Design and style from a Scandinavian perspective

Soft Tree Trunk Stool

No trees were harmed in the making of this stool. It’s made of soft foam, not wood, and it comes in some shades not found in nature. Each makes an eye-catching ottoman, extra seat, or side table. Group several together and transform a room from ordinary to enchanting.

In 2001 Ilona Huvernaars and Alissia Melka-Teichroew were asked by a gallery in The Netherlands to present a setting for an exhibition called “The grass is always greener on the other side”. This is when ideas formed to design products that were contrary to their nature. A tree trunk is not a luxury object, a lamp using electricity is not a product extracted from nature. Is the grass really greener on the other side? Is it really better to have a stool that is all wet from the rain a couple of hours before? Or maybe it would be nice to have this same object but in another colour, a nice bright colour maybe?

Originally Ilona and Alissia carved the stools out of PU Foam and made sure it had little stumps of branches attached and had it coated in light blue and brown. The stools are light, soft and waterproof so they can be dragged around, set outside and thrown around.

Knits by the metre

"With a thread you can clothe the world. An unbroken thread can create cavities, structures, and patterns in the infinite."

Knits by the metre´s first collection Brave New World is made up of knitted textiles in materials such as linen, monofilament and metal. Many of them combine expression, structure and effects not seen before. Knits by the metre is a Swedish company started in 2006 by designers Ulrika Mårtensson and Margot Barolo. They have  previously worked together on several projects involving product development and design as well as art projects.

Ulrika Mårtensson is a renowned, award-winning textile designer, artist and architect, with a large number of assignments, including from the Swedish Governmental Art Council, Kinnasand and Marks Pelle. She has an MFA from Konstfack, the University of Arts, Crafts and Design.

Margot Barolo is a well known and award-winning product designer and artist, working with both textile, furniture and home products for companies such as Svenskt Tenn, Iittala, Iris Hantverk and Bamford. She also works as a design strategist. She is educated at Beckmans School of Design.

I want these:

Stylist Sidsel Zachariassen

To get back on a more positive note, I would like to introduce Sidsel Zachariassen, one of Denmark's best known stylists, and some examples from her portfolio I thought you would like:

Toast Sale

I just have to mention that Toast is having a sale, offering discounts up to 80%, so seize the opportunity and score yourself some british coziness at reasonable prices!

Remember this?

In September 2007 I wrote about this stunning Stockholm apartment, which was then for sale. Well, today I saw it again on the popular tv show Design: Simon & Tomas, and got to see not only what the new owners had done to the place, but also what decorators Simon and Tomas did. And I got sad. It was all horrible. This is probably one of the most amazing apartments Stockholm has to offer, and it was all ruined! Sure, the new owners hadn't really done much to the place, the kitchen was still intact, but all the stuff they had put in there was just aweful.

Look at this picture of what it looked like before the decorating show got there. This isn't bad taste. This is no taste.

And then you can see the finished result from the tv show:

Sure, it is much better than the before picture, but do you remember what it looked like 1,5 years ago?

Now do you understand why I feel a bit sad that this wonderful place is all gone?

Eckmann Alive

Eckmann Alive is a Danish company specializing in styling, design and trendspotting in the areas of living, lifestyle and food. The company was founded in 1985 by Anette Eckmann, and now they are five persons doing anything from family homes and fair booths to logotypes and web sites! I found some nice examples of their styling work:

Photographer Petrina Tinslay

Some drool-worthy shots from Australian photographer Petrina Tinslay. Enjoy!

Apartment styled by Christine Rudolph

This morning, I was looking at the site of Taverne Agency for a nice apartment to feature here, and once I had decided on one, I looked at the credits and realized it was actually styled by Christine Rudolph, who I posted about yesterday! Isn't that just a little weird? It's not like the internet isn't full of gorgeous pictures, so it's quite a coincidence don't you think?
Anyway, here it is, a Melbourne apartment photographed by Mikkel Vang and styled by Christine Rudolph:

Stylist Christine Rudolph

Topo limited edition wallpaper

Don't you just have to have the new Topo wallpaper from Gallant Tales? It's available in two colors, Azul and Choco, printed in Finland and designed by Barcelona based design studio Allan the Gallant.

Photographer France Ruffenach

They just keep popping up! The photographers I mean...

French born and San Francisco-based, France Ruffenach has never lost her accent. She grew up in Paris, looking at her great grandfather's photo albums from the early 1900's and was inspired to take photographs to share with the next generation. Decades later she is now a well-established photographer who loves any subject matter. From a beautiful newborn to a fuzzy peach, or a pristine ceramic bowl to an artisan baker, she captures the soul of what she sees. France loves stories, and creating visual narratives is her passion.

France's work has appeared in many national magazines, she has dozens of published books in print, and she enjoys collaborating on commercial campaigns of all scales. Nominated twice for James Beard Awards, her collection of 300 images from her native country and its regional foods in the cookbook entitled The Country Cooking of France, earned her the "best photography" accolade in 2008.

via tiny.k

Photographer Katya de Grunwald

Seems like the flood of great photographers just keeps flowing into my sight! Here is another post on a talented photographer...

Katya de Grunwald is the London based photographer behind these beautiful photos. Katya's work has previously appeared in publications such as World of Interiors, The Independent Magazine, Elle Decoration, The Telegraph, Martha Stewart Living, Exit and House & Garden.

Photographer Siren Lauvdal

Norwegian photographer Siren Lauvdal. Her homepage is under construction at the moment, but I found her portfolio on Palookaville, her agent's website. It seems to me she likes to work with natural light, and ooh she's good at capturing it!

A dreamy editorial for Norwegian Elle Interiør

And I thought this snow covered winter picnic was a cute idea!

Penlau designs

I found an article in Elle Interiør about Danish designer Trine Penlau, one of the minds behind design company Penlau, and the photos made me curious. Unfortunately, I can't find their homepage (maybe the company has fell over because of the economy?), but I did find some of their products for sale here, here, here and here.
Trine is a trained Art Director, but is more known as a stylist and decorator in Denmark, with appearances in magazines, newspapers and on TV, and publishing her own decorating books. Then in 2007 she and her husband released a full collection of 50 pieces of furniture and accessories under the name Penlau. The whole range is very functional, as always in Scandinavian design, but also beautiful and stylish.

Photographer Daniel Hertzell

This is the second time I'm posting about Swedish photographer Daniel Hertzell (find the first post here), but I just discovered that his portfolio has been majorly updated since the last time I explored it. I thought perhaps you'd like to see some of it...

Designer Amy Hunting

Norwegian designer Amy Hunting used wood waste and off-cuts collected from factories in Denmark, to make the Patchwork collection entirely out of the factory waste collected, with no screws, bolts or anything else. The pieces were put together to form a wood patchwork before they were made into; a chair, a book box and a series of 12 lamps.

e15 designs

Aren't these just some of the best products shots you have seen?! e15 is an international brand in the upper segment of the market. Modern, timeless design, specially selected materials and high quality manufacturing are the brand's most important characteristics. The company was founded in 1995 in London by architect Philipp Mainzer and product designer Florian Asche. Today the company has its head quarters in Germany, Oberursel near Frankfurt am main.

Solid European wood, stainless steel, aluminium and leather are selected with beauty, strength and durability in mind. The feel and appearance of the material inform the design of each product. The shape is modern; the craftsmanship traditional. Designed and built to endure, the pieces are assured, refined and uncomplicated, allowing the natural beauty to be appreciated in its most elegant form.

Trend preview from Sköna Hem

Swedish deco magazine Sköna Hem just published a guide to the biggest trends of 2009, and two of them really struck a cord with me:

1. Raw Blonde, a style defined by simple raw, locally produced materials.

2. Sense & Sensability, with keywords like calm & harmony, see-but-don't-touch feeling and fragile & sheer.

The other trends are Serpentine Growth, Soft Cubism, Factory Shapes and Structured Textiles. See them here.

Here is what Sköna Hem's decorators are saying about the current trends:

Marie Wärme:
A new kind of city style taking shape, with low furnishing and large pieces claiming it's space. Soft, textile and cozy, in saturated, almost black colors. Textiles tempt your tactile sense with interesting structures and monochrome patterns generated by different weaving techniques.

Per Wennberg:
The locally produced, organic, pure and simple is the taste of the year. The Scandinavian minimalistic environment presents a purity and simplicity in style and material. In contrast, there is a playful, industrial Bauhaus-inspired decor with bright primary colors and geometric shapes.

IKEA PS 2009 collection

I was invited to IKEA's press event for the new PS collection today, and may I say I'm pleasantly surprised? The new collection consists of 70 products, and most of them would be more than welcome in my home! The inspiration for all of these was found in Sweden's traditions and nature, and the colors and materials were chosen accordingly, with lots of wood and wool in white, black and red. The IKEA PS 2009 collection will be available in three selected stores in Sweden on February 1, and in all other stores in April. I'll show you some of my personal favorites below:

Svarva, by Front, one of Sweden's most interesting young design groups. Here they have worked with turned wood, cut into little pieces to add flexibility and life to this reading light.

Karljohan, a low stool or side table, inspired by a common Swedish mushroom, here made from solid wood (availabe in birch or pine).

Bruse, a bench or sofa table that looks as if it was made from solid wood, but is in fact a hollow plywood box covered with veneer on top and rough left over pices from the wood industry on the sides. This makes every bench unique, just like the designer's grandfather's bench that was the original inspiriation for the piece.

Sticka, a big blanket or bedspread, in a lovely warm wool/polyester blend. The long handquilted stitches decorating it gives this blanket that personal touch I'm so in to right now. This is also available in offwhite with coloured stitches.

Fjällbjörk, in Swedish this is called a kåsa, but I don't think there is an English word for this kind of mug, usually used on nature treks. It's great for hot and cold beverages, soup and even solid foods, and the handle is especially practical when you want to scoop up water from a creek. It comes from the Sami culture, the Scandinavian version of the Native Americans. And since I am part Sami, this piece has a special place in my heart, and I'm real happy to have recieved this as a gift at the press show! Traditionally made from wood, and with plastic versions used in schools and daycare groups all over Sweden, this is an upgrade in fine white porcelain.

And below, some more good pieces:

Spraka, peppermill

Såga chair and Kvarnsten dining table

Sinka cabinet and Pendel clock/shelf

August day bed

FriedaMaria design

Since I don't speak Dutch, I can't really tell you that much about FriedaMaria, other than that they (she?) style some absolutely beautiful pictures! It's all very simple, with lots of vintage and natural pieces. FriedaMaria's work can be seen in magazines such as Elle Wonen, 101 Woonideeën and Milk, all very stylish publications.

News on the RUM website

Danish interiors magazine RUM always have the most stunning photos as page headers on their website. I saw today that they have all new headers up. Very nice!

Click here if you would like a sneak peek of the latest issue of the magazine.

Famapa's apartment

Just a quick note to tell you that you have to check out Famapa's home on Apartment Therapy! I bet you all already know about her blog and flickr, but if you don't, you just have to go and have a look, beacause this is one woman with a great a sense of style!

Stylist Stephanie Hanes

I just recieved an email from prop stylist Stephanie Hanes, telling me she's got a brand new website! Take a look at her portfolio, but make sure to have some paper napkins ready because you are going to drool...

Dreaming of traveling

My expiry date is coming closer with each day that passes (you know, the big three O), and I really feel like running away. Not that it would help, I'd still be old ;-) , but at least that would spare me from throwing a big party to celebrate it. Right now, Reykjavik, Iceland, is number one on my list of possible getaway spots. More specifically, this super cool design hotel called Apartment K, smack bang in the middle of the city center.
You get your own apartment, with a sauna in the bathroom, access to the courtyard jacuzzi, huge flat screen tv, Mac Mini computer loaded with movies and a Bose Sound dock iPod stereo system. That is not mentioning the gorgeous designer furniture, like Barcelona chairs and Tulip tables... And the super hip city of Reykjavik right outside your door, with all it's possibilities for shopping, luxurious dining and barhopping. Doesn't it sound dreamy?

So would everyone please book some ads on my blog, so I can afford this? Pretty please? Just kidding!

Favourites of 2008, part 8, Work Spaces/Studios

I love work spaces! So much in fact, I used to have a desk in my living room, although I never ever used it! Crazy, isn't it? Well, you see, I have a laptop, so I don't need a desk to blog, I always lie in bed or on the couch. And when I craft, I always sit on the floor, where I can spread out properly. But home offices and work spaces are so easy to style in a nice way, so I just had to have one of my own. All of the cool office supplies, beautiful notebooks and stylish storage boxes just begged to have a place on my fifties table. It looked so good! But I can't use a whole corner of my living room as a fake office, right? That is just stupid, living three people in a two bedroom flat, so space is tight even without extra, useless furniture. So it had to go. Which is why I now have a billion inspirational studio photos to share with you. I drool over them, knowing that I will probably never have use of a desk in my home. Enjoy!

Favourites of 2008, part 7, Childrens rooms

Ok, seems you wanted more... Here are my favourite childrens rooms, and coming up later is a post with work spaces. One commenter wished for outdoor spaces, but I'm sorry, I don't do gardens/patios. I live in an apartment, and have no dreams of having a house with a garden, so I just skip those pictures when I stumble upon them. Sorry.

As you can see, my tastes in kids rooms is a bit more colourful than for other rooms. I love to decorate kids rooms with vintage furniture, which is also pretty smart since it's cheaper, and we all know that the young ones aren't always so careful with their belongings, so there is no point in lashing out a fortune on stuff that will only last a couple of years, and will be scratched in a matter of days.
Also, i think maps are great in childrens room. Educational and decorative at the same time! Add a big soft rug, lots of storage options and space to display and store toys and craft material, and a book shelf, and you're all done!

Favourites of 2008, part 6, Bathrooms

I was thinking that this would be the last post in this series. But maybe you want more? I have some folders on my computer containing childrens rooms and work spaces/studios, do you want me to post something from those too, or are you getting tired of seeing reruns here?

Here we go, my favourite bathroom pics from 2008!

Favourites of 2008, part 5, Living rooms

Living rooms, where to start... This is the most used room in my own home. It has to work for several different activities. This is where we watch tv and play video games, read, surf the internet, have "fika" both alone and with friends, party, craft and play. In a family home, the living room needs to withstand the wild games of the kids, but still look inviting for when you have guests over. This is a hard task to fulfil, but it is definitely possible. Loose, washable sofa covers is a must. So is switching your delicate glass vases for more durable things like pretty rocks, books and candlesticks in wood or metal.

Most of the rooms below would work just fine in a home with small children, some of them might need some minor adjustments, but over all, they are stylish and family friendly at the same time. Enjoy!

Beautiful rugs from Reuber-Henning

German designer rug company Reuber-Henning uses only hand-combed, hand-spun Tibetan highland wool in their beautiful rugs. I found some that would be just wonderful in a kids room, don't you agree?

Let me introduce my newest sponsor!

I'd like you all to get to know my latest sponsor, Sammy Rose! Sammy Rose is a small Swedish webshop (don't worry though, the site is translated into English too)  run by Jenny and Jens, selling childrens clothing with great prints, their own designer wallpaper and some truly stylish art prints, both photographs and graphic design. Check it out for yourselves here!

And don't miss the blog, where they share pictures and stories from their family life together with some gorgeous photos from their home (in renovation, but soon to be finished, I think). I love their style!

Thanks Jenny and Jens for sponsoring me!

Favourites of 2008, part 4, Bedrooms

I don't even have a bedroom, but if I did, I would like it to look something like this... White walls, possibly with a dark accent wall behind the bed, lots of light natural colours, white bed linen and a cozy bedspread in a darker muted tone, with accessories in wood, leather and bone china. And fairy lights. Always fairy lights in the bedroom. Nothing gives off a nicer glow! It's a very flattering light to put you in the right mood...

Alternative Xmas trees by le vestiaire de jeanne

I know, Christmas is over, but I just found all these awesome christmas trees that Charlotte over at le vestiaire de jeanne has invented. I want to make all of these for next christmas!
le vestiaire de jeanne is really a blog about childrens fashion, more specifically the clothing collection that Charlotte designs. It started out as clothes for her little sister Jeanne, but became a huge success, and now I can't wait until the adult collection is released. I love the outfits, this is exactly how I'd like to dress every day!

And I couldn't stop myself from including some more pictures from her blog...

Favourites of 2008, part 3, Kitchens

I think it's clear that what I'm longing for is a huge kitchen with lots of industrial features, white tiles and preferably a reeeaaallly long table surrounded by midcentury chairs... Could someone please send one over, since it seems Santa somehow missed this?

Photographer Anna Kern

When I looked at Desire to Inspire a few days ago, I started laughing. Why? Well, this Australian blog featured Swedish photographer Anna Kern, who I have actually worked with on a shoot a couple of years ago, when I was freelancing as a styling assistant for decorator and fabric designer Maria Löw. Why does it take a blogger on the other side of the world to remind me of the good stuff I really already know? Well, sometimes you can't see the things that are right in front of you... But thanks to Kim on Desire to Inspire, here are some shots from Anna Kern's portfolio:

Ace Hotel New York

The Ace Hotel in Portland has been on my list of places I have to visit (prefably sooner rather than later) for a long time now, and now the geniuses behind it have opened an Ace in New York as well. Just as stylish. And room prices start at just $ 99!

Top two pics from Ace Hotel Portland, the rest are from NY.

Favourites of 2008, part 2, Dining rooms

These are my favourite dining rooms of 2008!