We had the great honor of giving an interview to Natalia Kołaczek, who is a blogger of Szwecjoblog, a philologist of Scandinavian studies, a translator, and an academic teacher of the Swedish language. Here comes the translation of the interview:
Szwecjoblog: Scandinavia is associated by many people with the Scandinavian style from interior design. The Scandinavian style was a starting point for my talk with Artur Przedzienkowski, founder of SFD Furniture Design, a company that produces handmade solid oak furniture. We also discuss Swedish values and words and some inspiring places in Sweden. In the name of your brand SFD Skandinavisk Möbeldesign there is a critical keyword starting with ‘S’. I want to begin our talk from it and ask a question that you might hear multiple times: what are ‘furniture in the Scandinavian style’? What associations should come to our heads when we hear about the ‘Scandinavian style’?
Artur: Yes, it’s true. Question about the Scandinavian style in interiors is often asked. Associations, which come to my head as the first ones, are light colours, minimalism and a sense of space. Usually, there are only a few pieces of furniture; wardrobes and storages are hidden in the walls, and inside rooms, there are only necessary for functioning things.
Furniture in the Scandinavian style are usually associated with furniture coming from one well-known Swedish brand. This means there are very practical, easy to construct at home and generally available in white or pinewood colours, or the second trend with furniture in a spirit of Art Déco style.
However, I have more expectations from this term. For me, a fundamental sense of Scandinavia is an inexplicable bond between human and the natural world and a peaceful coexistence. That became my inspiration for solid oak furniture design. Here, the primary source of inspiration came from Northern nature and Saami culture, e.g. wood carved dishes.
Right now, we are focusing on our global reach of sale. It convinced us to change the name of our brand from Swedish to English form – SFD Furniture Design. Skandinavisk will be implicitly carried in our hearts, as it all started from that ‘S’.
Szwecjoblog: Do the Scandinavian style suit Polish interiors? Do you have any suggestion on how we could bring it up to our homes in a few simple steps?
Artur: When I think more stereotypically about the interior of our Polish homes, e.g. our grandmas’ homes, we can spot there a large number of trinkets, massive wall units which takes space on the length of an entire wall, and walls painted with vivacious colours. Our modern interiors, one way or the other, become more practical and minimalistic. Does the Scandinavian style suit our interiors? I would instead ask this question, thinking about our inner feelings. When it comes to interiors, it definitely requires uncluttering our space and redesigning it. This way, we will be able to once again contemplate what is truly important for us in terms of functionality, everyday organisation, but also in terms of spirituality and mental well-being. If we will put more focus on Scandinavian interiors and their owners, we will spot the bond between human and their space – a matter of ‘trinkets’ existence is not connected to the need for decoration or filling up space, but more the connection is about the relation between the human and the object – it can be a matter of memories, values or spirituality.
Szwecjoblog: For the past year, we started to spend much more time in our homes. Our tables replace these we knew from restaurants or cafes, and desks became entire offices.Did that change of lifestyle influence in any way your projects or thoughts about functionality? Or did it change customers’ expectations?
Artur: While designing solid oak furniture, I always did it with the belief that the kitchen and a dining room are the primary places and the heart of the home. With the pace of our current way of living, we spend most of the time by the table – in the mornings or in the evening, we have time to sit down and drink coffee, eat together, or simply talk. Often, the most precious memories from our lives are connected with that place.
Since the last year, nothing changed in our foundation ideas. Our idea is universal, and we strengthen it each day by taking on new projects and challenges for our brand SFD.
Szwecjoblog: Can you tell how it even happened that the journey with brand SFD started in Piteå?
Artur: Piteå came into my life for the first time when my sister moved there. I was going to meet her in her new home. When I got off the plane in Luleå, I was struck with ‘fresh’, aromatic and sharp air. That moment stayed sincerely in my mind, and since then, I’m coming back to Piteå for shorter or longer stays. I have no doubt that this ‘accident’ became an influential factor for SFD Furniture Design creation. First of our solid oak furniture was created there; it is also the place from which our spiritual values and elements come from. You can find them composed in our style. What is the most important was a wonderful and lovely attitude towards nature, which was full of respect and humbleness – I observed it and understood it better. I’ve learned this way of thinking there.
Short day in winter – Pitea 2013
Storforsen is a waterfall on the Pite River in Swedish Norrbottens
Szwecjoblog: Which places inspire you the most? Do you find more inspirations in the vast landscapes, forests and trails of Norrbotten, or maybe an urban space of Stockholm? Or perhaps it is something else?
Artur: Inspiration, which we are talking about, is a mix of few ingredients: spaces and landscapes as natural or anthropogenic creations, atmosphere, people, environment or random encounters. I would perhaps also add a spiritual maturity for receiving all of these signals and stimulus. Sometimes it happens that I indifferently pass by the perfect ‘muse’ and inspiration, utterly unconscious of them, as I’m not ready for receiving them and for creation.
If I was going to put pins down on the map, which would indicate where I discovered the most of these perfect moments, during which I was able to capture them and pour into my craftsmanship, then it would be an entire Norrbotten, especially Piteå, Storfosen waterfall, Luleå and picturesque National Park Abisko. These places are perfect when it comes to landmarks, people, air, colours. Eh… simply perfect.
Other places, which brought moments of these experiences were also around shores and banks of Northern Swedish rivers and lakes, on which I roamed during white nights. I love them and recall them often. The image, which stayed in my head, will never allow me to treat nature in the same way I did before my voyages. I think I became her little piece, a tiny part of that perfect world.
Storforsen is a waterfall on the Pite River in Swedish Norrbottens
A waterfall Storforsen – 2010
Winter – Pitea 2013
It is definitely also Stockholm, which is a vibrant place, but with its rhythm matching to what I like, despite urban noises and tempo. It is the city, wherein its central area I was still able to find, without any problems, places that were relaxing and quiet, and full of fun and joyful atmosphere; full of bautiful style, perfect design, and incredible fashion Drottninggatan, Götgatan, Hamngatan and Sturegatan.
I also love Stockholm for that feeling, which makes you think that nature didn’t allow human to fully control her. Like these moments when you see yards of untouched landscapes, surrounded by rocks or water; metro, which wades through tons of raw stone, or we could even say caves. Raw nature and its power, which still prevailed to be visible despite extreme human intervention, that lack of ‘glass city’ look makes us feel comfortable in that coherently maintained space.
Hagaparken, Stockholm – 2012
Artur – Södermalm, Stockholm 2012
Artur – Södermalm, Stockholm 2012
Szwecjoblog: You mentioned earlier that SFD is not only about solid oak furniture but also about values. What are these values? Can we spot the Scandinavian spirit in them as well?
Artur: We carry our brand’s values since the day of its foundation. We wrote them down, so we will never forget them, and from time to time, we take them out and check if we are still faithful to them and if we didn’t lose anything during our crafting. In our work, we are motivated to spread values like massive respect to nature, work as a lifetime passion and sense of life, Scandinavian rules of good design and functionality, and – what is perhaps the most essential value of all – being with our loved ones and creating homey atmosphere, in which we can always rest our body and mind. We place these value in every piece of solid oak furniture we produce, so we can help us all to create our own unique interiors and the feeling of a perfect homey atmosphere. We would be able to discuss our values for much longer, but it is a topic for a separate story! 😊
Storforsen a waterfall on the Pite River in Swedish Norrbottens – 2010
Ewa and Artur – Pitea – 2013
Szwecjoblog: Fjäril, Sol, Måne, Trähus – these are just names of a few solid oak furniture created by SFD; Swedish words, same as möbeldesing. Are there any Swedish words or phrases, which are especially dear to you, or you simply like them a lot? Recently, the whole world was speaking about lagom, flygskam came into fashion, and not so long ago, I spot some social media discussion about the word lillördag.
Artur: A few of them stay in our head and which we try to imply in our everyday life. I will be glad to share them: Det finns inte dåligt väder, bara fel kläder – which means ’There is no bad weather, only bad clothing’. Fikatid – describes a break for cookie and coffee; it is an incredible element of every day, which enriches it with new relations and pleasure. Lagom – an ability to define and maintain a balance of how much we need for happiness and when we need to say ‘stop’. When we remember and then learn how to live with these three rules, our lives will become fuller and more meaningful. We are still learning it. 😉
Ewa – Artur’s wife and SFD co-founder. First day in Stockholm.
Szwecjoblog: And for the end, I want to ask you what you learned during your journeys in Northern Europe, at work, or in everyday life in Scandinavia? What did you gathered and implied into your daily routine, both private and business?
Artur: We gathered our experiences mainly in Sweden. Other countries only add a bit of spice into that. I really love checklists, so to answer your question, I will do it in a checklist format:
We’ve learnt that it is necessary and worthy to make plans.
Working for 100% is enough, and there is no need to go the extra mile for 1000%.
Only regular talks and discussion will help us find the right solution.
We’ve learnt that we must thank for everything (for the day at work, for engagement with a project, for mistakes that help us improve, etc.)
To be close with nature and have a tremendous amount of respect and humbleness towards it.
To plan on your holidays – even if they are far away, it still is a great pleasure.
Checklist – perfect for everything 😉 Every time we leave Sweden, we put into our suitcases: good camera, exciting book, a notebook and…
Thank you, Natalia, for an opportunity during which we could share with your readers our experiences and thoughts, among which we speak publicly for the very first time. If our story caught your interest – please write to us, as we will be glad to respond to all of your questions or help with advice.
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