Talented designer and illustrator Camilla Lundsten is a busy women.Besides working as a creative director, pnterior designer and product designer for clients such as IKEA and Selfridges & C:o Department Stores), she hosts a TV show on interior design on Swedish channel TV4. She also writes and illustrates books for kids. And that’s not all: She also recently launched Littlephant, a very sweet brand for your kids and home. Find out more about this inspiring and colorful woman exclusively on Nordic Design.
Tell us more about your label Littlephant. How did it all started?
I started writing and drawing children’s books in 2008, and Littlephant is originally a character in the books. I now also run my design agency Camilla Lundsten Studio, based in Stockholm. All of a sudden, people wanted the illustrations to become posters and decoration for their children’s rooms, as they loved the books. I have always wanted to create a brand of my own. I got the opportunity to extend the universe of Littlephant and produce products for you, your kids and your home.
Any special projects at the moment?
Oh yes! I have got a brilliant business partner now, Marie Ericsson. Together we are developing a new range of Littlephant products, always keeping form and function in mind. We are constantly trying to marry our Scandinavian heritage with a contemporary attitude. Being a small company can be limitative at time, but we are focusing on doing a few products really well and of high quality. For 2013 we have added more porcelain, soft kids furniture, accessories like laptop cases and Iphone/glasses purses… and new children’s books.
Best thing about being a designer:
The journey. First trying to find out what’s missing our there, what people want and need. Then, trying to create products that are clever, creative and that bring beauty to your every day life. Working together with great craftsmen and producers, and choosing a production that respect nature. It’s about getting the whole picture together. The Littlephant design is not just about the object, it’s something that communicates, has clever functions and is made with respect for the air that we breath.
You, in three words:
Stubborn, stubborn and curious, haha!
What inspires you?
People, nature, contemporary culture and history, and opposites. Often people doing something that would be impossible for me to do myself inspire me, like creating music for example – It is so abstract, and wlovely lovely the result becomes! Or when some farmer is working really hard to produce organic food, following his or her conviction. I’m also amazed by nature that has it all worked out, building that tree and making it just so beautiful.
How would you describe your style?
Colourful, graphic, happy, Scandinavian
“I’m at my most creative when…”:
I don’t know really, my brain can surprise me with thoughts, ideas and images in the strangest places. Like sitting at an airport looking at people passing by, or laying on the pier watching fish swim, or just being in the middle of a conversation while making a sandwich. It’s not very exciting I know, but I can’t decide when or where to be creative, it’s just something that happens when my brain has filtered enough impressions I guess.
Best thing(s) about Scandinavia:
Light and dark (northern light in the summer and pitch dark in snowy winter) crisp air, the archipelago, respect for nature (the forest is for everyone to enjoy and pick berries in, I guess it creates respect for nature in return). Honesty and respect for people, children’s rights are well watched and democracy is important to keep alive and work for.
Historically we have some truly great Scandinavians, like the Swedish Architect Gunnar Asplund (in the beginning of the 19oos he designed the most beautiful cemetery ever, named “Skogskyrkogården”), Hans J Wegner, and Alvar Alto. Or the illustrator and mother of Moomin, Tove Jansson. But also some contemporary young ones like fashion designer Bea Szenfeldt. Internationally, there are so many… but to mention some, Brazilian Architect Oscar Niemeyer and oh-so-talented Patricia Urquiola.
Scandinavian tradition(s) you love:
Midsummer (when its light 24 hours a day) and we celebrate with great food. Crayfish in August at the pier, when summer nights are dark and it’s still warm in the water. Lighting the sauna. First winter snow making kids go nuts and everybody gets their skis out.
Or just that people take of their shoes when visiting someone’s home, just like in Japan -Very important.
Favorite travel spot:
I lived in London for many years and go back there as often as I can. I just love that creative city. But I like all big cities, like the whimsical Tokyo, the flowing N.Y., the contemporary arty Paris, etc. -Who can choose? I have visited Toronto a couple of times too, great city, it’s nature reminds me of Stockholm.
Another favourite spot is my cottage at an island in Stockholm Archipelago, far away from noise and surrounded by water and seagulls.
You, in five years:
For the first time of my life I have a plan for the next five years. I have always been living in the moment, not too much ahead, but since giving birth to my son I plan for the future. Apart from loving and supporting him when growing up, I hope that Littlephant will grow too. And that I can work with what I love for many years to come. What a journey!
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received:
“Start with what you’ve got and make something out if it, it’s all up to you”.