Meet Swedish Top Designer – Hanna Werning

Happy new week to you, all! If you are even a little bit interested in Swedish design, then you need to say hi to Hanna Werning – one of Sweden’s absolute top graphic designers. Her patterns have been seen on everything from wall papers and china for leading International brands to fashion prints and graphic identity tools. She is famous for thinking ahead and for bringing meaningful design and some color (imagine that!) to Swedish design.


I had the opportunity to work with Hanna years ago, when she was still in design school in London. She helped me develop a corporate image package for the company I was running marketing for. I have worked with many designers in my days and I can honestly say that I have never worked with a designer where there were not a least a few revisions going back and forth before the final product. Whenever I got something from Hanna, I always took it right off the bat. There was never a need to change, edit or add anything. Whatever she comes up with is always brilliant.

It is an honor for me to present Hanna Werning to you.

1. Describe your design style for us.

I would rather let someone else describe my style :).  But I think that it is easy to see that I spring from a graphic background. I grew up close to the woods and nature in Sweden so that is always a great inspiration for me.

It is easier for me to describe my work method. I can define it in two categories; one where the design is driven by ideas and another that’s more visually driven by intuition of colors and rhythm. They can weave into each other. (Pay attention to the details in her work).

2. Where do you get your inspiration from?

From people watching, walking in cities, visiting the woods, from my mother’s things… Lots of inspiration comes from my childhood and the nature. I grew up in the southern middle of Sweden, which has a lot of dark woods. There was a local Swedish artist, John Bauer, that has inspired me a lot. I am also fond of Elsa Beskow’s stories. I also like folk art. My time in London has also inspired me, being able to get so much from all parts of the world at the same time.

(The kurbits wall sticker is Hanna’s design).

3. Do you have any design heroes?

The list is long! There are so many designers, artist, musicians, people that I admire. But I always enjoy seeing work by Charles & Ray Eames and listening to Otis Redding, Jackie Mitto and  Patti Smith on my Iphone.

4. When did you realize that design was going to be your destiny?

I kind of knew it at an early stage of my life but I didn’t believe it was a profession I could live on. I used to go to pottery classes every Friday for ten years as a kid. After many years working as a trainee, working within different media and after finishing St. Martins College there was no more question about it. This is what I want to do.

5. You are described today as somewhat of a graphic trendsetter. How were you in school?

I was anything but a trend setter! I was shy and didn’t want any special attention. I liked arts and crafts the most and that was one of my best subjects and I guess the classmates of mine would agree.

6. Which design accomplishment are you most proud of so far?

I think I haven’t made that piece yet! I’m still striving…

But of course my first wallpaper collection, called Hanna, for Boråstapeter is special to me.

And I really enjoyed working with my husband on a specific project – a machine that makes random drawings on plain, white wall paper. We call it Aparatus No. 1  ”Suddenly my wall was a mess – and I like it.”

7. Any particular design element(s) that you want to do more of?

I always have an urge to develop my skills and work process. Thinking environmentally – I probably should be doing less work?!

As a designer I always feel that it is a my responsibility to ask myself if my project is going to add something to the world or if it is going to ruin it. I am becoming more and more interested in ”public spaces” and making design worth while. Create meaningful art (at least to me and hopefully to others as well). There are so many existing places that need to be enhanced and visually beautified. Places that children and adults  pass everyday – where its presence will influence people in the future – whether they are aware of it or not.

8. What is your take on Swedish design in general?

I think that I paid more attention to it when I lived in London than now when I am right in the middle of it. But when I think of Swedish design of today and when I visit design schools, I see a lot creativity and new ways of thinking. Swedes have always been keen on sustainable design. I think that Swedish design tends to be honest to the material, distinct and often a bit humorous.

When people in general hear Scandinavian design they most likely think of simple, clean, classic lines. And I might not fit in that category! But things change quickly nowadays and with the Internet people get influences from all over the world. I think that design becomes more multi faceted and less homogeneous.

9. Anything new and interesting you are working on at the moment?

Earlier this year I finished an interior/public decoration for a small movie theater in a local school. The theater a is called the “Owl”. (See the owl eyes in the dark!)

Currently I am working on decorating the walls of the corridors of the same school. It is a very positive project in the sense that it is a space with lots of kids from different parts of the world with different cultures. The surroundings really affects kids growing up and if I could make a positive impact on these kids’ daily life I really think I have succeeded in a worthwhile design.

Other fun and interesting things I am currently working on are: Design work for a Spanish bathroom company. Making a Christmas illustration, thinking of a new wallpaper collection for Boråstapeter. And designing a new Summer picnic set for Sagaform.

10. Has motherhood changed you as an artist?

So far, it has only changed how I work practically (less time in my studio and more time working from home).

But becoming a parent is a truly an incredible experience and I starting to see the world with new eyes. For sure motherhood that will change my design process in the future.

11. Of all your skills and talent which one do you hope that your own daughter inherits?

Hard to answer… I hope she will be curious, confident in herself and not become a mini-me.

12. If your husband said (horror!) that you could only bring one design item to your next home. What would it be?

I hate to say it, but I guess it would be my Apple laptop! Not really an interior object but defiantly an object of design and usage.

13. Lastly, if we all got to spend an afternoon in Stockholm with you – where would you take us?

Summer in Stockholm is so beautiful! How about some Boule, Beer and BBQ in a beautiful park setting by the seaside? I would bring you to “Boule och Berså”.

Thank you Hanna! It has been a pleasure getting to know you (even) better! Best wishes for continued success. We will all be watching you!

Images: 1. Hanna Werning via Gustav Karlsson Frost, 2 + 3. Boråstapeter, 4. House of Dagmar, 5. Rörstrand, 6 + 7. Hanna Werning, 8. Elsa Beskow, 9. John Bauer, 10. Hanna Werning,  11-13. Pulled from the internet – can’t remember the source – sorry!, 14. Boråstapeter, 15-20. Hanna Werning. 21. Sagaform, 22. Apple, 23+ 24. Flickr.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Designers, Illustrators, Photographers, Stylists,In The Spotlight | Tags:


Meet Manvi & Be Inspired

Meet my lovely blog friend Manvi!  I met Manvi in my very early days of blogging and she has always been a loyal and good friend. Her blog Mochatini is packed with fabulous posts but the reason why I wanted to highlight her is because of her stylistic eye. (Yes, I am pushing her to write a coffetable book!). Her blog is my secret inspirational source for effortless and lovely table displays (among other creative things)!

She is a familar face to several of my close blog friends, but to my many other readers, would you like to get to know her? Let’s!

Manvi, describe your style for us.

I think I would describe my style as modern, French eclectic. I like my home to be stylish, bright and inviting with a balance of modern and antique pieces. Comfort and function are also very important to me.

What makes your creative juices kick into over-drive? Styling, photography or blogging?

For sure styling and decorating. Anytime I’m in a rut, I start rearranging furniture and accessories and it gets me right back into the swing of things!

You have a little bid of Nomad in you. Where have you lived? Any other place/s you know with your whole being that you will have to experience at some point in your lifetime?

I have lived in Muscat and Salalah – Oman, Dubai – UAE, New Delhi – India, London – UK, New York, and now I reside in Washington DC. I would really like to live in Buenos Aires at some point and for sure Paris!

What things or trends within interior design make you really drool right now?

Turquoise is one of my fave colors so I’m super glad it is a big trend this year. I love seeing vintage birdcages and textured wallpapers. Pastels and soft romantic colors also call out to me – so being spring – I am happy to see those everywhere.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Flowers, the beach, traveling, photography, nature… So many places!

Your table displays are always so wonderful and inspiring. Tell the truth, is that always how your guests are greeted?

Thank you! I use any occasion to try new ideas for table décor. It’s one of my favorite parts about hosting a dinner or a party. I think about décor and ambience first and the menu later..  (:

Do you have one table display that you like and keep re-cycling over and over again?

I love to experiment so I rarely repeat a table display. However I do re-use items like runners, linen and dinner sets from previous displays. I tend to add some new elements, reuse some and mix it all up for a new look!

But I do admit, I love using my bird salt and pepper shakers a lot!

Fresh flowers and candles are a must so you will see those in almost all of my table decors. When I am crushed for time, simple white is my way go to.

(Below is Manvi’s “Cinnamon stick place card” idea for the Holidays – that I shamefully copied straight off! Lovely, right?)

Any secret places where you find terrific things for your home?

No secret places, I am afraid! I am constantly on the look out, observing…window shopping. I find things at the most unexpected times. Some favorite places are flea markets, antique bazaars and thrift stores. I also really love to shop for my home when I am traveling.

If your husband told you that you could only keep one sentimental design object in the house (horror!) what would that be?

Yikes! I know he would never do that to me! I love our cowhide rug from Argentina. We picked it out together and both really love it. I am also really attached to my thrift store wingback chair. It needs to be reupholstered as the fabric isn’t our style but it’s super comfy and I would hate to part with it.

What’s your favorite spot in your home? What makes it so special?

Though I love pretty much all corners of my house, I find that I spend all most waking hours is my living room. Its flooded with natural light which makes it an awesome space to work and relax.

What DIY project makes you extra proud?

I made a wine cork mirror frame for our entryway that I get lots of compliments on. (I pulled it out from the entryway to take a clear pic of it – just for you!)

I also am proud of the fabric headboard that I made for our guest room. But my greatest DIY accomplishment are hand sewn table linen such as placemats, table cloths, runners and napkins that I made for my mother-in-law last Christmas. (Lucky lady! Splendid Willow’s comment).

Any DYI project(s) you intend to tackle before long?

The list is toooo long… I would like to make lots of cushion covers for the couch and a few beds. I also have a ton of fabric that I have been meaning to turn into table runners. And I always have some serious paint projects around the house to tackle. All fun!

Manvi finally, where do you see yourself using your creative skills down the road?

I am constantly learning new things and acquiring new skills. They all revolve around home décor and styling so probably something along those lines. I really have a special heart for tabletop styling and décor!

Thank you dear! How fun to get to know you even better!

And people a coffetable book about Manvi’s lovely table displays is in the cards. Just remember that you read it here first!  (:

Images: No. 3 via Emma’s designblogg, no. 4 via Elle Decor, no. 5 unknown. All others via Mochatini.

Written by Splendid Willow in: In The Spotlight | Tags:


Meet Camilla At “Moderna Museet” In Stockholm

If Swedish is part of your DNA, if you would like to visit the country one day, or if you are just an art lover in general. Then you need to know at least a little bit about Moderna Museet (The Swedish Museum of Modern Art) located in Stockholm.

And who better to tell you than my wonderful childhood friend Camilla Carlberg. She works as a Senior Curator at the Moderna Museet. She is hugely talented, has been with the museum for years and is the person in Sweden I turn to if a have a question about contemporary art. Let’s all meet her!

 What should everyone know about Moderna Museet in Stockholm?

Moderna Museet’s objective is to collect, preserve, exhibit and communicate 20th and 21st century art of all kinds. It has one of the world’s best collections of art, spanning from 1900 to the present day.

The photographic collection comprises works from the 1840’s onwards. The art collection includes key works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Henri Matisse and Robert Rauschenberg, as well as new acquisitions by contemporary artists. Swedish art is largely integrated with the international works, presenting Swedish artists such as Vera Nilsson and Siri Derkert parallel with Oskar Kokoschka and Georges Braque.

What sets this museum apart from all the other museums of the same genre?

The collection is supposed to be the best one of modern and contemporary art in northern Europe.
Recently our director Mr. Lars Nittve launched The 2nd Museum of Our Wishes, which is a project that encourages donations to the museum to enable us to buy more art by international female artists active in the 1950s to 1970s, where our collection is particularly strong but there is a dominance of male artists. We have received a total of almost 50 million SEK which is what we wished for. It has enriched our collection immensely. Since we started, many museums of modern art around the world have started similar projects to be able to buy modern art by female artists.
Moderna Museet has a rather unique tradition since the days of our legendary director Pontus Hultén. He thought that children visitors are equally important as adults. Therefore the children’s workshop has always had a central position within the museum and it still has. He organized exhibitions that could be played in or were playful in themselves. For example SHE by Niki de Saint Phalle and other artists, where the exhibition room was in the form of a woman’s body (one of Saint Phalle’s famous Nanas) and the visitor’s entrance was between her legs. Inside, all kinds or artworks were displayed and a milk bar was placed in one of her breasts. This playful and experimental attitude is rather unique for a prestigious art museum I think, and it’s an important aspect of Moderna Museet that we are eager to preserve. (This exhibition took place in the 60’s. Progressive Swedes!)
Camilla, how long have you been at Moderna Museet? What is your role?
I started at Moderna Museet in 1995. I came fresh from University. I started out as an assistant curator in the photography department and then moved over to contemporary art. Photography was big in contemporary art then, in the mid-end nineties. I worked as an assistant curator to curator Maria Lind, who is now internationally famous and based in New York. When she left the museum I started curating my own shows of international contemporary art. Since 2006 I have  been working as Senior Curator and teamleader for a new department called Learning.
 Barbara Kruger’s installation at Moderna Museet (Between being born and dying, 2008)
What has so far been your proudest moment at the museum?
I very much enjoyed working with American artist Barbara Kruger. She is a legend, an icon within modern art. She was born in 1942 and became very big in international contemporary art in the 80s with her text-and-images based work. Her work like “I shop therefore I am” is very wide spread and known throughout the world. She is an excellent artist, clever, shy and quite friendly. In 2005 she was awarded with the golden lion at the Venice Biennale. The golden lion is only given to one artist per biennale, and only the very best get it. So she’s definitely good! At Moderna Museet we commissioned a very large work by her in our entrance areas (there are two of them) where we covered the entire walls with her texts and images. My proudest moment was when she and I inaugurated the work together in May 2008. I consider myself so fortunte to have worked with her as her curator.
There was a lot of controversy a few years back when the Museum moved into its brand new buildings desinged by the Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. Has the dust settled?
Yes, the dust has settled! In 2001 mould was discovered in the building. It was quite bad and people who worked here got sick from it. The whole museum was closed down for three years. During its closure we decided to do something about the things that we thought didn’t work so well from the beginning. For example, the walls in the galleries were not white, but pinkish! With little daylight, the pink gave a gloomy atmosphere to the whole place. So, the museum got a facelift and now we have a functional, light art museum. And we never hear people complain anymore!
What is an absolute must see and do at the museum?
Must do’s at Moderna Museet include: Lunch in the Restaurant with a panoramic view over one of the most beautiful parts of Stockholm. Visit the collection. Take part of our children’s workshop program (if you have kids). And see the Pontus Hultén study gallery with an unique art viewing machinery, a true “Deus ex macchina”.
What is your read on the “state of” Swedish contemporary art?
There are a some really good artists and a some really good art galleries in Sweden. The finance crisis hasn’t effected the Swedish economy too much, so institutions have not suffered as much as elsewhere.  It’s business pretty much as usual.
List some contemporary artists that you feel have done a lot for Swedish art on the international scene?
Lately…  Jockum Nordström and Karin Mamma Andersson, Annika von Hausswolff and Ann-Sofi Sidén.
Any new and up and coming Swedish artists that we should pay extra attention to?

I am following Christian Andersson, Jonas Dahlberg and Ann Böttcher… Three very different but all very promising artists. Cecilia Ömalm Krajcikowa as well. Look up these galleries: and plus They represent these artists and many other interesting ones as well.

The museum shop is also quite lovely!

Yes! I buy books in our shop (we have the best selection of art books in Stockholm) and they also have great candy for those days when I’m tired and need a blood sugar boost! They also keep very interesting design items and I find the prices rather low.

Thank you very much, Camilla! I just learned a lot. I know this was a long post, dear readers. But brew yourself some tea (if you haven’t already) and at least skim through it because there is a lot of good information here to enrich your art knowledge which could come in handy in some dinner conversation!

Photos: 1. Private (Camilla). 2. Espresso bar –  Flickr, 3. Pablo Picasso (Moderna Museet), 4. Interiors Moderna Museet, 5. From the exhibition Andreas Gursky, Works 80-08 (2009)  – Flickr, 6. Anish Kapoor, Mother as a Void (1991) –  Flickr, 7. “Hon” (Moderna Museet/Hans Hammarskiöld), 8. The children’s workshop  Moderna Museet, 9. Barbara Kruger installation (Moderna Museet), 10. Moderna museet –   Flickr, 11. The restaurant – Flickr, 12. Children’s workshop Moderna Museet, 13. Alexander Calder, The Four Elements 1961 © Alexander Calder/BUS 2009, 14. Cecilia Ömalm Krajcikowa Malmaison VII (The Gallery), 15. Giftshop – Flickr

Written by Splendid Willow in: In The Spotlight | Tags:


Holiday Inspiration

Happy Monday blog friends! Say hi to my blog friend Susann who is the face behind one of my favorite blogs in Sweden –  Purple Area. This is a must read blog for anyone who is interested in a contemporary, more minimalistic design style with a Swedish slant. Talented Susann who has had her well read blog for several years also runs her interior design company and is busy writing regular blog columns about design for a couple of leading Swedish morning papers.

When I need to check the design temperature in Sweden, Purple Area is one of the first blogs I go to. And when I need some new but simple design inspiration for the winter holidays I also trust Susann will provide some great ideas. Let me share her take on holiday decorations with all of you!

Susann, what is your design approach for the winter holidays?

I love decorating for Christmas, without going overboard. Less is definitely more for me. 

I like it simple and enjoy using natural materials and objects like wood, fleece, fir branches, moss and nuts which give a room a genuine and earthy feel. Holiday knick knacks are not my thing, instead I prefer real candles, beautiful flowers and something that lights up my windows. I tend to go with fewer things, of larger scale to make an impact.

 Anything in particular that inspires you this year?

This year I feel that the trend has been somewhat divided. I have seen a lot of pure white but also black and strong colors. I also see a lot of nostalgia going back to a more 50’s and 60’s retro look with a lot of vintage and great patina. The retro patterns with dots, checks and flowers are so in vogue. But so is also wood.

Personally, I am drawn to a white palette which I combine with things from nature. White is so elegant and green adds a lovely freshness. A large, classic star will hang in my window as usual. A plate with simple candles and walnuts and clear vases with pine cones and Christmas bulbs are all very appealing to me.

(I am so going to copy this wonderful December idea. Just attach vintage metal numbers and strings to simple white candles and place them on a tray with walnuts. I love this idea! -Monika’s comment. Image via the Swedish blog Hemmariket).

How do you decorate for the holidays at your own home?

Lots of hyacinths, amaryllises and poinsettas that I plant in clear vases. Both for the look and the wonderful smells. I use lots of candles, stars in the windows and of course a real tree. I will decorate the tree with white bulbs, silver stars in metal and a few things with sentimental value that my children have made.

What can you not live without during the season?

My family, the tree, the open fireplace and something good to eat is pretty much all I need! A few years ago we decided that we would not bring a lot of musts to this wonderful season and run around all stressed. We only do what we really enjoy, prepare food we have a hankering for at the moment and only decorate with things we like. It is pretty much only the kids’ gifts that are still a must. Since we always celebrate at our house – the rest of the extended family gets to share in the same way of celebrating. And they don’t seem to mind!

 Any special design gifts on your wish list?

I have just ordered a gray, lovely sofa that will arrive in the new year. I guess that will be my Christmas gift! But I wouldn’t mind some things from Swedish designers such as Filippa K. and Ingegerd Råman. Or why not some wonderful pillows from Day Home to go with my new sofa!

Thank you so much Susann for sharing some great holiday ideas. Happy holidays to you and your family! Please make sure to visit her blog here. Finally, below is an image of Susann’s stair case and book shelf at home. She lives as she teaches! Simple and lovely!



Interior Images:  Image No. 1 Bordsdekorationer (table decor), Image no. 2 + 8-11 Susann’s private, No. 3-4 Trine Thorsen, No. 5 Living Etc, No. 6, Tine K, No. 7 Hemmariket,No. 12 Ahlens via Purple Area, No. 13 (sofa) Eilersen DaCapo, No. 14 (Filippa k) Dukat Bord, No. 15 Orrefors, No. 16 Day Home, No. 17 Photo by Peo Olsson for Residence.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Holidays & Celebrations,In The Spotlight | Tags:


Design Interview With Heiberg & Cummings

Dear blog readers. Sorry for the delay on this post. But now there will be two “In The Spotlight” this month instead!

I get all giddy whenever I hear or see their names –  Bernt Heiberg and William Cummings, the partners behind Heiberg & Cummings (hcd3). One of my absolute favorite design teams on the planet. I am in awe of everything they do – and I have saved magazine articles about them from years back. Their firm has offices in NY and in Oslo.

Why am I so crazy about them? Because their interiors are calm, beautiful and sophisticated without feeling contrived. It does not matter if it is an elegant Manhattan penthouse or a beach cottage somewhere, their rooms are always warm, inviting and personal (not the same old, same old). Their mix of old and new pieces is well thought out and always fantastic. They have a great eye for art (and run their own art exhibitions) and of course with Bernt Heiberg being from Norway, they bring in a lot of (old) Scandinavian into their residential and commercial projects.

It is a great honor for me to introduce them to you.

Oh, one more thing. I have learned that William and Bernt are all for peace and making people happy but they don’t mind smashing mobile telephones to pieces with rocks! One more reason to like them!

Define your design style?

High-end residential. Neo-Scandinavian with an international touch.  Sophisticated yet livable.

Are you able to take your design eyes off when you visit friends’ homes? (Or do you do a quick design on a napkin for them?)

W) Yes! I appreciate finding new and different aesthetics. And I always enjoy finding treasures in other homes.

B) Yes, but it is always fun to give advice. Interior design is our lifestyle, 24/7.

What was your first-ever interiors buy?

W) A Munch drawing I purchased years ago. It is a an outstanding etching that hangs in our home.

B) A Swedish empire bureau that is still in our home. I was so attracted to the paint and patina of the piece.

Design accomplishment you are most proud of?

W) That people copy our work. (And they do! Splendid Willow’s comment)

B) We are really proud of all of our projects – both large and small.

Any fun project(s) you are working on right now?

Many! Our projects are always lots of fun! We feel lucky to have such wonderful clients.

Right now we are working on a new styling concept for clients who need a touch of help with space, layout, and bringing new life into their homes. This new concept will launch in the next couple of weeks.  (You heard it here first! 😉

What is bad interior design in your opinion?

W) Design that is poorly conceived and/or poorly executed.

B) Using lots of colors and crossing borders of given space.

What 3 things can make a huge impact in a living room – without the steep price tag?

1. Proper lighting. 2. Beautiful textiles. 3. Less is more.

Any design item you can’t live without?

W) Gray flannel

B) Comfortable and cozy but elegant seating

What do you collect?

W) Small carpets.

B) Antiques. Mainly from the 18th century. 

(The plate racks are from their own furnishings line).

Any design heroes that truly inspire you?

W)  Michael Graves

B) John Saladino

What’s your take on bedside tables?

W) I use them all the time!

B) Necessary. And great with lots of books, personal items and photographs.

What wall color can you not get enough of?

W) White

B) Light gray

Where do you shop online?

W) Nowhere! I prefer the traditional way of shopping with touch & feel!

B) Hermes

Knowing your wonderful collection of Scandinavian antiques. Do you have a favorite piece you can’t live without?

W) A small Gustavian side table with thin legs.

B) A rustic Norweigan country foot stool.

Thank you so much gentlemen! It is a pleasure getting to know you a little bit better. And I for one, can’t wait to see what you are up to next! A suggestion: your own book!

For more of hcd3 and their portfolio, visit here.

Images: No. 1, 2, 3, 6, and 12 via NY Spaces. No. 4, 15 and 17 via Litteavmeg. No. 5, 7, 8, 13, and 16 via House & Garden (07). No. 9, 10 and 11 via hcd3. No. 14 Via Homes and Gardens UK. Note: a few of these images I have scanned from older Magazines and they are nowhere else to be found on-line.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Designers, Illustrators, Photographers, Stylists,In The Spotlight | Tags: ,

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