The approach to Biskopsudden Marina on Djurgården is at first glance a cornucopia of masts and boathouses, and it may take you a while to discover what’s new. Celebrity chef Tommy Myllymäki’s restaurant AIRA is a hidden gem that blends in so well with its nautical environment it could be mistaken for a boatyard. The two connected steel and concrete buildings, designed by the acclaimed Swedish architect Jonas Bohlin in collaboration with Dinell Johansson architects, don’t make much of a fuss about themselves.

On closer inspection, a distinct and sophisticated structure is revealed through the careful detailing and playful use of materials which takes full advantage of the natural light on the waterfront. The architects were inspired by the colours and seasons of the Stockholm archipelago and have translated nature’s subtle qualities to many bespoke lighting solutions.

Approaching the building at dusk, visitors will discover the main entrance, located in an elegant corten building which has individually lit façade panels. Each element is equipped with a small light source that creates a gradient highlighting the living, rusty metal surface. The gleaming appearance of the entrance building is that of a secret, almost other-worldly structure next to the concrete annex that houses the dining rooms.

Both the access ramp and outdoor seating area have recessed luminaires that create a balance of light and shadow on the ground as well as reflections in the water. The subtle light appears to radiate from the site itself, adding to the meditative feeling of being close to nature.

The façade lighting has been designed by the lighting design team at Sweco in close collaboration with the architects. By building mockups and testing different scenarios in frequent collaborative sketch meetings, the design team developed bespoke solutions with the process that enhance the unique qualities of AIRA.

Visiting the restaurant is a remarkable experience for all senses, as intended by the chef as well as the designers and artists.

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