Stronghold of enterprise

The Consul General’s business group was now manufacturing and exporting goods that would be shipped across the world by Nordstjernan’s vessels. The room that once served as the department store’s entrance from Stureplan was decorated with ship models and maps. The floor, clearly visible through the shop window, featured a gigantic globe with models of Nordstjernan’s vessels. The position of the models was changed once a day as their real-life counterparts made their away along Nordstjernan’s trade routes. For Stockholmers passing through Stureplan, this was a tangible reminder of the outside world and the increasingly important role of Swedish enterprise on the world stage.

Under the management of the Consul General, company after company was acquired. At Nordstjernan’s head office, the task of managing these companies and maintaining control of their finances and accounts had become increasingly complicated. The company records in the building’s basement grew every year – business correspondence, earnings reports, accounting records, contracts and annual accounts.

35 years after the transformation from department store to head office, it was time for the next major renovation. The third generation of the Ax:son Johnson family was ready to make its mark on the building and the business. Axel Ax:son Johnson (the Mining Engineer) succeeded his father as CEO of Nordstjernan in 1956. The same year marked the start of the building’s renovation, which would continue for eight years. As in 1919, the Tengbom architect firm was once again hired to complete the task, now with Ivar’s son Anders Tengbom in charge.

In an homage to the company’s history, the ship’s cabin from the M/S Pedro Christophersen – with its paneled walls, scupper holes and original furniture – was installed on the fifth floor.

The building was cramped, so a sixth floor was added. The building permit was granted on the condition that the building’s exterior silhouette was to remain the same. The addition proved to be a complicated and time-consuming project.

The top floors of the light well in the middle of the building were rebuilt and came to house a library, newsroom and storage area.

The once four-story stairwell was restored to two stories. In the remaining stairwell, known as the Johnson Hall, Ivar Tengbom’s 1920s classicism was replaced by a 1950s decor, with red wall-to-wall carpeting and brass banisters.

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