Architect Henning Kongshavn Frønsdal, of LINK Arkitektur, one of Scandinavia’s most noted architectural firms, recently completed his own self-build project, called Villa Sval, located on the outskirts of Bergen, Norway. One of the most striking aspects of the projects is the use of Kebony modified wood throughout Villa Sval in a number of different applications, including cladding, decking, window frames and exterior doors. Offering exceptional views of the surrounding landscape, Frønsdal’s inspiring yet simplistic design has gone on to receive widespread television coverage across Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
Historically, strict fire regulations have limited the construction of wooden buildings in densely populated areas. As a result, materials such as concrete and steel have become increasingly common within the industry. However, significant advancements in construction techniques have opened the door for an extensive use of wood in both construction and façades. Frønsdal holds a firm belief that wood is central to the future of architecture; thus when designing his own home, he ensured the natural material was an integral component of the build, comprising 220 tons of wood in total. Carefully designed without any waste, all wood offcuts have been skilfully incorporated into either the interior or exterior of the villa.
Upon choosing the exterior timber for Villa Sval, it was important that the wood had the ability to withstand the unpredictable nature of the Norwegian climate. Modified wood Kebony has proven to keep up well even in extreme climates and subsequently worked for this property. Despite being a natural material, the wood requires no maintenance beyond normal cleaning, meaning it doesn’t need regular painting. Over time, the wood cladding has adopted a silver-grey patina due to sun and rain, enabling the villa to blend seamlessly into the surrounding natural landscape. The striking appearance of Villa Sval was achieved through the installation of nearly 100,000 square feet of Kebony wood, used predominantly for the cladding of Frønsdal’s family home.
Developed in Norway, the patented Kebony technology uses an environmentally friendly process which permanently enhances the properties of sustainable softwood with a bio-based liquid derived from agricultural crop waste. With the addition of heat, Kebony wood permanently takes on the attributes of tropical hardwood including high durability, hardness and dimensional stability. Kebony Character was chosen for Villa Sval, underlining the classical Scandinavian style with natural knots and – as the name suggests – character.
Frønsdal said, “As a rule, I always choose a material that is best suited to its purpose, the next best thing is never an option. Consequently, I installed 9,000 metres of Kebony and I couldn’t be happier with the final outcome. The reaction to Villa Sval has been immensely positive and I am thrilled that it has helped to inspire and motivate others who are keen to take on their own self-build project.”