White arkitekter designs urban sofa for Uppsala

Image Credit | Bo Gyllander

In 2011 White arkitekter was winner of the competition for the Forumtorget project in Uppsala. The proposal, with its subdued paving, expressive sofa and generous plateau, is powerful, substantive and empathetic. Here, the people of Uppsala have a natural meeting place and an open breathing space within the built-up business district. The project will be realized in 2016 after the reconstruction of the adjacent building is finished.


Forumtorget is one of Uppsala’s most important central squares. It is directly adjacent to the pedestrianised street of Kungsängsgatan which, together with Smedsgränd, forms a wide passageway to Dragarbrunnsgatan.

The new Forumtorget square issues a friendly, playful challenge. A powerful statement, matching the surrounding buildings, inviting and inspiring rest, activity and participation. The square is a respite, a contrast to what the surroundings offer, an urban oasis. It is small, and its framework and its liveliness produce the statement and the power of attraction. The interpretation supports this while also giving the square its identity.



Here you can forget shopping, take a break from shopping or gather your strength for more shopping. The floor, sofa and plateau form pawns in the most fundamental board game being played out on this square – it is all about seeing and being seen. They can all be used for spontaneous performances as well as more formally arranged meetings – political speeches, dancing exhibitions and displays. However, they also function as places of respite and as seating for spectators.



From the jury’s citation: “A robust and well functioning proposal with a clear concept that is judged to fit into an increasingly self-confident Uppsala in which historic beauty and cultural inheritance exist in a harmonious relationship with a new era. The proposal takes the characters of the lane and the square and builds further on them. Forumtorget becomes a square to move across as well as an attractive new meeting place for everyone.”


Since the competition the project design has been detailed in a number of stages. A major effort has been on the design development and material evaluation of the sofa. As a part of this a full scale prototype was produced and placed on the square during a month of summer 2013. This first manifestation of the project was received enthusiastically by the public.


Forumtorget | Uppsala Sweden | White arkitekter

Design Firm | White arkitekter AB
Team | Gustav Jarlöv, Sam Keshavarz, Jens Modin, Viktoria Walldin, Jonas Runberger,
Hamia Aghaimeybodi, Vladimir Ondejcik, Andreas Milsta, Rikard Sjöberg, Erik Hedman, Johanna Uddén
Image Credits White Arckitekter unless otherwise noted as Bo Gyllander
Text | Gustav Jarlöv

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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/