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Visionaries — Daniel Östman

What is the first thing you look for in a new project? 

— Unusual opportunities. It can be physical in the room, or it can be the client’s ambition that is especially interesting.

Is it easy to see the project through the client’s eyes?

— I do it for the client. That person or family is the most important part of the project. It’s not about my vision. It’s how I can do their vision the best way. I mostly do residentials and work with private clients. That’s where I have the biggest opportunity to create something unique, for someone’s home, someone’s life.

You’ve likened your process more to a fashion designer than an architect?

— Yeah, there is like a streamlined architectural process that I’ve never felt at home with. When I started getting to know the fashion world, I took on the way a fashion designer works. It’s a more dynamic process. More materialistic and hands on. That’s why I call myself an interior designer, not an architect. 

You’ve likened the room to canvas?

— Nowadays people consume interiors through a lot of pictures. But that’s just one view. You need to be more holistic about the room and how it is composed. You need a strong idea, and then you paint it out with the different components that you have at hand: the furniture, the materials, the colors, the light, ­et cetera. To me, it becomes like a canvas that I need to fill and find balance in. Then of course it has to have the functionality, but that’s just hygiene. 

Do you usually have a clear vision that you stick to, or does it change throughout the project?

— I can never have a design presentation where everything is set and fixed. It needs to evolve, step by step. I usually start with the overall colours and textiles, and then you add in the furniture and stuff. It’s important to have the trust of the client. If we decide in the middle of the process to take out the sofa or change the fabric of the curtains, or sometimes you even need to start from the beginning. 

What is the most beautiful piece of furniture you’ve  ever seen?

— There has been a lot of furniture through the years that I’ve fallen in love with. It becomes like a love affair, but then I move on and there is something else that comes into my world. Right now, I’m into sofas. There’s this perfect sofa from the 30s, by the French designer Jean Michel Frank. It’s very elegant, toned down, basic shapes, but exquisite and beautiful. When I show it to clients, they don’t necessarily like it, because it doesn’t say much. But to me it’s got the perfect dimensions and proportions. 

What is the best interior you’ve ever seen? 

— A few years back I had the luxury of being invited to a beautiful home of an artistic New York couple. It was a midtown studio loft, where they were both working and living. I got so anxious, how could I ever create something like that? I complimented them and said it was the most beautiful interior I had ever seen. And they immediately corrected me and said, ’This is not an interior, this is life.’ 

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