thyssenkrupp delivers largest-ever Sweden order to new mixed-use city block, Urban Escape.

by Kaija Wilkinson

The installations incorporate lots of glass and steel and provide a glimpse at the systems’ inner workings; image courtesy of thyssenkrupp.

That Stockholm, Sweden, is the fastest-growing city in Europe —with the equivalent of a busload of new residents added each day — is evident just looking around the horizon. In the Vasastaden District near the city center, Norra Tornen is rising to 33 stories. The tower will house apartments, public areas, a gym and a movie theater. Southwest of downtown, the 78-story Tellus Towers are rising toward becoming the tallest residential towers in northern Europe.[1]
Meanwhile, the inner-city Brukenkebsergstorg Square continues to evolve, from being lined with fashionable homes in the 19th century, becoming “officeized” in the early 1960s to emerging as a financial center later in the decade bwhen nearly all the historic structures were demolished.[2] The tide is turning once again with the recent opening of Urban Escape, which takes the place of Swedbank operations that moved out in 2014. The largest-ever project for developer AMF Fastigheter, Urban Escape

consists of five buildings up to 10 stories, four streets, two squares and a shopping center. Within it are 1,100 m2 of residential space, two hotels, rooftop gardens, restaurants, bars and a reception area where people can have informal meetings or a cup of coffee.
AMF Fastigheter wasted no time in transforming the property after Swedbank moved out in 2014. The developer selected thyssenkrupp Elevator to provide the vertical-transportation (VT) system for the “city within a city,” resulting in another “largest ever”: thyssenkrupp’s biggest order to date in Sweden that consisted of 57 elevators, 27 escalators and 15 platform lifts. “The successful completion of the Urban Escape project is a remarkable milestone for us,” Janne Piiroinen, managing director of thyssenkrupp Elevator Sverige, said. “I’m personally very pleased with how hard our local team worked and managed to deliver quality products to our customer on this challenging project.”

thyssenkrupp Elevator’s biggest order to date in Sweden consisted of 57 elevators, 27 escalators and 15 platform lifts.

The OEM started the job in 2015 and completed delivery in late April 2019. Finished in 2017, the first phase consisted of the installation of 29 elevators, six escalators and six platform lifts. The second phase consisted of 25 elevators, nine platform lifts and 21 escalators. All elevators are thyssenkrupp EVOLUTION® BLUE machine-room-less units for the European market, and the escalators are Velino Xtra heavy-duty units. Both models are highly customizable. The EVOLUTION BLUE elevators:
♦♦ Have capacities of 320-4000 kg and travel at up to 3 mps
♦♦ Are tested by TÜV SÜD, compliant with EN 81-13 and have stopping accuracy of +/-1 mm
♦♦ Are equipped with features including a highly efficient drive motor, energy recovery and LED lighting thyssenkrupp’s E.COR controller was used in all elevators for Urban Escape. Now standard with all thyssenkrupp elevator systems, E.COR:
♦♦ Responds optimally to usage patterns to avoid unnecessary trips and stops
♦♦ Separately stores unused energy during downward motion and braking, feeding it back into the grid
♦♦ Detects potential disruptions before they occur

♦♦ Uses electronic components that minimize noise
Led by Project Manager Fredrik Allvise and Site Supervisor Konstantinos Charalampopoulos for the escalators and Juan Pablo Villanueva and Site Supervisor Thobias Hultén for the elevators, the project incorporates components from thyssenkrupp Fartreppen AG and elevator car interiors from Åhmans, a family-owned company founded in 1860 and headquartered in Åhus, Sweden. Nearly all Urban Escape elevators are Åhmans’ SUPREME model, incorporating LED lighting and providing options such as natural stone flooring and rear-coated glass walls. The tenants opted for striking colors like bright red, and design elements such as mirrors and ceiling panels like the ones that resemble deconstructed dominoes.
Rolf Wennerstrom, Åhmans sales and marketing manager, told ELEVATOR WORLD the company provided approximately 30 elevator cabs for the project from 2015-2018. “By having the opportunity to participate early on in the construction process and meet architects and property managers, smart solutions were found early,” Wennerstrom observed, adding:

“SUPREME is designed for conceptual collaboration with architects and designers and provides unlimited choice of materials and colors. The SUPREME concept is excellent for use with interiors with glass, mirrors and stainless steel. Through the model’s carefully thought-out system, it is easy to build in monitors behind glass or mirrors.”

Many tenants opted for bright colors and custom stone flooring; photo courtesy of Åhmans.

An illuminated cab ceiling resembles deconstructed dominoes; photo courtesy of Åhmans.

Some elevators, with cabs by Åhmans, incorporate custom images; image courtesy of thyssenkrupp.

Urban Escape takes its place on the Stockholm skyline; image © AMF Fastigheter.

Installation was performed in phases and came with significant challenges, including working around a shopping mall in the heart of the busy city that was open to the public throughout construction. The thyssenkrupp team worked in close collaboration with its subcontracted fittings company to deliver against tight deadlines and navigate tenants moving in at different times during construction. For example, three different contractors were working onsite at the same time at TAK, Urban Escape’s rooftop restaurant and bar.
The selection of thyssenkrupp Elevator for Urban Escape was part of AMF’s overarching plan to roll out the red carpet for the world’s top movers and shakers in style and technology. Urban Escape Project CEO Niklas Haglund said, “This project is creating a brand-new city block in Stockholm, and it was absolutely essential that we worked with the very best partners to make it a reality.”

Urban Escape has had no trouble attracting tenants and is well on its way to becoming home to up to 8,000 workers. thyssenkrupp elevators are now serving the likes of global players WeWork, the “Airbnb for office spaces”[3]; Nordic Tech House, a startup incubator, which moved from nearby square Stureplan (home to Versace and Gucci)[4]; and, last but not least, Microsoft.
After 28 years in a previous Stockholm location, Microsoft found that Urban Escape fits its philosophy and serves as an ideal place to house roughly 600 employees, as well as welcome visitors from around the world. The tech giant plans to move in to its new 3,000-m2 offices in September. Joacim Damgard, general manager of Microsoft Sweden, said:

“We chose Urban Escape because it fits in with Microsoft’s vision of the intelligent workplace, where people, technology and the environment are in symbiosis. Through the years, we’ve had more than 100,000 visitors to our ‘open tours’ of the office, and we hope that many will want to visit our new office, where we aim to create the most attractive workplace in Sweden.”

The selection of thyssenkrupp Elevator for Urban Escape was part of AMF’s overarching plan to roll out the red carpet for the world’s top movers and shakers in style and technology.


[1] Invest Stockholm. “Stockholm’s New Skyline –Exploring Disruptive Buildings and Rooftops.”