From Twisting to Turning Torso

The starting point was a sculpture in white marble; the name of this work of art was “Twisting Torso” and its originator was Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava! John Örbäck, CEO of HSB Malmö, saw the statue and was immediately inspired to have its form transferred to a building.

The step from vision to reality was neither simple nor immediate, but on November 1, 2005, the first residents moved into one of Europe's most exciting buildings - the HSB Turning Torso.

The man behind the work, Santiago Calatrava, is one of the world's most prominent architects: challenging, innovative and always keen to transcend boundaries. His highly topical current projects include upgrading the Athens Olympic Stadium and designing the new subway station at Ground Zero, New York.

Turning Torso is Calatrava's first residential project, which made the requirements and expectations on the building even higher. He has certainly lived up to all expectations! 179 meters and 54 floors high and with a body that twists by 90 degrees, HSB Turning Torso is both an innovative and imposing building. It has already been honoured with a prestigious award from the International Concrete Federation as “the most technically interesting and spectacular concrete building completed anywhere in the world during the last four years”.

Turning Torso represents a completely new residential and service concept. Closest to the ground are twelve floors for commercial use. Among the businesses accommodated here are the management and large parts of the administrative personnel of HSB Malmö – who chose Kinnarps office furniture for their new prestigious workplace. Above the office section are 147 apartments with areas of between 45 and 190 m2. The two uppermost floors are specially designed by Santiago Calatrava as exclusive conference facilities whose participants can enjoy an outstandingly high service, first-class food and, not least, a magnificent view.

Monika Larsen Dennis is one of the first private residents to move into Turning Torso. She is an artist and sculptor who has had a long series of exhibitions in Europe and the USA, and incidentally with a strong interest in architecture:

“For me, my home is a very important part of my life, says Monica, and as I currently want to live in Sweden, there's quite simply no alternative to Turning Torso! It offers all the service that I could wish for, everything from reception and a spa to thoughtful points of detail such as copying and faxing facilities. But above all it's the height and views that I fell for. Simply to look out from the 24th floor through the panoramic windows in the kitchen or the living room gives me a real kick – an almost euphoric feeling”.

The material standards in the building are very high: Varying, attractive design solutions. Natural materials throughout – limestone floors in the entrance halls, massive oiled oak floors in all the rooms – except for the bathrooms with clinker floors and underfloor heating. The kitchen work tops are made of granite from Gaggenau and Bosch – the mixer taps are designed by Philippe Starck.

GÖRAN HENRIKSSON