San Francisco | Remodelista

Above: The fabrication shop. You can see some work in progress in the Lundberg Design Studio and Shop video.

Lundberg Design San Francisco Photographer Art Gray | Remodelista

Above: Filled with pieces of steel, wood, and other materials awaiting use, the outdoor space looks like a scrap yard and recycling center.

Lundberg Studio wood root | Remodelista

Above: Designer Cameron Cooper stands in front of a tree root destined to become a dividing wall sculpture in SF chef Mourad Lahlou's new restaurant. Lundberg tells us, "As much as I like steel, I am a huge wood fan—I like to play the two off each other. I am always on the lookout for extraordinary pieces of wood." Among his finds: 19th century log cabins that he's sourced on on Craig's List, among other places; he reinvented a history cabin in Twitter's new cafeteria

Lundberg Design Hard Water Restaurant | Remodelista

Above: Lundberg's design for Charle's Phan's Hard Water whiskey bar with custom buoy light. (Lundberg Design also created Phan's award-winning restaurant The Slanted Door). Of the fixture, Lundberg says, "This is a big, chubby piece of reclaimed material that reads as heavy, but as a light, it floats in space." The back-lit shelves are made of steel and glass and almost disappear behind the whisky bottle lineup. 

Olle Lundberg Sonoma Cabin | Remodelista

Lundberg and Breuer's own cabin near the Sonoma coast is largely composed of materials leftover from design projects over the years. Above L: A custom-designed firewood holder. Above Ri: The 14-feet-deep pool was formerly a water tank for livestock.

For more projects by Bay Area architects, see the Remodelista Architect/Design Directory. And go to Gardenista for Bay Area Garden Finds, including one of the World's Most Beautiful Swimming Pools (wild flower garden included).



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