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CovetED Exclusive interview with Staffan TollgardFriday 10 February 2017
Artists have one universal quality: the ability to tell a story. They meticulously conceive and renovate the most beautifully crafted features to an audience that appreciates the true meaning of art. Staffan Tollgard is no exception to this concept, as each of his pieces has the purpose of telling a characteristic yet functional narrative.
The Swedish designer began his career in the film and television industry; however, he didn’t feel like he was being as creative as he possibly could. The opportunity for a change arose when Tollgard and his wife, Monique, bought an old house and employed an architect to design it. As the latter failed to complete the visions of the couple, Tollgard became immensely involved in the project, and he was completely bewitched by design, and since then he never looked back.
According to Tollgard, for someone to be successful, one must work hard and be passionate about what they do. He was quickly listed in the House & Garden Top 100 which was his first boost toward international recognition; his openings in showrooms and work abroad were also additions to his renowned status.
His style is characterized by two principles: finding the read thread and creating the functional sculpture. The former represents the essence of the project, a sort of returning point; the latter expresses the uniqueness and practicality of a certain piece.
He started a showroom due to the fact that he wanted to represent wonderful pieces that were non-existent or misrepresented and personalized them in agreement with the Staffan Tollgard Design Group’s style. Exhibited in the showroom are some Scandinavian design classics, pieces from famed Italian brands, small brands from Holland, and brands from Portugal and Asia as well. The distinguished designer values honest products and not so much mass produced art.
In regards to favourites, Tollgard clarifies that it is impossible to have one because it is something that is constantly varying. Among many projects, the design group is currently finishing a unique lateral space in Knightsbridge in London, a chalet in Switzerland, and also have an amazing project in Amman.
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Clients are for Tollgard the biggest inspiration, as he explains, “As a designer, you are like a director of a narrative. You find a story within your clients who are like the characters of a movie and the interior has to suit them.” He goes on to say that, “it is our responsibility as designers to understand who they are and therefore design the most appropriate.”
His philosophy is to be humble, to respect the client, the buildings, and your peers. By being humble there is a less probability of destroying certain matters, such as interiors, architecture or even relationships. He comprehends that if a building is listed it is for a reason, he believes that “maybe we shouldn’t head down cornices that are two hundred years old, maybe we need to keep staircases that have been there for centuries, and I think that is understanding that you are not above all of this, you can’t just come in and tear things down.” He views designers as generalists instead of specialists. As a whole, Tollgard advises new designers to work with their heart, “I don’t think there are any shortcuts, you can be lucky, but in order to be lucky I still think you need to work hard.”
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