Rehousing their Michelin-starred restaurant Äng in a highly minimalist glasshouse is the latest development at Ästad Vingård winery . The owners, the Carlsson siblings, continue to tick all the right trend boxes at their winery in southwestern Sweden.
Yes, a winery in Sweden. In fact, there are over 40 wineries in the Scandinavian country and at five hectares (about 12.5 acres), Ästad is one of the largest. But even it currently only sells its wines locally, mainly because the state-owned Systembolaget has the country’s strict alcohol sales monopoly.
But back to the trends on the Ästad estate. Daniel Carlsson and his siblings, Linda Persson and Mattias Glamheden, are all third generation Carlssons on the farm with their families. It started as a traditional farm, was transferred to an organic dairy farm by their parents, Rolf and Ann-Catrine Carlsson, and since 2009 part of the estate has been developed into an organic winery, spa and restaurant.
So, trend-wise, we are already tapping second-generation organic farming, organic wine, winery as a destination and winery as a wellness destination connected to other attractions, such as a spa and conference facilities, that attract the modern, affluent clientele.
The first iteration of the Äng restaurant was an upscale, experimental addition to its own bistro. By 2021, Äng (Swedish for meadow or field) had earned its first Michelin star and was really starting to attract attention. So, as a natural continuation of the estate’s continued development, Daniel Carlsson felt it was time to give the restaurant a spot that fit the bill.
Daniel’s vision and design for Äng’s new home is focused on the view. Therefore, in a sense, a multi-level greenhouse is an obvious solution, although an unusual one. The ground floor of the modest greenhouse includes a bar, lounge and small kitchen. The underground level includes a windowless wine cellar, another lounge and a large dining room filled with natural light. The lower level is built into the sloping hillside and provides access to the expansive views of the pond, lakes and beech forests of the Åkulla Nature Reserve in Halland.
The restaurant ticks even more trend boxes and offers a 17-course tasting menu that varies based on what’s available locally, some of it on the estate, and in season. And all of this, of course, combined with the estate’s wines, currently mainly sparkling and white wines from the Solaris grape.
Further trend points are given for the furniture that Daniel has chosen to use for the project. He was initially drawn to the minimalism of Japanese wood furniture manufacturer Karimoku’s N-DCo1 dining chair which is part of the company’s Case Studies series and was designed by Copenhagen-based Norm Architecten together with Tokyo-based Studio Keiji .
This initial contact led all players to work together and create new and possibly permanent pieces for the Case Study collection. In the end, Norm, together with Daniel Carlsson, took care of the entire interior design of the project. They adapted the material palette, proportions and tones of several existing Case Study pieces.
These include the Norm N-CCo1 club chair which has been transformed into a love seat for the basement lounge, while the A-So1 two seater sofa has been reduced in size and the N-STo2 table has been enlarged into a dining table. New items for the project include a serving trolley and a small table.
The best thing about the city of Vingård and Äng is not all the trend boxes that have been ticked off, but the sincerity and uncompromising passion with which the owners put their energy into this unlikely vineyard. And the future looks bright, as the fourth generation of Carlssons is already involved in the business. Tuija Seipello