Mette Aamodt explains in the Architectural Digest article, "How Scandinavian Modern Design Took the World By Storm"...
Slow Space, and its subset Slow Architecture, provide the ideal conditions for slowing down, reflecting, being present and engaging our senses. Nature does this perfectly and that is why so many people find nature rejuvenating. But great examples also exist in the built environment. We imagine the term Slow Space to describe a carefully crafted physical space that creates the right atmosphere and conditions for slowing time and fostering deep meaningful experiences. Slow Space can foster kairos, or quality time, and provide the time and space for refuge in our busy lives. The clock may or may not literally beat slower but our experience of the place will be as if it had.
We are passionate about life, not in a bungee jumping kind of way, but in a la dolce vita kind of way. We enjoy long walks in the woods, sitting in cafes sipping espresso and listening to the fire crackle. We like to savour life and enjoy all of its wonderful sensual pleasures. We are passionate about life because one day everything changed.
Andrew and Mette are partners in life and work.
Mette was introduced to architecture at a young age spending time in her father’s architecture office after school. Andrew found architecture on his own. As a freshman at MIT, he chose to live in a curvy brick dormitory because it just felt good to him to be there. That building it turned out had been designed by Alvar Aalto – the great Finnish architect and one of the giants of 20th century modern design.
By the time they met, Mette had travelled widely, lived and worked abroad and was fluent in three languages. Andrew’s international travels had consisted of a one way flight from Panama to Miami and he had managed to learn exactly one language.
Mette and Andrew’s paths first crossed at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 1998. It turns out they had many of the same down-to-earth values, based in part, on their shared Scandinavian heritage. Mette was born in Norway and her father is Norwegian and Andrew’s family has its roots in Finland and Sweden.
In school, they collaborated on many projects. Then suddenly, one week before Mette’s thesis review, she went blind in her right eye. She chalked it up to stress and Andrew helped her finish her final project. After graduation she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
It was a terrible blow to both of them as they were just starting their careers in a profession notorious for its long hours. In order for Mette to be healthy they had to slow down and find balance without sacrificing the work they wanted to do. This has become one of their most important projects – designing their lives for long term health and happiness.
Mette is a Type A person. But since her MS diagnosis she has had to learn to fight the urge to do more. Thankfully, Andrew is Type B and has helped Mette slow down. Rather than doing a lot of things poorly they have decided to focus on a few things and do them really well. Without flash or fanfare, like the proverbial tortoise, we run our architecture studio and raise our family slow and steady, one day at a time, with a little time off now and then for espresso in the cafe.
It turns out there are lots of other people in the world trying to do the same thing.
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