If you’ve got any children in your life (or even if you don’t), you will already be familiar with the gaming phenomenon that is Minecraft.
Arriving on screens near you back in 2009, via company Mojang, Minecraft had already sold its one-millionth copy by 2011. Somewhat controversially, Microsoft acquired Mojang in 2014 for approximately £1.7 billion.
Fittingly, Minecraft’s billionaire founder Markus ‘Notch’ Persson would end up living in building project making headlines of its own.
Swedish property company AB hatched a plan to create a luxury high-end housing development in Stockholm that would stand out against the concrete block-look the area has come to be known for.
To get the ball rolling, Wallenstam AB quickly contacted Sweden´s top broker, Eklund Stockholm New York (ESNY), headed up by the star of reality show Million Dollar Listing, Fredrik Eklund.
An agreement was then made for ESNY to ‘package’ the product and gear it toward the highest possible revenue per sq-m for Wallenstam.
Having had extensive previous experience in this field, Fredrik together with the CEO of ESNY Sweden, Niklas Berntzon created an unprecedented buzz for the project.
A logo and webpage sprung up establishing the building’s salubrious identity, as well as a deluge of social media campaigns, TV and radio appearances. And it worked: everybody was talking about the Ture 8 building, as it came to be known.
The luxury apartment building was to be located slap bang in the city centre, just a stone´s throw away from a plethora of trendy nightclubs, the financial district and popular shopping areas.
The building was constructed from the ground up with a total of 61 apartments, ranging in size from one to five bedrooms, boasting features including wine stores, rooftop Jacuzzis, built-in speakers and walk-in wardrobes.
Each apartments´ lighting was designed by Fredrik Winge from up-and-coming Orbium Lighting. As a direct result of this, an integrated lighting control system was necessary in order to attain and sustain the light design created by Orbium.
For this type of modern urban living, Niklas insisted on even more top-of-the-line technology to be included from the start. This resulted in the addition of a multi-room audio system in every apartment, everything being controlled by a wall mounted iPad.
Snapping up one of the penthouses (which is incidentally Stockholm’s most expensive apartment by sq-m) was Markus ‘Notch’ Persson himself – for a rumoured £2.4m.
Local company, Integration Design has worked with ESNY on similar projects in the past, prompting the client to get in touch with the team for its ambitious project.
“Great care was taken to pre-wire each apartment so that they lived up to the buyers’ preconceived ideas about the property,” begins Christophe Mourou, Integration Design system designer. “So extra speaker wires were pulled to every room and wiring for motorised shades and curtains to each window.”
Individual Lutron HWQS systems were installed into each apartment for lighting control. “Most lights were LED so the system was mainly geared towards DALI control which gives the possibility to control 128 individual DALI drivers with one single Lutron module,” Christophe explains.
“So we accomplished the job for most apartments with one processor, one DALI module, one phase dimming module and a few keypads; a very cost-effective solution, yet highly sophisticated.”
When tackling the audio requirements, the team found that the available depth for the in-ceiling loudspeakers threw up a few challenges.
“With a depth of only 70mm, extensive research and testing of various ‘thin-line’ speakers was conducted: All sounded bad,” Christophe admits. “They were lacking in bass, with an uncomfortable overall tonality.”
Having worked with Danish Loudspeaker brand Artcoustic for over 10 years, Christophe approached the owner Kim Donvig about the possibility of creating a custom loudspeaker for this particular project.
As fate would have it, Kim was very enthusiastic and had, by chance, already considered expanding the company´s product range with an in-ceiling loudspeaker.
“Four weeks later and the first prototype landed in our offices in Stockholm,” Christophe smiles. “Within 10 minutes it was installed in our showroom ceiling. It sounded wonderful! With its fabric cover it was an architect’s dream; they appreciate the smooth look of the textile surface, plus, the ability to choose any colour. The client immediately accepted.”
The product was such a success that Artcoustic decided to make this into a permanent part of the range. And so the Artcoustic Architect 2-1 was born.
Each of the 61 apartments’ kitchen/living rooms now boast a Launch Port wall-mounted docking station holding a full sized iPad pre-loaded with the Simple Audio and Lutron Apps.
The docking station enables the user to easily dock and undock the iPad from the wall, not to mention that it attaches magnetically and charges the iPad through induction.
The penthouse apartment was treated as a separate project altogether and was fitted with a Control4 system, as well as Lutron light-and shade control, a Future Automation sliding panel mechanism and much, much more.
“With a wire already in place, a motorised shade took about 30 minutes to install, connect and program, so everybody is happy,’ says Christophe.
“I love to have proven my point,” Christophe grins when asked what his favourite part of the install was. “This is the point that builders haven´t listened to in the last 15 years, but I have been trying to convey it: That people simply LOVE this stuff! That this technology doesn´t take that much money or effort to put it in place. And that the modest investment can boost the property value in a very favourable way.”
He’s not wrong, as Ture 8 beat all records by selling the two penthouses at over 200 000SEK (that’s over £16,000) per sq-m, with the building going on to be nominated for Stockholm Building of the year 2015.
And Markus ‘Notch’ Persson isn’t the only well know resident; other recognisable faces that call the exclusive residency home include Swedish Eurovision Song Contest entrant Tomas Ledin’s son, John Ledin, footballer Kennedy Bakircioglu, architect and designer Thomas Sandell, designer Anna Holtblad (whose store is located on the same street), friend to the Swedish royal family, Pierre Hagströmer, Stephanie Bonn (whose company, Zap Events, organises many of Stockholm’s celebrity parties), media personality Calle Schulman and Tomas Cederlund, one half of the interior duo ‘Simon & Tomas’.
And was the client satisfied with the outcome? “The client – Wallenstam – are probably happy they made so much money,” he laughs. “Although they are also happy that the overall level of the project has helped them solidify their brand name,” he adds.
“Plus, the end users are happy that they have what they need without having to cut open walls in order to pull wires. Since we pre-wired for most expansion possibilities, any additions will be very easily implemented.”