A Barcelona Home by Norm Architects Inspires New Koio Footwear

From the outer hand-stitching to the use of leather and suede, every design detail on the shoes echoes an understated feature within the Scandinavian firm’s latest residence.

What common ground do footwear, cabinetry, and interior architecture all share? At the hands of Norm Architects, the answer lies in a holistic design approach—strong ties between “the site, need, space, materials, and all the details,” says Jonas Bjerre Poulsen, who co-founded the Danish studio with Kasper Rønn Von Lotzbeck. Since 2008, the firm has gained renown for designing pristine interiors imbued with Scandinavian simplicity and pared-down furniture balancing richness and restraint. 

Embodying this notion is a hillside residence the firm recently completed near Barcelona, which inspired a capsule collection with New York City–based footwear brand Koio that launches today. Combining the well-known features of classic Oxfords with the comfort of sneakers, the capsule puts quality craftsmanship on full display by turning the shoe inside out, showing how everything is attached by revealing the constructional elements on the outside. Each shoe, which features a collapsible heel and comes in sleek black leather or sumptuous tan suede, is detailed with two stitches along either side of the vamp. 

These details are echoed in a custom bench—a collaboration between Norm Architects, Koio, and Japanese furniture maker Karimoku Case Study—that takes pride of place in the home’s entryway. Constructed in solid oak and cushioned with a smooth beige suede seat, the bench exudes the same simplicity as the sneaker and features a dark stained oak spline joint that adds a sense of refinement while reinforcing the construction where it’s most vulnerable. “Just like we’ve stripped down the design of the shoe and the bench to its bare minimum,” says Peter Eland, a partner at Norm Architects, “so have we removed clutter and excess elements within the structure of the house in Barcelona.”

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