March 11, 2013

Interview with Emma Fexeus and Book Review "Northern Delights"

Emma Fexeus is a real expert in Scandinavian design and author of Sweden's most-read design and deco blog. I'm sure most of you know her blog, Emmas Designblogg. Very shortly her amazing book "Northern Delights. Scandinavian Homes, Interiors and Design" will be available in the bookstores, you can order it by now via Gestalten. I was very happy to receive a review copy already on Friday, even before the official release date in mid-March.

"Northern Delights" is filled with striking designer's homes and with professionally and creatively styled living (or working) spaces. The book presents iconic designs as well as young talents and showcases the enormous range of Scandinavian design. Emma's preface to her book is a great summary of what Scandinavian design stands for and describes its whole success story, from the classic design icons like the Ant and Seven chairs, Tulip tables and Aalto's birch stools via contemporary brands like Hay, Artek and Fritz Hansen, to new talents such as Nina Bruun and Daniel Rybakken. The book also contains interviews with some of the most talented designers and architects, among them Clara von Zweigbergk and Tina Seidenfaden Busck, whose work I really love. I'm very delighted that Emma has been so kind to answer my questions about the book:

How did the book project begin? And how long did it take from the first step to the publication?

EF: It all started with an email from Gestalten last summer, where they asked me if I wanted to make a book in the same style as my blog. As this is a bit of a dream come true for me, and probable for every blogger, I was really happy to say yes and start planning the outlines of the project. When that was done it took me 2 or 3 months of researching, writing and editing before the final texts and images were handed over to the book designer. All in all, from first contact to book release, it has been 9 months, just like an average pregnancy, and that is a bit what it has felt like. Hard labour, lots of waiting, and out comes the prettiest little thing! 

 The Apartment, Interior Designer: Tina Seidenfarben Busck and Pernille Hornhaver, Photographer: Alastair Halfide

Which criteria did the showcased homes, interiors and designs have to meet? Did you discover new designs during the book project which you didn't know already from your work as an interior stylist and blogger?

EF: I tried to find projects that haven't been shown too much, but obviously I wanted to include some of my favorites as well even if followers of my blog have seen them before. The style had to be Nordic of course, but the location of the home or the nationality of the designer didn't necessarily have to be. Scandinavian design has spread internationally throughout the years, so now you can find it anywhere. Since I don't blog about products I did actually make some great discoveries during my research, mostly from young up and coming designers straight out of design schools.

Home of Erik and Cathy Westrell Nordström, Photographer: Patric Johansson

On your blog you promote a more sustainable lifestyle contrary to the encouragement of unrestrained consumption often found in other online media. In the preface to your book you said that Scandinavian design fits perfectly with a more conscious way of living. What are the advantages of Scandinavian design in this regard?

EF: First of all, the quality of the craftmanship and design of Scandinavian furniture and architecture is very high, so they will last you a lifetime. Secondly, their simple lines and natural colors will make sure that they fit in most everywhere and that you won't get tired of seeing them, so you won't want to buy new things. Also, the use of natural materials will ensure that your investments (because let's face it, a lot of it is expensive) will age gracefully. Last but not least, natural materials are renewable resources, making them easy on the environment.

Höst/Norm Architects and Concrete 02 Pendel by Bolia Design Team

Gradient Sacks by Susanna Vento/Varpunen and Tint by Kristine Five Melvaer

You post almost every day on your blog since 2005. What was the main difference between blogging and writing for a book?

EF: On my blog I post quite short texts since my visitors come mostly for the pictures, so I didn't have much experience with longer texts before this. I found myself going back to what I learnt in college about writing a coherent and interesting article or story, and also got a lot of input from the editor at Gestalten. There is also a big difference in pace and precision between the two medias, where blogs are quick and easy and most blog posts will be forgotten in a month, and books are meant to be read over and over again and be kept for years, so considering my words and choices felt much more important.

Thanks a lot to Emma for taking time for this interview. 

Purchase your copy here or here.