The Adelswärdska House

Söderberg & Haak acquire the stately Adelswärdska House

Söderberg & Haak had had offices on Brännkyrkagatan since 1874. While the warehouse had been moved to Marievik in the 1920s, the headquarters remained on Söder. By the end of the 1930s, however, it became clear that the company would have to find new office space since Södergatan was to be extended through a ditch between Medborgarplatsen and Slussen, right where the headquarters was situated.

The building that Söderberg & Haak and Ratos was able to move into in 1939 – and which still serves as Ratos headquarters – is one of the city’s most stately buildings and is situated at one of the most distinguished addresses. We are talking about the Adelswärdska House at Drottninggatan 2. Immediately to the south lies the Norrström channel, with the Parliament House on Helgeandsholmen island, and the Royal Palace across the channel. The neighbour to its east is the Sagerska Palace, today the official residence of the Prime Minister, while just across Drottninggatan lies Rosenbad, which houses the Swedish Government Offices. The building was acquired by Söderberg & Haak in 1938 and was transferred to Ratos ownership in 1980.

The Adelswärdska House was built 1889-90 by industrialist Theodor Adelswärd from Åtvidaberg, and was designed by architect Isak Gustaf Clason. Adelswärd had known Clason since his study days at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology in the 1880s, and Clason had previously designed several buildings in Åtvidaberg. Among Clason’s more renowned Stockholm buildings include the Hallwylska Palace, the Nordic Museum and the Östermalm Saluhall market.

Clason had originally planned on designing the Adelswärdska House as a Venetian palace, but then did a reinterpretation of Swedish baroque. The first two floors have a shalestone facade from Åtvidaberg. The bays and facade details are created out of sandstone. The carpentry was provided by Adelswärd’s own company, Åtvidabergs Snickerifabrik.

The building housed storefronts, offices and residences with the most modern furnishings, including toilets, bathrooms, a telephone to the doorman, electric lighting and a ”comfortable and entirely safe personal elevator”. Toilets were not allowed to be hooked up to the city’s sewage system until 1909, but long pipes were not needed to solve that problem at the Adelswärdska House.

One of the original office tenants was Sofia Gumælius Annonsbyrå, Sweden’s first permanent advertising agency, founded by Sofia Gumælius in 1877. Denmark’s Embassy was located here from 1907-12. Notable tenants have included Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg. Theodor Adelswärd had a couple of rooms at his disposal during the initial years. Once he was named Minister of Finance in Karl Staaf’s government in 1911, he acquired a representation apartment in the building.

After Söderberg & Haak purchased the building, it was remodelled into offices. The move-in date was hastened during autumn 1939, since Ragnar Söderberg feared that the authorities, for reasons of preparedness, would otherwise demand to have control over such a strategically located building. Ratos has subsequently, including when the Sagerska Palace was being remodelled into the Prime Minister’s residence during the 1990s, received inquiries from the government if it would be willing to sell the building to the state.

Included among today’s tenants in the Adelswärdska House are two social entrepreneurial companies, Kompis Sverige and United Invitations, as well as the successful songwriter duo Auiz & Larossi (Andreas Romdhane and Josef Larossi). Notable visitors to the basement studio have included Kim Cesarion, One Direction, Paul Potts and Britney Spears.