our modern “funkis” kitchen

I had a lovely visit from Niki at my scandinavian home some days ago. You can see her images here, but I would also like to share more pictures from our kitchen and more in-depth explanation of the renovation we did.

Our house is from 1934, made in the early days of the “funkis” (functionalist design) era. When we moved in a few years ago it was more or less untouched with a lot of original details from the 1930’s. The kitchen still had parts of the original custom made kitchen cabinets, but modern appliances was added to the old structure and it didn’t work neither from a functional nor an aesthetical perspective.

We decided that we would re-make the kitchen with inspiration from the original one and using details that were right for the 1930’s. We got the old glass containers from a friend that had renovated a flat from the same years and installed a modern kitchen.

We contacted a local carpenter to help us build a custom made kitchen inspired by the original but with modern functionality. We found Christer Bentmon, the best carpenter ever! I made the drawings and he built it for us. We love our new kitchen and want it to live as long as the previous one, for more than 80 years!

The cabinets and doors are made of ash because we wanted a wood with grains that would remain visible after painting. I painted all the parts 4 times (!!!) by hand. The first two layers of a traditional, ecological paint made of egg, linseed oil and natural pigments. I used the color  5-632 from Ovolin and it is an amazingly beautiful shade of green. It is a color that changes a lot with the light from cold to warm and with variation in color intensity. This kind of paint is quite sensitive to use in a kitchen, so I finished it with two layers of hard wax oil in matte finish from Osmo. As I am a bit “damaged” from my work as a Color and Material designer, of course I had to test different stains on the hard wax oil before deciding that it was the right coating. It passed my stain test and now we have a very functional and beautiful color in our kitchen!

When we did the renovation we also removed a wall to open up the kitchen towards the entrance of the house, to get more light in the entrance area but also to get more storage space for our kitchen things. You can also see how the shape of the old cabinets was an inspiration for the new kitchen.

Material heritage

I found these beautiful images on Yellowtrace of an amazing architecture project by Petra Gipp Arkitektur . Bruksgården is located in Höganäs, a town in the southern part of Sweden with a long history of manufacturing bricks and ceramics. I think it is amazing to see how the architects have honoured the history of the place and the beauty of the materials once created there, when renovating and adding new structures to the area.

House vision exhibition in Tokyo

I was in Tokyo last week on a business trip, again. This time I had a day to get out of the office and see some inspiring exhibitions, and Tokyo is an amazing city when it comes to art and culture! I will show you some images from a really inspiring architecture exhibition called House Vision 2.

“The theme for HOUSE VISION 2 2016 Tokyo is “CO-DIVIDUAL—Split and Connect/Separate and Come Together.” It addresses the question of how we can bring together and re-connect individuals, urban and rural areas, and fragmented technologies.”


The exhibition was built in wood in simple, but very beautiful constructions. There were 12 houses made by different architects to envision their solution to future home needs, all the houses were connected by wooden “streets” that was elevated from the ground. This was a very nice way of connecting the houses and separating the exhibition from the surrounding.

I will show you some of my favorite houses.


The nomad house by Isetan Mitsukoshi in collaboration with architects Makoto TANIJIRI/Ai YOSHIDA.

“This house targets the new nomad: people who, instead of settling in one place, consider migrating for work as the norm. Working in overcrowded environments, they are a high-income group with a wide range of social contacts. Rather than immersing in the minutiae of everyday life, they imagine a space to pleasantly spend half of each month or to casually enjoy parties with close friends. The world may be moving from the age of permanent residency back to the nomadic age.”

It was interesting to see how the architects were working with an open, flexible space and how they were working with different heights on the floor, textile curtains and glass doors to create rooms inside the open space. The color scale was very calm and minimalistic, but the use of different kinds of wood and hand-made ceramics were adding warmth and comfort. The wall was painted in a grey chalk paint, with brush strokes to give a more vivid surface.


The Rental Space Tower by architect Sou FUJIMOTO for residential leasing and management company Daito Trust Construction.

“Rental housing had always been configured so that space for exclusive occupancy is maximized while common areas are confined to passageways. But what if private spaces are minimized to provide spacious shared spaces, such as kitchens, baths, theater rooms and gardens?”

The entire house, both exterior and interiors was made of wood, and this was creating a warm atmosphere with no clear separation of inside and outside.


Woodgrain house by Toppan Printing and HARA Design Institute.

“Produced by a high-tech approach based on printing technology, the house brings fascinating depth to environmental materials. Printed laminates have recently undergone significant progress, and the combination of visual accuracy and texturing has resulted in producing decorative laminates that go further than being indistinguishable from the originals, being produced with an accuracy and consistency that surpasses natural lumber.”

The architect’s vision of a house made out of a solid wooden piece was nicely executed by a printed laminate material both on the outside and the inside of the house. The material used on the inside also had a texture to simulate the tool marks from shaping the wood. But the nicest thing in this house was how they had integrated all the functions in the house into the material, for example a speaker that was built into the wall and the storage space inside the steps of the stairs.

Want to see or read more? http://house-vision.jp/en/exhibition.html

Modern tea experience in Tokyo


I went to this beautiful place in Tokyo called Souen. It is a modern tea house that is inspired by the traditional Japanese tea ceremony but with the new twist that they serve the tea in cocktails. The environment is calm and minimalistic, only with natural materials: stone, brass, wood and ceramics. The bartender is fully focused on his task: pouring water, preparing tea, mixing the cocktail and serving it in the perfect glass. This was an experience for all the senses!


Colors of Bologna

colors of bologna

Bologna, also known as “la cittá rossa” – the red city – referring to the colors of the buildings but also to the political preference of many bolognesi. The earthy red is beautiful and present everywhere, from the color of the bricks to the color of the terrazzo on the pavements. I love the patterns that is created in terrazzo mixing stones in various sizes and colors with colored cement. We start to see more and more terrazzo in interiors and furniture. My favourite are these tables by Frama in Copenhagen. http://www.framacph.com


I think we will see a lot more of terrazzo to come, to quote the queen of swedish design blogs Lotta Agaton “terrazzo is the new Carrara”.