Restaurant Äng, Halland
Restaurant ÄNG is located like a lone diamond in the rolling fields of Ästad Vingård - one of Sweden's largest vineyards - and is an extraordinary culinary experience that engages all the senses. The partially underground Michelin restaurant with a spectacular glass house entrance in the middle of the verdant field is designed by Norm Architects and furnished by Japanese Karimoku to create a stimulating interplay between architecture, food, wine, decor and art that provides a balanced and harmonious 19-course haute cuisine experience.
The experience of ÄNG begins even before you step inside - you walk through the lush meadow with crops and grass on both sides of the winding road that leads guests to the sparkling glass house, which is a modern and refined interpretation of a greenhouse turned inside out. With the iron construction on the inside, it stands like a prism in the middle of the field; completely sharp and smooth and reflects the surroundings.
New ÄNG gets its name from the surrounding meadows and explores both the surface and the deeper parts of the Swedish landscape, while the view over the wetlands gives even more peace of mind.
Approaching the glass house, a small herb garden at the front reveals the local touch and attitude to the culinary experience you are about to have. A protective hedge provides a limited glimpse of a nearby lake but allows you to keep your focus right where you are.
As a subtle indicator of the strong connection between ÄNG and the surrounding nature, the paving on the outside continues inside when you pull open the heavy glass door and continue the journey.
The impression of the glass house is bright and lush as you walk past an open kitchen with a foundation stone counter and custom artwork with an organic design language. As you settle into refined Japanese Karimoku lounge furniture in solid wood with exposed woodworking details and a soft upholstery, while still having the feeling of sitting out in the middle of the field with only clear sky overhead, it's obvious how the space is built the interaction between nature and culture and captures the spirit of the unique place.
Seven wood and stone sculptures with an organic design language are custom-made by the talented Norwegian artist Anders Pfeffer Gjengedal (Løvfall). With inspiration from his years in the world of ballet, he works with a sense of form in collaboration with both architects and designers, transforming natural wood and stone into sensual and expressive sculptures.
While the staff starts decanting local champagne and presenting amazing appetizers made with home-grown ingredients that make you sit back and just enjoy the 4.5 hour break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the sun slowly sets behind the meadow, acting as a calm and ever-changing backdrop to the evening.
With a shared belief in timeless aesthetics and an ambition to create products that meet everyday needs, we decided to create a curated range of products in collaboration with design studio Bonni Bonne. The studio is based in Norrland and was born out of a shared passion and fascination for nature, gastronomy and the presence of everyday aesthetics. With an ambition to highlight some of Norrland's traditions, they present genuine craftsmanship and old knowledge in new contexts and in a more modern vintage when they work with the meeting between poetic and timeless aesthetics to create products from everyday needs.
To underline ÄNG's strong connection to nature, parts of the curated collection are made from green wood - an ancient woodworking method that creates natural silhouettes and raw textures that are perfect for the atmosphere of the restaurant.
The selected natural materials, such as pure oak for the bespoke furniture and the elegant stone floors, have been refined or slightly processed to make them more delicate - just as head chef Filip Gemzel refines the local ingredients that make up the astonishing 19-course tasting menu.
When it comes to haute cuisine, it's all about the interplay between the many elements that make up the experience - from architecture, design and lighting to taste, smell and sound. When all these elements are balanced and well balanced, it is that everything works together to create a unique and appreciated experience beyond the ordinary.
"The basic ambition behind the Michelin-starred Restaurant ÄNG is in many ways in line with Norm Architects' design philosophy of finding a delicate balance between all the sensory experiences that make up a space to create a harmonious environment, where all elements support each other."
- Peter Eland, Norm Architects
Integrating thoughtful works of art and sculptures is therefore an important part of the interior and atmosphere at ÄNG. Getting Danish designer Sara Martinsen to contribute bespoke artwork was a seamless collaboration that added warmth and new stimuli to the space.
Sara also believes in the beauty of natural and responsible materials, in craftsmanship and in the power of a strong visual story. She arranges local materials so that they become inspiring and one can experience each of their specific qualities. She finds her inspiration in the origin; a beautiful material, a specific craft or the local history of a certain place, which is why she went out into the forest that surrounds ÄNG to find inspiration for the materials that would later make up the tactile artworks.
As the evening progresses, guests are led to a hidden elevator that temporarily ends the bright summer evening, as it slowly escorts you underground and you step out into a dark catacomb-like wine cellar with a subdued feel and house-produced sparkling wines and exclusive French labels.
"With the changing light, we play on the phenomenon of chiaroscuro, a technique from the visual arts used to represent light and shadow when they define objects to achieve a sense of volume. When you step into the shadows, vision weakens while the other senses intensify. automatically becomes more aware of sounds, smells, tastes and touch, and even intuition and instinct are strengthened. In this way, the surprising transition and change of scene prepares guests for the next part of the holistic dining experience."
- Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen, Norm Architects
As the sommelier shows you the way through the impressive shelves to select the wine for the next part of the dinner, you also get a glimpse of a quiet and dark lounge environment in the middle of the room, hinting that there is so much more to come.
To emphasize the transition from one atmosphere to another, the tiled floor, which is cut like a brick floor and gives a cave-like feeling in the wine cellar, meets the wooden floor from Danish Dinesen when you step out into the large dining room with floor-to-ceiling views over a natural lake and the rich fauna that surrounds it. The environment brightens again and your senses are alert and ready for the next part of the dining experience.
Inspired by the Japanese Karesansui gardens of raked sand and stone, known for their overwhelming beauty, we traveled to Växjö to collect the finished nature sculptures from a giant quarry. An important aesthetic principle underlying these dry landscape gardens is yohaku-no-bi, which means 'the beauty of empty space'.
"If you love food and wine, a nice dinner is something very special. You really never want the evening to end. But sitting at the same table, at the same chair, hour after hour, takes its toll. It's hard to stay focused during such a long dinner. To stay focused and enjoy each portion, you need new stimuli. Something to wake you up and refresh your mind."
- Daniel Carlsson, CEO & Partner, Ästad Vingård, Restaurant ÄNG