What are some of your earliest experiences of home? How did this factor into your choice of profession?
My father is an architect so I grew up in a home where the aesthetics played a big role and where art, architecture, food and fashion always was a big topic and source of inspiration. After school I started working for my father and have been working with interiors ever since. I founded Residence Magazine when I was 25 years old and have had my own practice since.
Scandinavia has developed a unique aesthetic in the global design landscape. How does this reflect in your approach?
In Sweden, the winters are very cold and dark so we tend to spend a lot of time at home. I think that is one of the main reasons why Scandinavians put so much effort in interiors and their homes. I also think the bright and light aesthetic comes from the need for light during the winter months.
What, according to you, are the essential design elements of a well-curated home?
To me a well curated home is where you have a red thread throughout the interiors and where you have looked at the home as a whole instead of just looking at one thing at a time. For example, choosing a kitchen that matches the rest of the house.
“I always start by creating a colour and material palette for every project and that is the base of everything you choose after that.”
What kind of year has 2020 been for you? How is it reflecting in your work and perspective towards life?
In Sweden, we have not been closed down although most of us have stayed at home anyway. To me the uncertainty has been the hardest part, not knowing what the future will bring and a lot of worry for my elderly relatives. At my office, we have been working from home the first two months but since there are only four of us at the office we have been working from the studio since April – but we don’t travel and try to keep all meetings digital.
I try to keep as much as possible normal in my life and try to focus on my health by running outdoors every day to get fresh air, eat healthy and take my vitamins and probiotics.
As we're all spending more time at home this year, would you share simple design tips for our audience looking for a seasonal refresh?
A simple tip is to rearrange things to make it feel fresh again and to get rid of things that you don’t need and like. Clutter only creates bad energy. Sometimes changing small things like the cushions in the sofa could make a great change.
I also think that if you know that you will be working a lot from home in the future, put some energy into a proper working space or corner and a good chair to sit in to spare your back.
Would you share how you approached designing Himêya and Himatsingka's space at Heimtex?
I love the holistic and sustainable approach and the amazing range of products you have. It was so inspiring and interesting to see how easy it was to work together despite the physical distance.
The Himêya and Himatsingka booth at Heimtextil trade fair (January, 2020)
“I also loved visiting your factory – it was my first trip to India and I loved it and was so impressed by your team and approach to sustainability.”
We love how light and airy your studio is and hear you are a tight-knit team balancing an impressive range of projects. How can environment shape creativity, productivity and a positive frame of mind?
I myself could never be creative in an environment that wasn’t inspiring. I always think that the interiors are not just about looks, they make people feel good. I also want my clients to feel inspired when they visit our studio. And the light and airy mood works as a blank canvas to all our projects.
Your favourite room in your home?
Since I love to cook, I must say my kitchen. I have designed it myself and it has been produced by a small Swedish carpentry.
Your dream bed…
I put so much effort in my bed. In Sweden, we always have goose down duvets and a lot of pillows so I have that and I sleep in a Hästens bed (also Swedish).
“I have bed linen in white and shades of sand and I always send my bed linen off for cleaning to get them starched —there is nothing like fresh crisp cotton sheets.”
What are some artworks, objects, heirlooms that you own and will never replace?
I have a large painting by Swedish artist Emma Bernhard that I love and will always keep. I also love this sculpture I have by Bo Arenander.
Lastly, how do you factor sustainability within your design practice?
I think you can be sustainable in so many ways and all of us have to do what we can. At the studio, of course, we try to only use products that are natural and produced in a good way but I also think it is important to use materials that age beautifully and design that lasts. I always tell my clients that they should never buy anything that doesn’t last for their grandchildren.
All images courtesy Lotta Agaton