Eslöv’s central square transformation

Eslöv’s central square is quite large (115 x 65 metres) for a Swedish town of just 30,000 inhabitants. Once perceived as rather empty and desolate, the square recently underwent a complete transformation. Thanks to the playful design and layout by Sydväst arkitektur och landskap, Stora Torg (Main Square) now exudes a welcoming and pleasant ambience while retaining sufficient space for markets and events.

In autumn 2017, the Malmö-based landscape architecture firm Sydväst won the Eslöv municipal tender for the redesign of this important city square. In the spring of 2021, the new Stora Torg was officially opened.

Image Credit: ©Werner Nystrand

Eslöv’s rural setting and historical heritage have been directly referenced in the design. The materials and colour palette reflect the surrounding landscape – rolling fields of golden crops and winding rivers – and the town’s traditional brickwork.

The layout was radically altered to align with current needs and deliberately shunned the traditional north-south orientation, characteristic of the city centre’s streetscape. The new, inclusive and integrated design marks a significant departure from the former uninviting freestanding planters, rubbish bins and somewhat awkwardly placed benches along the edges of the empty square.

The pedestrian area on the eastern side now extends across the square, with a sloping raised area gracefully separating the shops and the open space. This separated area is characterised by lush vegetation and a meandering watercourse, helping to create a lively and inviting atmosphere. It also provided the perfect solution for the terrain’s height differences.

Low, long and winding steps serve as seating areas, allowing people to enjoy the bustle of the square from a distance. Once a plain rectangular square, Stora Torg now has a more organic layout with a playful water feature while continuing to provide space for public events like markets and festivals.

Seating elements have been installed in various places, with long Rough&Ready Curved bench configurations welcoming the public into the green area. The interconnectedness of the benches follow the design’s sloping geometric lines, creating a harmonious appearance. The stairs, borders and integrated podium isle encourage informality and invite passers-by to hang out and enjoy the ambience. In contrast, the Solid benches alongside the shopping area possess a more conventional, understated look.

Light grey Swedish granite is used for various features, including the winding stairs, and reappears as the base of the seating elements. This makes the street furniture integral to the overall design concept. LED lighting is also incorporated under the benches – a well-thought-out lighting plan ensures an intimate and inviting atmosphere, especially during the dark Scandinavian winters.

The project won the Landscape architecture price Landmärket 2021, the Skånes Arkitekturpris 2022 and was nominated for the Stenpris 2021.

Eslöv’s central square transformation

Location: Eslöv, Sweden

Landscape Architect: Sydväst arkitektur och landskap

Streetlife products: Rough&Ready Curved Benches, Rough&Ready Circular Bench, Solid Benches

Delivery: 2021

Image Credits: ©Streetlife unless captioned otherwise

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About Damian Holmes 5627 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/