Traditional techniques applied to modern production | by Alessandra Ferretti

Ola Rune, co-founder of the architecture practice Claesson Koivisto Rune, what are the main trends in Swedish design today?

Swedish design currently tends to focus on traditional craft as a point of reference for the design process. Many young designers are looking back on old techniques and developing these to fit in with modern production processes.


What are the characteristics of Swedish residential architecture?

The Swedish residential sector in general has a number of different characteristics. When new projects are built in our major cities, the trend is increasingly towards the construction of high-end houses and flats to meet demand from clients. Outside cities, clients are less likely to want to invest in their homes to the same extent. Here there is a more traditional market where homes are more geared towards  prefabricated concepts.


Are there any interior design schools in Sweden?

There are a number of universities in Sweden where students can train as interior architects. The two most important are in Stockholm (Konstfack) and Gothenburg (HDK). The idea is to educate architecture students to either join major architect firms or in some cases to open their own practices.


What are the strengths of the Swedish ceramic distribution system? And those of your company in particular?

I would say that our main strength is the curiosity that we have about what is going on in the world, a typically Swedish characteristic. In Sweden we have had a ceramic production and are accustomed to using tiles in our homes, restaurants and workplaces. Major distributors such as Kakelspecialisten show us new trends from domestic and international producers. We collaborate closely with the Swedish manufacturer Marrakech Design, for whom we have designed more than ten collections.


What is your view of the Italian ceramic industry? And what are the characteristics Italian ceramics are known for?

The Italian ceramic industry is far more advanced than the one we have here in Sweden. Italian manufacturers are always exploring new techniques and collaborating with the world’s leading designers. This results in products that are new in terms of aesthetics but are also precise and easy to use by architects.


How have the demands and preferences of Swedish consumers changed over the years?

Swedish consumers are always looking out for new products and are keen to discover more individual design solutions for their homes.


Could you tell me something about your company? When was it founded and how does it operate?

Claesson Koivisto Rune was founded in 1995 and right from the start operated in the fields of both architecture and design. We are currently working on buildings and interiors all over the world and at the same time are collaborating with some of the world’s best design companies. I would say that our business is divided up almost 50-50 between domestic and international projects.


When you design buildings or interiors outside Sweden, do you adapt your style to that of the country you’re working in or do you maintain a Swedish style?

We do not adapt our style just because our project is in Kyoto, Texas or Stockholm. Of course a new environment gives an extra dimension but we prefer to develop it through our projects and clients and their personal briefs.

November 2017