”We will take more care of our cities in the future, not just exploit them”

Based in Oslo, Vésma Kontere McQuillan is an architect, writer, and editor as well as Professor at the Kristiania University College, where she also chairs ArchCommLAB research group. The group’s also publishing a webzine, Nofilter. Space, where she’s the Editor-in-chief, which is produced by faculty and students in interaction with external collaborators. It explores a new typology of spaces emerging in the cross-section where architecture, fashion, and design meet contemporary visual media platforms, such as Instagram. It’s comprised of academic articles, student and alumni projects, and reportage and published continuously.

While working on her main research project, a case study OMA/AMO x Prada, Kontere McQuillan realized that architectural writing lacked the theoretical framework to analyze fashion shows. So, she initiated the recently launched book project Fashion spaces: A Theoretical View. 

— This is the first attempt to create a ”state of–the–art” textbook for fashion spaces in the context of architectural social science, relevant both for architects and fashion designers.

The result is a new type of book that Kontere McQuillan calls academic coffee–table book.

— The content is theoretical, she tells, but visuals have a look of a professional commercial fashion/design magazine. Following an introductory academic essay by me and my colleague Kjeld Hansen, which tackles research problematics in the field and presents a conceptual model for further research, there are seven case studies developed by students to explore possible applications of this model. Besides, the book features fashion shows by Prada and Gosha Rubcinskiy. I see it as the future of publishing within the intersection of architectural and fashion domains.

What do you think about the future of retail and fashion spaces?

— Even if the pandemic’s global impact has become clear for now, as did its implications for all industries and all areas of our lives, I must say the future course remains uncertain, and its true meanings are yet to be understood. Much of the fashion industry has already moved online. The development of virtual spaces is accelerating, requiring innovative social media strategies and a strong focus on consumer interaction. At the same time, this movement to digital was very much mandatory. There was no choice, so there will be a backlash of people getting tired of digital realities at some point.

You mention social media, how has and will those change the conditions?

— The book describes social media’s impact and its strategies through case studies critical to modern fashion history: From the first use of Twitter by Lady Gaga to give colossal publicity to the live-stream fashion show of McQueen’s ”Plato’s Atlantis” SS210 until Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 6 presentation utilizing an entirely new format feed by reality TV. There are no fashion shows without social media for now, but it might change while looking for new exclusivity in the post-covid future. 

What’s typical for fashion spaces in Scandinavia compared to the rest of the world?

— I would say it’s a strong focus on circular product strategies and sustainability as backbone concepts. The fashion industry is currently going through a significant change in its approach towards sustainability, aiming to transform from a wasteful and polluting sector into a more circular industry. I believe Scandinavian brands are pioneering both fashion and spatial production.

What will our cities and city centers look like in the future?

— First, there is a need to reconfigured architectural solutions — both physical and digital — and develop processes or guidelines for a circular and sustainable future for retail and fashion spaces that are a big part of city centers. Right now, we are at the tipping point for many reasons, but this is an opportunity to reimagine our cities the way they should be through the interplay of cross-sectoral and research-based innovation. We will take more care of our cities in the future, not just exploit them.

The book is available via the publisher Frame Publishers’ online store and all big internet booksellers such as amazon.


”The small, local entrepreneurs really make the city”

As the founder and curator of award-winning concept store and gallery Lokal in the heart of Helsinki, Hagelstam breathes Finnish art and design. Since the opening in 2012, she’s curated close to 60 exhibitions at the gallery and various other locations in Finland and abroad. She enjoys nothing more than to provide a platform for a creative community to flourish, all the while promoting sustainable, ethical, and ecological values within the field.

And, she’s the ultimate social animal.

My favorite thing that makes me proud of Helsinki:
The fact that it has a feeling of a small town where you can reach places easily but at the same time has a big cultural scene and variety.

My favorite weekend routine:
Slow breakfast, walking in the close-by nature, a few exhibitions in town, and a coffee with a friend.

My favorite cultural spot:
Oh, so many, but maybe one could be WG, the Emma Museum, where I love how the contemporary art sits well in the industrial sixties building. It also has a very nice bistro, Luminere.

My favorite place for dining out:
It could be Espa for the interior, food, and site, or Sikke’s for a cozy relaxed feeling.

My favorite place for a creative or business meeting:
Walking is a favourite way to have a meeting, but if seated maybe Wintergarden at St. George.


My favorite breakfast place:
Café Engel. An old classic, which has been there for most of my adult life and never changes. The owners’ presence gives a special welcoming feeling.

My favorite city escape:
Maybe one of the saunas, Kulttuurisauna or Kaurilan.

My favorite local entrepreneur or creative I want to promote:
This is a tricky one, as I wish to promote so many of the small, local ones. They really make the city. In The Design District there are many, as well as in former hospital Lapinlahti

My favorite hotel for a staycation: 
I’ve actually never experienced one, but if I would try now, I guess I would go with Hanasaari.

My favorite route for a run or walk: 
My walks mainly go around the area where I live, Laajasalo. But if in town, then it’s around the shoreline from Kaivopuisto to Katajanokka.

My favorite place for fashion:
Samuji is definitely my favourite. 

My favorite space for great design:
That’s tricky. Unless you don’t count Lokal, of course, then it could be the Oodi library.

My favorite example of tech innovation in Helsinki: 
As I’m not a very tech person, I can’t think of any.

My favorite local media (newspaper/magazine/website/social media account):
I just stumbled on something on Instagram that looks very good and promising, BUM Editions.

My favorite thing at home: 
The big kitchen and round table. Under normal circumstances, this is where we all gather, in smaller or bigger groups, but always an enjoyment.

Oodi library
BUM Edition 1


“Covid will lead to secret bars, unmonitored home parties, and forest raves”

Wallander is an experienced trend forecaster and the CEO of communication agency Food & Friends, founded in 1998, with a focus on food and beverage. They continuously run projects generating insights, including their own ”Trendspotting” seminars and, for nine years, ”The Food Report”, a survey of how we shop, cook, and eat in Sweden.

First, how has this last year been as a trend forecaster?

— Usually, I try to travel where trends evolve, that is LA, San Francisco, and NYC, London, and other capitals in Europe and lately more and more to big cities in Asia. This ghastly year though, I have had to spend mostly at home, where I have cultivated my passion for cooking new dishes for my very patient — and hungry — family.

And what predictions do you have on food and beverage for 2021?

1. Distance dining: In restaurants, to keep guests apart to avoid the risk of infection. Can be done by moving tables, putting up temporary walls, moving the guests into greenhouses (as seen in, for example, Amsterdam), or using hotel rooms as chambres séparées. You can also use mannequins to block chairs to make the dining space less desolate or, as in Berlin, arrange tiny private discos inside telephone booths

2. Transformations: Another restaurant phenomenon during the lockdown is to do makeovers turning themselves into grocery stores or delis. A smart way to keep staff on, support suppliers (who often lack an alternative route to market), and maintain their relationship with their regulars, who now can buy restaurant quality produce. My favorite example of this is Brat in Shoreditch, London, but there are many more. 

3. Covid covert: What happens when you ban bars and restaurants? The intention is of course to stop the spread of the virus, but it can have the opposite effect when it leads to the opening of secret bars, like the Speakeasies during the Prohibition in 1920s USA, unmonitored home parties, and forest raves, also known as Open Air.

4. Fortress home: Corona has made us move our social life to our homes, the only place where we feel safe and secure. According to a survey, some 70% plan to move their social life home. This can also be seen among some younger influencers who do not travel the world and stay at fancy hotels but rather stay at home in their bedrooms, which has given them the epithet ”Bedroom Broadcasters”. 

5. Comfort food: In uncertain times we tend to crave what is familiar and safe, food that mommy made. In Sweden, traditional Swedish fare ”Husmanskost” (think cabbage pudding, meatloaf, and potato pancakes) has increased, while other countries are brushing off their own food heritage. During Corona lockdown, the food trend is more about looking backward than forward.

6. Tablescaping: In times where many people have too much spare time on their hands, interests in hobbies and pastimes increase. One way to spend an afternoon, a day, or a week, is to develop spectacular table settings, and then share them with the world on Instagram tagged #tablescaping. This might sound a bit silly — you are right — but this has been a boon for Swedish home-decoration chain Cervera, and in the UK, Selfridges has doubled its sales of tablecloths.

7. Shopping habits: When we decrease our spending in restaurants, we naturally increase our shopping at food stores. Digital ordering has increased by 100% since March, mostly among the elderly who until now have been hesitant to change their shopping habits. Apart from that, we see four changes in previous shopping trends: 

— After several years of steady decrease, the interest in branded food goods has surged. In 2021, we will see what this has meant in volume and value for the retailers’ private labels. 

— Similar changes can be seen regarding the interest in organic foods. Last year organic lost both buying intent as well as actual market share in Sweden. Is this a comeback?

— Previously the trend was that we more and more increased the frequency of our visits to the grocery store, now we are more restrictive with store visits to try to minimize any personal contact. 

— Before the pandemic, a movement was building towards the reduction of packaging. This has now been reversed, and the proportion of packaged goods has increased. More so than before, we tend to prefer products that no one else has touched.

8. Snacking: The pandemic has seen a large increase in snacking and we are increasingly leaving the regime of three larger meals per day in favor of constant ”grazing”. All is not lost, however, as more and more healthy snacking products are being developed. 

9. Quarantinis”: Take whatever you have at the back of the drink cupboard that is completely forgotten, like that old bottle of Ouzo, and mix it with something else and you have a delicious(?) Quarantini. During the lockdown in Sweden, we drink as much as before, but we all suspect that everyone else has increased their alcohol intake.

10. Double usage: Restaurants become even more dependent on maximizing their revenue, and experiment with different disguises (and menus) such as café during the day and full-fledged restaurant in the evening. Or furniture store during the day and wine bar in the evening. Or hairdresser during the day and cocktail bar at night. Different parts of the day have different needs to be met, fueling new hybrids.

11. Rotating restaurants: As there now will be more chefs than restaurant kitchens, chefs will appear doing guest appearances at other locations. Restaurants that make this their main business concept will appear, and there will always be a new face in the kitchen and a reason to book a table again.


”An enterprise ought to be able to thrive forever, if it chooses to. For if you do not plan for it, expect it to fail eventually.”

Four years ago I wrote a blog post called ’The 300 Year Business Plan’ where I elaborated on the concept of long term thinking in the world of business. Now, at the very intersection between 2020 and 2021, it’s more relevant than ever to re-iterate this line-of-thought.

We leave a strange year behind us, however I see this as a great opportunity for reflection and introspection, re-evaluating not only yourself and the way you live, but also how you act in business or in your professional life. I think we can all agree that 2020 provided us with a pause, a break from over-consumption, unnecessary traveling and requestioning the whole value chain.


Most business today thrive on short term perspectives when it comes to revenue, profit and product-cycles, constantly pushing customers or consumers to buy as much as possible, faster and more often. Many of us are also trapped in a system, where quarterly planning (and profits) are fundamental to run a business. Now, of course I’m not arguing against running a business for great return-on-investments, but how sustainable is it really to do it as fast as possible and at what cost to our society and natural resources?

Years after writing the blog post I still like to play with the idea that no business is worth while unless it can survive for at least three hundred years. When I used to believe that chasing unicorns and building long term business didn’t go hand-in-hand, I now think there’s beauty in trying to do both. I mean the point of conscious capitalism is to make the best out of the system we live in; you can still aim for maximum shareholder value, and in the same time provide the highest level of sustainability. What is then the next step?

Carol Sanford is an expert on business design and have helped many companies in adopting regenerative principles. Regenerative business are not only sustainable but also have a net-positive contribution and have full transparency on the interconnectedness between the business and the world in which they operate.  According to Sanford a regenerative system is autonomous in its structures and processes, keeping all individuals focused on their contribution to the whole – every single action should benefit the whole system for the better. One of the most effective ways of doing that is through designing products and services so that when they are made and used by stakeholders, good things happen in the world.

Or as Gideon Rosenblatt, expert on the relationship between technology and humans, puts it:

— One of the first steps to building regenerative business is rejecting the idea that your business is just a piece of property designed to maximize returns for your external shareholders. A regenerative business views profits as critical, but not as something to be extracted to boost dividends and share price. Profits are a vital source of fuel to sustain your mission and the full network of stakeholders who fuel it.

Rosenblatt defines business in four categories: A) The Shareholder-Centric View of Business, B) Mission-Centric Organisations, C) People-Centric Organisations and D) Regenerative Business.


There is complexity in managing a company, especially in the long term. In a Harvard Business Review article, authors Kim C. Horn and Joseph Pine II elaborate:

— Leaders today need a better approach. We need first to understand enterprises, along with the humanity and activities that make them up. And this understanding must be developed in light of (i) economic value creation — the primary function of a business enterprise — and (ii) accepting the challenge that an enterprise ought to be able to thrive forever, if it chooses to. (For if your enterprise does not plan on thriving forever, expect it to fail eventually.)

According to Horn and Pine, there are seven laws of regenerative enterprises, that supports longevity as well. These ”laws”  are part of solid framework and guidance for business leaders, providing they can answer the fundamental questions

1. The Law of Potential: Who creates value for the enterprise?

Only the enterprise that unleashes potential, through meeting its workers’ innate needs, induces human engagement to its fullest.

2. The Law of Meaning: Why do people come together to create value within the enterprise?

Only the enterprise that infuses meaning, through a shared purpose, effects alignment among fully engaged workers.

3. The Law of Creativity: Where does enteprise create value?

Only the enterprise that liberates creativity, through applying intuition and exercising free will, regularly discovers opportunities for surprising wealth-producing innovations.

4. The Law of Learning: How does the enterprise create value?

Only the enterprise that invigorates learning — through exploring, exploiting, and orchestrating — generates the knowledge necessary to persistently create new value among infinite possibilities.

5. The Law of Humanity: What value does enteprise create?

Only the enterprise that enriches humanity, through the knowledge embedded in its business activities, creates offerings of unquestionable economic value.

6. The Law of Vitality: When does enterprise create value?

Only the enterprise that attains vitality, through its incessant destructive recreation, produces the wealth necessary to survive.

7. The Law of Coherence: In What Ways do these aspects collectively create value?

Only the enterprise that sustains coherence in all its aspects, through ongoing orchestration, regenerates itself to thrive indefinitely.


Hopefully you are now even more convinced that running a sustainable, even regenerative, business is the way of the future. Now comes the hard part; how would you proceed in writing your own 300 year business plan? And why 300? Well, it’s not the exact number that is the key here, it’s going beyond quarterly or short-term business planning. This is by no means going against running an iterative, flexible business, on the contrary the way to survive in the long-term is by continuous re-invention and adaptation.

So to put it short: What kind of vision do you have for your company? What role in society does it play? What contributions to the evolution of our people’s and the planet’s wellbeing can it have? How are the innovation cycles renewing themselves over time, without impacting nature’s ecosystem? How can you protect the company from market threats, competition and regulations? And so forth.

It’s not an easy task, but intellectually one of the most stimulating activities you will set out to do as a business leader and manager. Good luck!


”It squeezes all the advantages of a capital city into somewhere small, cosy and friendly”

With a background in psychology and a sideways move into menswear design, Englishman Graham Addinall is now the Fashion Director at Copenhagen-based Dossier Magazine. He moved to Copenhagen from England 15 years ago, and has taken his adoptive city to heart ever since — and has bought a great kitchen table.

My favourite thing that makes me proud of this city:
That it squeezes all the advantages of a capital city into somewhere small, cosy and friendly.  And the food scene is awesome.

My favourite weekend routine: 
Saturday morning is toast and marmalade in the kitchen, having time to listen to my ‘Discover Weekly’ on Spotify, not getting dressed until 11.00. Then keeping local to Vesterbro for shopping, eating, drinking and meeting up with friends. At the other end of the weekend – a pre-dinner gin and tonic on Sunday evening and a catch up on English soap operas.

My favourite cultural spot:
Louisiana Museum of Art. An obvious but inescapable choice.


My favourite place for dining out:
Impossible to say just one and it changes all the time but you can’t beat Spaghetteria, Kødbyens Fiskebaren and Italo Disco. Then Frank when I’m feeling a bit fancy.

My favourite place for a creative or business meeting:
My kitchen table.  Or Louise Roe Gallery if I want to be more sociable.

My favourite breakfast place:
My kitchen table is getting too much attention here so I’ll say pastries outside Brød in Enghave Plads.

My favourite city escape:

Kødbyens Fiskebaren

My favourite local entrepreneur or creative:
The 11o book and magazine store in Tullingsgade.

My favourite hotel for a staycation: 
Hotel Sanders.

My favourite route for a run or walk:
I only run if I have a bus to catch (which is never).  For a walk during summer though, you can’t do better than a circuit of the harbour taking in Islands Brygge, Christianshavn and back along Kalvebod Brygge.

My favourite place for fashion: 
Rue de Tokyo and Acne.

My favourite space for great design:


My favourite local media: 
Dossier, of course!

My favourite thing at home:
My hubby, my book collection and that kitchen table…


”Stockholm is so diverse and offers everything I could ask for in my day to day life”

Tove Regnander is the co-founder of strategic PR-agency Grand Relations, that works with premium brands in the design and lifestyle segment. Both her office and home is located in Vasastan, and she knows her city like the back of her hand.

My favourite thing that makes me proud of this city: 
I really like Stockholm because the city is so diverse and offers everything I could ask for in my day to day life. The culture, design and fashion scenes are all very strong, as well as the music scene, something I really appreciate in my personal life.

My favourite weekend routine: 
I appreciate a combination of relaxing times at home as well as enjoying great dinners and drinks out with friends and family. I also try to get out and take in Stockholm’s beautiful nature and scenery every weekend since it gives me so much new energy. 

My favourite cultural spot:
Nationalmuseum, a perfect combination of design, art, food, and architecture. I long for it to open again, to explore the exhibitions and to finish with a visit to the restaurant on a slow Saturday.  

My favourite place for dining out:
Cadierbaren, great drinks and food in a stunning environment. This place could never go out of style. The people who work there are also amazing and always make me feel like home. 

My favourite place for a creative or business meeting:
I love our atelier at Grand Relations with interior by Louise Liljencrantz. When creating the space she worked closely with designing the interior in solid walnut, and the craftsmen at KFK Snickeri executed everything to perfection. It is a very peaceful surrounding that I appreciate. Every day I get to work, I feel energized and grounded, happy to be there in that special place. 

My favourite breakfast place:
Café Pascal at Norrtullsgatan. You must try their sandwiches and almond croissants! 

My favourite city escape:
Simris at Österlen, my parents have a summer house there. I love being there, seeing the rapeseed flowers bloom before the fields all turn to a golden yellow, it’s beautiful.  

My favourite local entrepreneur or creative I want to promote:
Straight Design Studio located at Västmannagatan in Vasastan. They just launched a new design collection called Artefacts, a number of rare objects where they are not compromising or adjusting to anything but the natural laws and their own visions. They also promote young interesting designers, this December they have a pop-up shop with the ceramic artist Samir Dzabirov. 

My favourite hotel for a staycation:
My recent find was Ellery Beach House, which truly was the best weekend escape for me since I love to be close to the water and in nature, and this spa hotel is located at the shore of the sea at Lidingö. 

My favourite route for a run or walk: 
Hagaparken, I like the many different parts of the park and the water surrounding it. It is beautiful in different ways and I love how it changes from season to season, maybe it’s the most beautiful in early fall when all the trees turn yellow and orange. 

My favourite place for fashion:
Around Norrmalmstorg and close by; I like Scandinavian brands such as Acne Studios, Ganni, and Rodebjer. For jewellery I have turned to Maria Nilsdotter for years.

My favourite space for great design: 
Svenskt Tenn is always a place for great inspiration. The perfect blend and balance between heritage and new exciting design collaborations. 

My favourite example of tech innovation in the city: 
Exeger is a company based in Stockholm that has designed solar cells that can be integrated into our daily devices such as earpods, speakers and much more. Their panels are charged by light – which potentially means an endless energy supply. A great example of how sustainability, design and technology can be merged into everyday products we all use. We live in exciting times, where we see countless new smart green solutions in the design industry. 

My favourite local media:
SvD Magasinet and Perfect Guide, I enjoy reading the daily magazine at home during the weekends. At work, I mainly read design and architecture magazines, and of course, I get a lot of great inspiration from social media on a daily basis. 

My favourite thing at home:
I really like accessories and small design pieces that make a room personal. For example, I love my Showtime Vase by Jaime Hayon for BD Barcelona, and my bright pink glass Bonbonniere by Helle Mardahl. I also never get tired of my Kvadrat cushions in Raf Simons’ textile Ria. 

What’s going on in your world that you want people to know:
We are currently planning for the upcoming Stockholm Design Week 2021 in February, which will be very different because of the pandemic. Grand Relations are working a lot with digital communication, so we are rearranging and thinking in new ways to be able to communicate with our clients and do launches in new digital ways. We love to plan and execute tailor-made launches for our clients, both digital and physical ones. This period of time has given us the opportunity to go even more digital ourselves, and also assist our clients on that journey. One of our most recent launches was a digital production with Prince Carl Philip and Oscar Kylberg as they presented their new design brand NJRD in partnership with Nordic Nest.


”If you find a technical solution, then often the form is very appealing as well”

Tell me about your background?

— I’ve been at Silhouette for eight years. I started with industrial design, at a smaller agency. I’ve been working with consumer electronics, and a lot of products around your head, when I was approached by Silhouette. It was a happy occasion since I could move back to my home town Linz where I grew up.

What was it about Silhouette that you connected with?

— The minimalistic approach that Silhouette stands for, the lightness, the reduced elements. They really have a cult status. But it’s also a real challenge to design rimless frames. You have so little to design around! 

How do you balance being a functional brand and a lifestyle brand? 

— It’s interesting that we’re known for being this minimal and technical brand. If you look at our history, we actually started as a company that wanted to create something more fashionable and move away from the medical necessity of eyewear. If you look at the 70s it was actually quite crazy! 

— A big part of what we do is to look at how functionality fits into what we want to express. Frames have to underline the character of the wearer, but it’s easy to create something that’s just a statement in your face. We look very carefully at how the frames feel, how they support the wearer. That’s essential.

”Frames have to underline the character of the wearer, but it’s easy to create something that’s just a statement in your face.”

How does your design process start?

— It’s different for different projects. Some pieces start from a fashion aspect, with interesting forms that appeal to trends. In that case, technology comes in second. With the core collection its the opposite. We have a nice piece of technology, and it’s all about making it better. Can we make the hinges smoother and more durable? Personally, I’m more from the technology side. If you find a simple technical solution, then often the form is very appealing as well. 

You have the pursuit of innovation as part of your core values, how does that manifest itself in your work?

—It’s sort of a ping-pong match between the design and r%d departments. Sometimes the design department has an idea that they need help realising. But many times its the other way around, when r%d have sourced new materials and production methods that we designers can work with. But the hardest part is to bring it into production. The closer you work with all three departments, the smoother the process goes. 

Your TMA line has been in space over 30 times and is a true icon. What’s it been like to have worked on that?

— One of my first projects was to update the tma collection. You have to be very careful, since it’s a very timeless design classic. I always compare it to a car model. There are many versions of the bmw3, but they are iterations of the same design.

The TMA design has been worn on 37 space missions.

What’s the most important thing to focus on right now as a designer? 

— Definitely sustainability. How do we make sure to develop a product that has value and will last over time. The consumer is more curious about how things are made, where are they made, and their ecological footprint. We get a lot of things right. We have our own production in Austria that generates very little waste. The product is very timeless, uses very little materials, and people wear them for 5–10 years. That’s very sustainable from my point of view. The next round is the afterlife. How easy is it to recycle? We are now researing ways to detach the materials and parts easily.

Has the role of the designer changed?

— I think its our duty to make sure to always have the value of sustainability with us. Designers should be generating ideas so that society can move forward. Somebody has to start, and as designers we are at the forefront of generating those ideas.

What are you inspired by right now? 

— What I really love. When I’m lying at home in my hammock, looking into the skies, seeing the clouds fly by. That’s how I work out my problems in my brain. 


”Manufacturers should produce and offer customers sustainable products”

Design procurement consultancy Dodds & Shute has ranked Swedish furniture brands as the most sustainable in the world. On top of that, firms from Scandinavia are topping the prestigious sustainability ranking. We speak to Cecilia Ask Engström, head of industry development at The Swedish Federation of Wood and Furniture Industry, on Scandinavia’s green impact on furniture manufacturing.

How come Sweden is so good when it comes to sustainability?

— I think that most swedes grow up with a close connection to nature, which results in it being natural for swedes to care about the environment. This in combination with Sweden, already from the get-go, establishing quite strict environmental laws affecting all production in Sweden.

— Compared to other industrialized countries, Sweden still has a large furniture production when compared to other branches of industry. With Sweden being aware of the importance of this, we have also acquired a sensible focus on production which has led to larger control of our complete production.

Many Scandinavian firms score the highest in the list. Have you experienced that the Scandinavian sustainable mindset differs from the rest of the world?

— I think that people in Scandinavia has a closer connection to nature and that might be a large part behind their reasoning about why we should do less harm to nature.

What are some of the lessons other countries can learn? 

— That there is no good alternative to producing sustainable products. It is also very important to cooperate to find common solutions, if the industry cooperates and has the same demands, it is easier for suppliers to invest in new and more sustainable solutions.

What does this report mean for the Swedish furniture companies? 

— This report is important, many Swedish furniture companies have invested a lot to be able to produce more sustainable products and they sometimes find that in the end the customer still chooses the cheapest product. The consequence of this report will hopefully result in a larger quantity of these customers, in these types of cases, will start working with only the most sustainable companies. It is highly important that the customer makes these conscious decisions.

How much is down to the consumers? Are they the ones putting the pressure on manufacturers to be sustainable?

— In Sweden, the public procurer requires sustainable furniture in public tenders. Private consumers have historically not been so interested in sustainability. I think that we are now seeing how this is changing.

Dodds & Shute sustainability report

— I think that in the end consumers should not have to think so much about buying sustainable products. I think that the manufacturers instead only should produce and offer the customers sustainable products.

The Dodds & Shute report also said that many global furniture manufacturers turn a blind eye to sustainable issues. What are your experiences with this?

— It is time-consuming and you have to invest to be able to achieve sustainable production. You have to have control over every part of your business in a detailed manner. Some global furniture manufactures focus more on short term wins.

How much does this mean for the industry?

— I think that the Swedish furniture industry should be really proud, all their work they have put in to be able to produce sustainable products has resulted in that they now are world leaders in producing sustainable furniture.

How is the industry doing in the pandemic? 

— In the spring the industry had a really tough period, there was almost no orders. In may we started to see positive signs. No producers for the domestic market has (kitchen, beds home furniture) have a good year. On the other hand producers for the contract market still has a tough market situation.

How does the future look or the furniture industry? Any specific challenges?

— The whole industry is working with transformation into digitalization and producing circular products. I think that the covid pandemic will affect the way we live our lives that will affect the industry, there is a lot of discussions about the future office. How and where will we meet and work?


”It’s a big, small town with a lot of buzz”

The Swedish creative director used to run the region’s leading meeting place for fashion and design for an entire decade. He now helps the leading real estate companies to develop their properties through special concepts, including Art Made This supporting female artists and conceptual pop-up shop Templet right in the city center.

My favourite thing that makes me proud of Gothenburg: 
It’s a big, small town with a lot of buzz and interesting scenes within everything from music to design and fashion.

My favourite weekend routine: 
Take a walk in Botaniska and then have a coffee at Bar Italia, Tony’s Coffeebar, or Bar Centro.

My favourite cultural spot: 
All the mural art in every street corner and galleries like Galleri Box and Galleri Thomassen.

My favourite place for dining out: 
There are so many, like great Moroccan place Fatima’s, Studio HPKSM, and JINX food truck.

My favourite place for a creative or business meeting: 
Trädgårdsföreningen’s Walk & Talk and I also enjoy Palmhuset.

My favourite breakfast place: 
Bar Centro.

My favourite city escape: 
To the archipelago and pay a visit to friends on Brännö or the island of Knippla in the northern part.

My favourite local entrepreneur or creative I want to promote:
The two sisters Lien and Erica running the restaurant Vi Viet.

My favourite hotel for a staycation: 
Dorsia hotel with their great touch of the 1920s.

My favourite route for a run or walk: 
Änggårdsbergen by the Botaniska.

My favourite place for fashion: 
Vintage stores Broadway & Sons and Beyond Retro and shoe shop Shelta.

My favourite space for great design: 
The best interior design store in Scandinavia, Artilleriet, and great vintage design stores like V i x D e c o and Östlinghs.

My favorite example of tech innovation in Gothenburg: 
This year, the city offers spectacular works of light art. Together, they form a Light Art Walk in the middle of the city.

My favorite local media:
A bunch of inspiring social accounts: knivenivattnet, Alladin Faily, Nathaniel Asseraf, Noam Asseraf, heelmenow, and Joanna Bagge Ottey.

My favorite thing at home:
To listen to music like Khruangbin, Kourosh Yaghmaei, or Pink Sweats, watching documentaries like Three Identical Strangers and Operation Odessa, or series like amazing French The Bureau, and eat good food with family and friends.


”We offer pragmatic solutions for long term efficiency, not a temporary fix”

Amplified in the covid context, we see a rise of meaningful products with a real function. That’s why Stanislas Le Bert, Deputy General Manager of Sales & Marketing at L:a Bruket, believe the brand is in a good position.

— Our founders, Mats Johansson and Monica Kylén, have been nourishing the brand with a few fundamental values: simplicity, humility, inclusivity, and naturality, he explains. Interpreting the Swedish spa culture within a modern twist, capitalizing on nature, and working with and not against it. Simple and non-gender beauty routines. Extended beauty, not only for your body, but also your face, your hair, your hands as well as your home, for a full sensorial journey. We offer pragmatic solutions for long term efficiency, not a temporary fix.

All products are manufactured in Sweden, including the new sheet masks, launching this fall.

— There are a lot of sheet masks available on the market. And a lot include microplastics particles. Bio-cellulose sheet masks are biodegradable because they are made from the fermentation of coconut juice. After using it on your face, you can throw it into your compost. The serum — soaked in the sheet — is also all natural.

 How do you work to transform the beauty industry? 

— We humbly work on our small scale to bring disruptive solutions to the industry. We distinguish formulation to packaging. For the first one, we are currently getting all our catalogue fully Cosmos certified. This phase is more to clarify our offer than to change it, since nearly none of our references requires reformulation. Which means products created years ago were already Cosmos compliant but were missing the Cosmos logo on it. From now on, all our new launches will systematically be Cosmos certified, giving more clarity to consumers looking for a green beauty label. For our ingredient sourcing, we increasingly focus in sourcing natural Swedish-inspired ingredients, such as birch or nettle used in our latest hair category. This will drive our innovation forward. We put on energy in creating natural and green formula, to ensure a natural and safe ecosystem to our skin, and avoid any water pollution. 

— Then the packaging, for which we are currently looking for new solutions, additionally to the refills we already suggest to candle and soap lines. Scandinavia shows interesting innovative solutions we are keen to explore. But sustainability must be a corporate spirit, from packing in our own warehouse to individual employee motivation to minimize their impact in their daily lives.