Scan Magazine, Issue 82, November 2015

Page 68

Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Christmas Gifts from Sweden – Our Top Tips

Sometimes nature provides the most stunning patterns - here as part of Woodgrain (left) and a tray adorned with peonies (middle) by Emelie Ek. Photo on the right: Amber Grimfalk.

Tech meets nature: as Swedish as it gets From faded red wooden houses dotted around the southern Swedish countryside and windswept seaside cottages fending off the water, wind and winter of the Baltic Sea to iconic inner city facades, every Scandophile knows there is something special about Swedish houses. By Bella Qvist | Photos: Emelie Ek

Graphic designer Emelie Ek has translated that classic Scandinavian architecture into beautiful textiles and crockery, and design lovers around the world are buying her products like never before. But her career path was not always as set in stone as the subjects of her popular illustrations. “When I was little I would draw things like flying pigs with nails and eyebrows,” laughs Ek, speaking from her studio on Ekerö, a leafy island outside Stockholm. The flying pigs have, so far, remained a thing of the past, but Ek’s attention to

detail has remained. She runs her design business alone and says that both her father, who was an artist, and her artistically gifted mother and two grandmothers inspired her as she grew up in Halmstad on the south-west coast of Sweden. “My grandmother was an architect from Iceland. I remember drawing house designs with her,” says Ek. Despite this, Ek avoided illustration for a long time. She studied graphic design in both Sweden and the UK, set on animation and started out making music videos and visual art pieces. It was all about

moving imagery until one day, in 2009 or 2010, she randomly entered a competition for Swedish interior design magazine Hus & Hem. They were looking for an illustration for a tray and Ek decided to give it a go. “It was awful and I didn’t win, but it gave me an idea,” the designer says. A seed was planted and not long after she had come up with the illustrations for Stad (City). It was an instant hit as trendy Swedish design shop Designtorget picked up on it, and soon Ek expanded her range, introducing the hugely popular collection Mitt Stockholm (My Stockholm) among others. Today her portfolio contains more than just trays and her designs, including illustrations of kittens, peonies and colourful chequered patterns, have gained recognition abroad. How has that happened? “Instagram,” she says, proving that, at last, she has struck that balance between hand-drawn illustration and digital media.

Emelie Ek Design is available online at and in shops across Sweden.

Emelie Ek’s career in design started off with the popular Stad tray design. Her hugely popular Harlequin design boxes are sure to brighten up any room.

68 | Issue 82 | November 2015

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