Mitte’s Swedish lifestyle design store, Granit, holds commitment to Swedish age-old traditions and functional designs.
Who best to accessorize your life and your home than the illustrious Swedes? After being founded in 1997 by two Swedish mothers whose style and grace puts us all to shame, Granit opened its first Berlin boutique store in Mitte last September to great success.
We had a nice chat with one of the brains behind the fine lines and sleek finishes of the remarkable store (a must-stop if you’re in the area), Linda Åkeson.
What is so special about Swedish design?
Hard to say. Maybe it’s just that simple and functional design. Swedes are quite fond of everyday items that you can live with for a long time.
What make it different from Danish, Japanese, and German design?
I don’t know if I can say exactly. It’s easier to see where there are similarities, and there are a lot: the natural sense, the feeling and the knowledge of the materials, the unadorned and simple functionalism. Perhaps we Swedes are a little more cautious and always go for the safe card in interior and design.
How is design rooted in Swedish culture?
Traditionally, we Swedes are not for strong colors and patterns. Nature plays an important role in almost all Swedes’ lives. The lakes, the forests, the trees, and wood surround us all the time, and of course it affects us. It’s our natural material.
There is the North to South myth: Sweden has very short summers and long, cold, dark winters. In order to survive the winter, you had to plan very well over the centuries to get everything right in the summer. In the south of Spain, planning isn’t as important, for example. Do you think this myth is right? If so, how does it show in Swedish design?
The myth is probably true to some extent, even though we live in a very long country and it’s difficult to generalize. But the long winters are reflected in the Swedish design as well. The designs don’t have much unnecessary “fuss and decoration” or, as we call it in Swedish, “krusidull-igt”… it’s more straight-forward.
On the other hand, the long winters certainly affected us in the past, allowing us to add a little extra love to our everyday items and furniture during the dark winters. There’s an incredibly rich tradition of craftsmanship in every object, if you look into older homes. We hope this amazing craft will be preserved and appreciated more in the future, even though we are used to much faster consumption and more wear and tear.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Well… from everywhere and everyday life!
At Granit, we work with our core values: functional and inspiring form and design, and our inspiration really comes from everyday life. We are interested in and often talk about how we do our daily routines at home, at work, and how they can be simplified. We ask how they can also be a little more pleasant and beautiful.
From day one, we have had the mission: “Simplify your life – make time to live,” and we still try to remind ourselves that every day, even now, 20 years later…
Everything feels so available and accessible today, and you really have to dig to find your own grains of gold.
What role does sustainability play in design today?
A super important and obvious role, for sure. It’s now necessary to integrate it all the time.
The tradition to repair and live with a product for a long time was natural for generations before us, and I think it will be and already is more interesting for us now as well. We are fed up on the wear and tear and require more for product design, materials and sustainability.
Rosenthaler Str. 13
Written in co-operation with Granit.