Swedish style is known not only for its clean lines but also for its bold fabric designs, both working so well in highlighting the other. Hi guys, this is Mel, and I'm back this month reporting live from Stockholm to introduce you to Ulrika Gyllstad, a textile designer here whose graphic patterns are created with nature and architecture as its muse and with a strong environmental conscience.
Recently I paid Ulrika a visit to her studio and was greeted with a warm smile followed by a chat, the good Swedish way – over fika (a typical Swedish coffee break). Here she told me about the early days of her career, working as a pattern designer for H&M and GANT after graduating from Beckmans College of Design. “I really enjoyed working and learning much from these fashion companies, but I always felt the pull towards my love of interior textiles.” She moved in that direction in 2006 before founding her own company, Gyllstad in 2014.
Ulrika not only created a brand with her own designs but being fully aware of the undesirable footprint many traditional textile companies have left thus far, she began to explore ways in which she could create not only a beautiful product but something that is as environmentally friendly as possible. This has become somewhat a passion of hers and she has gone on to ensure that her fabrics are certified organic and that the designs are pressed with traditional screen technology using certified pigments. “This helps me sleep at night,” she says. I told her that from a consumer point of view, I have to say that this kind of a commitment from a maker or company is a huge plus for me.
Nature and architecture are Ulrika’s biggest inspirations and whether it’s the lines and form of a leaf, the perfection of a cut kiwi, or the twirl of a spiral staircase, she always has a collection of photo books on these subjects on hand to find her next motif. She then gets sketching, and I was surprised to learn that all of her designs are done in freehand.
All of the fabrics are weaved here in Sweden, another feat in the environmental commitment by keeping things as local as possible. The other advantage of having this done in locally is that Ulrika has been able to work closely with Swedish artisans to experiment with new weave structures for some of her cushion covers in solid colors that will sit beside and compliment her striking bold designs.
Looking through her collection, it’s hard for me to find something that I wouldn’t love in my home. Her fabrics are designed to mix and match and her cushions are an easy way to inject some new life into a room and her fabric, sold by the meter, can be made into a tablecloth. Patterned tablecloths are very popular here in Sweden and something that I had never considered until living here. It brings so much warmth and cheer to a table don’t you think? - Mel x
(Text/Photography: Mel Chesneau)