In most cases there is very little time, but to me its important to re-think my process for each project and start fresh.
TL:How did you get your start in architecture/interior design? A lucky NYC moment. Just two weeks after I first arrived I met my first collaborator, Albert Angel, who asked me if I could sketch and we pitched to design a restaurant in Nolita. It was great, we ended up doing a lot of different projects together.
TL: What was the first project you ever worked on? 24 Prince, a neighborhood restaurant in Nolita.
As the first hospitality interior I worked on it was great. I’ve been working with theater since I was 15, doing set and lighting design. To me the process in creating a hospitality experience was very similar.
TL: Your work seems to have methodical, and very clean elements, what inspires you? Its very different for each project. For “The Ceremony” I looked at late 18th century paintings for what it represented at the time emotionally, I drew a lot of color schemes and compositions from that. And the overall aesthetic for What Happens When grew out of the drawing process and functionality of the space.
When I get a project brief or script I usually try to take some time to let it soak and collect as many different impressions as possible.
After starting with a somewhat chaotic absorbing phase to make sense my process is pretty methodical when it comes to establishing a pivotal idea or concept.
In most cases there is very little time, but to me its important to re-think my process for each project and start fresh. That is why I like working with many different kinds of projects and disciplines, where new ways of doing things comes naturally. And often brings ideas and results that I am really happy with.
TL: How does being Swedish influence your work?
For me its my process rather than a visual language or aesthetic. Thinking about and questioning what is actually needed to convey an idea or atmosphere. Although all projects are different there is always some of the Swedish functional minimalist thinking in my approach.
TL: Your What Happens When project is a favorites of ours, how did you conceive that? What was your process like? What Happens When was a temporary restaurant installation by Chef John Fraser of Dovetail and Narcissa.
It was a creative collaboration where we transformed the restaurant each month into a new experience. Chef John Fraser created a new menu, Designer Emilie Baltz created a new brand identity, I designed new interiors and each month we had a composer create a new sound scape.
The collaborative process was exciting, starting together with each monthly theme and then running off to create our respective components. It was great to see how it all came together. Some months worked better than others but I’m really happy with what we did, with very little money and time.
The whole idea was to play with the conventions of dining experiences and the freedom in being able to take risks and trying things out was great.
Creatively for me the most interesting challenge was coming up with a concept and design that would both communicate the experimental and dynamic nature of the project and that would also facilitate the monthly overnight transformations.
TL: Because you work across a lot of disciplines, is there is a specific project you absolutely loved working on? I just finished working on a film in Sweden, The Ceremony. I absolutely loved that process.
As the Production designer, being responsible for designing the sets, costumes and props, all disciplines merged and I got to work with many components in creating an overall concept and design direction. That process is great and as with theater, and What Happens When, being hands-on in execution and working on tight schedules, I find that many great things can happen. Working with architecture and interiors I sometimes miss that.
I love working on projects where many creative forces come together, between the Director, Photographer, Choreographer, Cast and crew it all has to work, and hopefully be great at the end.
TL: What’s different about Swedish art and design?
In design the heritage of functional minimalism is strong but in the last 10yrs at least, a lot of folklore’ish nostalgia has come about. Its more playful.
TL: If you could have coffee with anyone, who would it be? Living? Gene Hackman
TL:What says “classic Swedish” to you? Lagom, its a Swedish term that represents the temper and culture. Translated as “Just enough” or “Not too much or too little”
Elle Kunnos De Voss's Stockholm
“One must visit archipelago, Sandhamn”, said Elle. An island where you can experience the remarkable maritime terrain of the outer archipelago. Sandhamn is the key meeting place for sailors and yachters, with a vibrant party scene during summer. The idyllic village, a historical sea pilot station, has an inn, hotels, the classic Royal Swedish Yacht Club, and numerous restaurants and bars. Sandhamn is also worth a visit off-season, when the archipelago has returned to its peaceful natural state.