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Sky and glass art in the perfumer's unique home

Left: "Our strelitzia reaches the roof and has 4-5 meter long leaves. Old garden bench and small lamp bought at an auction." Right: Olle and Emelie in the sofa/daybed with removable backrests and side tables that they've built themselves.

Olle Hemmendorff describes his approach to interior design as dry–he wants as little stuff as possible and prefers furniture that fulfill more functions than one. We pay a visit to his apartment on Södermalm in Stockholm and are mesmerized–the dryness Olle refers is possibly a reference to the clear ideas about how Olle and his partner Emelie want it. A clarity that translates to pure inspiration–and light even in November!

When Olle and Emilie got together, they had a clear and "totally unrealistic" dream home: A greenhouse on the roof of a high-rise building. "That dream will probably remain a dream, but we found this apartment, on top of a fairly high house where at least half of the walls are floor-to-ceiling windows," says Olle. The excess of light changes the space with the day and the season, and governs how Olle and Emilie decorate. The neutral lime color on the walls catches the light, and the apartment’s color scheme is steered by the sky.

“I have a dry attitude towards interior design. Although I like furniture and design, it is subject to the room as a whole. I want all large furniture to feel place-built and to fill several functions at the same time. Partly because I think that kind of problem solving is fun, but also because I want my home to be optimized, with as little stuff as possible. An unnecessary spline can freak me out. A bit of a Japanese attitude, or just boring,” Olle continues. "It is definitely more fun with people who have an eclectic style and collect all kinds of furniture they like and just kind of add to the mix."

Olle grew up in a "typical linked house" outside Östersund. His parents were fairly interested in design and art but extremely frugal in buying new things. Olle doesn't think they put energy into thinking about interior in holistic terms–and neither did he until he moved away from home. Olle started freelancing for web and advertising agencies already when he was in high school, and moved down to Stockholm as soon as he graduated. Around 2008, he started the fashion/technology company Looklet, where he worked as an inventor/creative director for about ten years.
When two friends decided to try to turn their hobby–to create perfumes–into a company, they brought in Olle, who had more experience building companies and was versatile creatively. The result was Stora Skuggan. “It didn't take long before I fell completely in love with creating perfumes, and today, me and Tomas (Hempel) are the ones mixing the scents. Fragrance is an extremely fun and abstract medium to work in. ”

Left: "In our guest room we've built a furniture with a backrest by the bed so that it is not just a bedroom. Vase from the fantastic Hanna Hansdotter, lamp by Jo Hammerborg." Middle: "A dried magnolia in a vase of unknown origin. Shutter cabinet from an auction and a hand made of wood." Right: "Easy Chair by Fredrik Paulsen. Desk designed by me with carpentry by Jon Karlsson."

Left: "An old stump I bought at Bukowskis, next to a ghost by Frida Fjellman. On top, a lamp by Simon Klenell and our perfume Silphium." Right: "Our green kitchen basically looked like this when we moved in, we just made it even more green. Lamps from Tom Dixon."

Olle thinks that the way us humans love to surround and express ourselves with things and aesthetics is "so damn cute". “I think it is deeply embedded in our humanity. I think our ancestors started decorating long before there were permanent homes. Certainly partly to mark status and territory, but I don't think the first monkey that hung a nice feather in its favorite tree did so to stand out, but rather to feel good about creating beauty around herself. "

When Olle bids on auctions, his focus is most often on furniture and ornaments.

“If I don't build a piece of furniture myself, I usually have a very precise idea of what shape and aesthetics it should have. The range of used furniture is much larger than newly produced, plus you get a little 'soul' in an old object.” Olle would love to buy paintings too, but thinks it is a difficult threshold to cross. “If you want to have paintings on the walls, I think you should have a lot of them! The day I start buying paintings, the risk of me losing it is pretty big.”

Left: "Candlestick by Ludvig Löfgren and a corner of our custom built sofa/daybed with removable backrests and side tables." Right: "Jon Karlsson has built our kitchen table in cork. We have made the lamps over the table ourselves from dough and casting tape."

Follow Olle Hemmendorff here.
Follow Stora Skuggan here.

Previous home visits:
Emma Rosenzweig
Maria Foerlev
Åsa Jungnelius
Fredrik Paulsen