The Colonies is proud to announce the commencement of our new feature “21 Questions”. Here we will showcase our favourite stylists, interior decorators, interior designers and product designers.
First up, we have the multi-talented Myrica Bergqvist, a furniture designer and interior stylist from Stockholm. We have blogged about her before (and we’re not the only ones — here too) but in our 21 Questions we were able to really get to know the face behind the space(s)! Have a read – you’ll find that not only is she talented, but she’s funny too (and who can knock a girl who completes a look with a glass of prosecco?)!!
1. When did you first decide to become a homewares designer and interior stylist?
I don’t remember ever deciding to do what I do, it just has come my way, of course I have been working hard but not even when I studied design I was sure exactly what I wanted to do. I studied furniture design in Italy for 4 years and came up with the idea for the lasercut headboard when I got back to Sweden in 2005 that got much acclaim in the press, the same year I started my business MyricaDesign. I started to work as a stylist in October 2010 when an interior magazine, that had published my products over the years and featured my home, asked me if I was interested to freelance for them. Today I also work for other interior magazines, a men’s lifestyle magazine and done commercials.
2. How did you arrive at what you’re doing now?
3. Our readers might be curious about the differences between (and perhaps overlaps) of an interior stylist and interior designer. How would you define each role?
An interior designer does whole homes/rooms for people that might not have the time or the interest to decorate themselves, and they also work with interiors for restaurants, bars, hotels, offices etc. My work consists of styling photoshoots. It can be editorial for an interior magazine where I build up a room or an environment from scratch. Or when I find an interesting and beautiful home that I want to shoot I sometimes add some furniture, lamps, a pillow, flowers. I am always very careful with adding pieces that reflects the people living there, things they actually would have bought themselves, not what I would want myself. A lot of times they buy the things that I have brought, that makes me happy, that I have been able to read a persons taste in a very short period of knowing them.
The other part of the job, the most important one to me, is to, in every photo, show the reader who the person living there is, small details, moving things into the pic, create a good feeling, something that attracts or maybe provoke the reader. I love to put things that can make eyecontact with the reader in the pictures, like a portrait, a stuffed animal, something that looks right into the camera, that creates a special feeling.
All the frames me and the photographer together decides to shoot are small pieces of art, it may sound pretentious, but I love this job and I take it very serious, it is very creative and I can show a lot of myself in the photos, even the ones from private homes. I think it is very important to take it seriously as people are letting me in there private homes, where they live, sleep, love, raising there children, I owe it to them to do a good job and not just to make a buck.
4. What types of projects are you typically asked to work on (styling)?
The homes I usually find myself so mostly it’s editorial shopping pages with different themes, such as Carpets & Rugs, The Perfect Style Crime, Espressomachines & accessories etc. When I style a covershoot I build up a room from scratch, the magazine gives me directions such as which colors should be used, what kind of environment; livingroom, kitchen, bedroom etc.
Sometimes they want to use one of the shots from a private home, then I go back and retake the photo, make it more commercial and eyecatching.
5. Where do you get your inspiration for designing?
Architecture, traveling, films and tv-series, nature, Liberty (in London yes!).
6. Where do you find inspiration for styling?
Harder to say. Often I get a very clear picture in my head what I want to communicate, the feeling of the pic. In the homes I get the inspiration from the people living there.
7. What do you love most about your dual career?
That it is very easy to combine the both. Working with MyricaDesign can be lonely sometimes as I do everything myself. As a stylist I meet so many lovely people, photographers that I love working with, all the homeowners. It is a very special feeling being invited to someones home, they leave for work and I go through their cupboards and wardrobes for stuff (with them knowing about it of course!) to use in the shoots. At the end of the day you feel at home a bit.
8. Are there any job perks?
I love going around in all my favorite shops, pointing at everything that I want to borrow, it’s like shopping for free. Then when you unpack it for the photoshoot it’s like Christmas every time.
9. What is a day in the life of Myrica like?
They are kind of similar, I like and need routines as I am working from my home. If I don’t have a photoshoot I get up around 7, get in my workout outfit, making breakfast, answering emails for a couple of hours, making phonecalls, go to the gym, get home, showering, having lunch, googleing a lot, talking to production, photoshoping, going around town to look for things for photoshoots. If I am working on new products I sketch and make drawings in the computer, making prototypes, planning the shooting for products pictures. Meeting friends for a drink, watching movies, try to sleep for 7 hours.
10. Do you have a signature object/arrangement/bit of flair you include in your styling that makes it truly “Myrica”? What about in your design work?
As I mentioned before I often use things with eyes (sounds horrific), to make eyecontact with the readers, stuffed animals, portraits etc end I don’t like it when it’s perfect, I am trying to do it a bit messy, blankets tossed on the floor, looks like someone just left the couch after lying there reading for a couple of hours, I try to use as much humor as possible without making it ridiculous. A lot of people have said that they can recognize that it is styled by me. I asked one of the photographers I work with what he thinks is special for my styling and he said that ”it’s messy, very vivid and superneat at the same time. Luxery and patina in a holy combination, like a Swedish oyster together with and old bottle of champagne found on the bottom of the ocean”.
In my design I think it is the combination of the choice of material, pattern, humor, luxery, simplicity, minimalism and maximalism.
11. Do you prefer to work with existing spaces – styling homes to be photographed – or to create a space from scratch?
It is two totally different things, I love to do both but I still think I prefer to do the homes if I have to choose. Or maybe not. I can’t decide. I love doing both.
12. When working with an existing space, how far would you depart from the way the space is kept by the inhabitants to achieve a good photograph?
I don’t change anything, I only move around things. Maybe there is a detail, saying very much about the person living there, but it is impossible to get a good shot where it’s at, then I move that particular object into another frame, because I think it is important to show it.
For covershoots we may change a bit more for obvious reasons.
13. What is your styling ethos or motto?
I can’t think of anything that doesn’t sound superpretentious.
14. What is your own home like?
My home is small and very colorful, the base is white and grey, orange, green, blue added or maybe most colors when I think about it. It is decorative, functional and cosy. A mix of vintage, new, design classics. My friends feel very much at home here I think even though they may be having a totally different taste than me. That’s the key when you build a home, use things and colors that you love yourself, not what is trendy or safety furniture that you can see in every interior magazine. Be bold and show yourself and all your guests will love to spend time in your home.
15. What advice would you give to someone interested in a career in interior styling? Design?
I think you need to be very sure about your own taste, uncertainty is not good for this kind of work, be able to work under stress without exploding every five seconds when everything is falling apart, it’s a plus if you have some skills for the administration part of the job as well. Be prepared to take new ways along the path. Don’t let money be your main goal. Listen to your gut feeling. Only work with people you like. Short time between thought and action.
16. What are your favourite design resources (blogs, books, magazines)?
GOOGLE, I read a lot of design books, some design blogs.
17. What are your favourite interiors shops?
I love vintage shops and in Stockholm I have some favourites for modern furniture. In London my favorites are SCP, Aram, Les Trois Garcons and Liberty.
18. Who is your favourite designer?
Marcel Wanders, Jaime Haydon, Front.
19. Where do you hope to see your brand in 5 years?
In big design hotels all over the world! And in Todd Selbys bedroom.
20. Complete this sentence: Every great space should….
… have well-planned lighting, a lot of seating, eyecandy and ice cold prosecco.
21. How do you like your coffee?
In my favorite bar on corso Vittorio Emanuele in Rome.