Eslöv’s central square is quite large (115 x 65 meters) for a Swedish town of just 30,000 inhabitants. Once perceived as rather empty and desolate, the square recently underwent a complete transformation. Thanks to the playful design and layout by Sydväst arkitektur och landskap, Stora Torg (Main Square) now exudes a welcoming and pleasant ambience while retaining sufficient space for markets and events.
In autumn 2017, the Malmö-based landscape architecture firm Sydväst won the Eslöv municipal tender for the redesign of this important city square. In the spring of 2021, the new Stora Torg was officially opened.
Eslöv’s rural setting and historic heritage have been directly referenced in the design. The materials and color palette reflect the surrounding landscape – rolling fields of golden crops and winding rivers – and the town’s traditional brickwork.
The layout was radically altered to align with current needs and deliberately shunned the traditional north-south orientation, characteristic of the city center’s streetscape. The new, inclusive and integrated design marks a significant departure from the former uninviting freestanding planters, rubbish bins and somewhat awkwardly placed benches along the edges of the empty square.
The pedestrian area on the eastern side now extends across the square, with a sloping raised area gracefully separating the shops and the open space. This separated area is characterized by lush vegetation and a meandering watercourse, helping to create a lively and inviting atmosphere. It also provided the perfect solution for the terrain’s height differences.
Low, long and winding steps serve as seating areas, allowing people to enjoy the bustle on the square from a distance. Once a plain rectangular square, Stora Torg now has a more organic layout with a playful water feature while continuing to provide space for public events like markets and festivals.
Seating elements have been installed in various places, with long Rough&Ready Curved bench configurations welcoming the public into the green area. The interconnectedness of the benches follow the design’s sloping geometric lines, creating a harmonious appearance. The stairs, borders and integrated podium isle encourage informality and invite passers-by to hang out and enjoy the ambience. In contrast, the Solid benches alongside the shopping area possess a more conventional, understated look.
Light gray Swedish granite is used for various features, including the winding stairs, and reappears as the base of the seating elements. This makes the street furniture integral to the overall design concept. LED lighting is also incorporated under the benches – a well-thought-out lighting plan ensures an intimate and inviting atmosphere, especially during the dark Scandinavian winters.
The project won the Landscape architecture price Landmärket 2021, the Skånes Arkitekturpris 2022 and was nominated for the Stenpris 2021.