Eva-Lotta Axelsson is slightly different
Eva-Lotta Axelsson is an architect and founder of Nude Ateljé. She also likes to hang at Lydmar. So it comes as no surprise that when picking a sustainable project to showcase at this year’s Stockholm Furniture Fair, revamping Lydmar’s suite was her first choice.
Tell me, how come you picked Lydmar for the Project?
Nude Ateljé is a company where values such as sustainability, quality and recycling are key. In the lead up to the Stockholm Furniture Fair I wanted to create a project in which we applied these core values and created something lasting, rather than throwing away resources on a stand that will be torn down after a few days. Lydmar was my first choice simply because I love the ambiance here. We’ve spent a lot of time at Lydmar, celebrating birthdays, going to live gigs Lydmar is a top-notch hotel but still manages to deliver a relaxed and welcoming vibe. It’s not uptight and it doesn’t need to hide behind a bunch of upscale logos but has really managed to create an ambiance that appeals a group we call ‘World Citizens.’
But let’s turn the clock back a little. Eva-Lotta’s timing was perfect. Lydmar had already decided to enhance its offering and renovate the suite but hadn’t decided who to commission for the job. When Eva-Lotta met Maria for the first time this winter and explained her of dream of creating a sustainable project to showcase at the furniture fare in collaboration with the renowned B&B Italia furniture company, Maria jumped at the opportunity.
“Maria and I share the same view of Lydmar’s guests – that they’re World Citizens. They’re individuals who don’t need a contrived hotel to confirm who they are – they are confident in themselves and are simply looking for somewhere comfortable and relaxed,” explains Eva-Lotta. “The suite is definitely the last word on luxury without having to scream it out. Rather, it’s a space in which people feel at home. Where taking off your shoes when you come in feels natural,” she continues.
The Italian furniture company B&B Italia has long had its eye on Eva-Lotta. It all started with a project for a client in which she used several of the furniture company’s products. The job was written up in a magazine editorial, which B&B Italia read and later commissioned Eva-Lotta to create a product under its brand name. While the product was never produced commercially, Lotta and B&B Italia stayed in contact over the years. When Eva-Lotta got the go ahead from Maria to transform the suite at Lydmar, she realized that this was the perfect spotlight opportunity for B&B Italia. Italy was on board right away and during the recent Stockholm Furniture Fair, B&B Italia used the living room on the third floor of the hotel as a temporary showroom and meeting area.
The suite has a completely new vibe – what do you like best about it?
The cohesiveness. How it all comes together. That’s what is most important. But I’m also really happy with many of the details. For example, I think the large metal screen that sets off the entrance from the rest of the room turned out really well. I love the big bed and sculptures. And all the small, unique pieces, together with B&B Italia’s cool furniture, give the perfect balance. I’m also super happy with the foundation – an eclectic mix of different materials like stone, velvet and sheer fabrics together with a varied colour palette that adds a warm, inviting and harmonious feeling without being boring. On the contrary, it feels inspiring and personal. It’s a bit hard to explain, but you’ll just have to check in and experience it first-hand. I think the result is quite simply a space worthy of a World Citizen!
Maria and Lydmar are also happy with the result. “Eva-Lotta’s work is fantastic and the outcome is above all expectations,” says Maria. “Now our suite has a cohesiveness and atmosphere that it lacked before. Small details that bring the different parts of the room together but that still clearly demarcate the sleep, study, and living room/lounge areas. The space feels luxurious and inviting yet relaxed. I really appreciate all the unique solutions that Eva-Lotta created exclusively for the suite, in a tasteful mix with pieces of B&B Italia’s design furniture.” For a seamless finish, Eva-Lotta topped these innovative solutions with select details from her secret treasure troves around the world.
As CEO of a hotel, I find it interesting to see a trend where homes are being designed like hotel rooms and hotels are trying to get more of a home feeling and personality into their spaces. Where does this trend come from?
“I think it is inspired by southern Europe. Look for example at Italy, France and Spain, they use a lot more textiles and darker, warmer colours in their interiors than we do here in the North. That’s probably because we live with darkness all winter long and want to add light to our homes. But things have definitely swung the other way and now everything but ‘white and fresh’ is in focus for wall colour and décor.”
How do you create the hotel vibe at home that everyone is looking for?
“I would say that colours play a big role. But another key factor is clearly textiles. Everything from heavy, full-length curtains to thick rugs and soft covers. And be fearless. Dare to go all in. Don’t stop with just a couple of long curtains but also add the rug, cushions and bed cover. Being fearless is definitely one of the secrets! If you really want that hotel vibe you have to think like a hotel.”
What other trends can we expect?
“I’m not sure I’d call it a trend – but from what I’ve been seeing things have gone up a few notches in size. Interiors are calling for bigger pieces, ideally arranged as a still life. But instead of the small vases and candleholders we’ve been seeing, now it’s more about substantial, solid products that make a statement. It feels like we’re daring to take up more space nowadays – something that’s in line with wanting to create a hotel feeling at home. Dare to make room on the floor for an arrangement of large urns or candelabras – or why not a sculpture?”
Describe your best hotel experience?
“It may have been many years ago but my stay at Straf in Milan is still up there as the unequivocally coolest hotel experience I’ve had. It had just opened and was really different than anywhere I’d stayed before – and even if it doesn’t stand out as much today – it really did back then. They were the very first with that style. When I stayed there it was a true AHA experience, one I still carry with me today.”
As someone who works with design and décor on a daily basis, what is the first thing you look at when you check in to a hotel?
“I actually don’t stay at hotels that often. I am lucky to have friends all over the world and I usually stay with them when I’m travelling. But when I do stay at a hotel the bathroom is always the first thing I look at. I simply detest bathrooms done in white tiles – is there anything that makes you feel uglier than standing in a completely white bathroom with bleak lighting? Otherwise, I just like looking at different types of rooms. Personally I like pared-down design, but with warm colours and hand-picked details. Proportions are compelling. And very important.”