Eva Lilja Löwenhielm is a multi faceted designer. Growing up she was influenced by her grandfather who was an established name in the world of Shop Window Displays and later building Stage and Film Sets. Studying Set Design and Advertising in High School Eva then went on to work for NK, the city’s largest and most exclusive Department Store doing their in-house catalogue, followed by the Advertising Agency Hall & Cederquist. After seven years in that field, Eva felt a desire to explore and express herself in another way, and started to study at Beckman’s College of Design in Stockholm. It was an absolute pleasure meeting Eva, an incredibly warm and friendly person who is interested in people and I can see why she works so well in collaborations with other designers. Today Eva has designed for Asplund, Ikea, Filippa-K, AGA, Alcro, Room, PEAB, Hotel Birger Jarl and several private residences , doing everything from designing furniture and accessories to concept stores and Interior Design.
What did you study at Beckmans School of Design?
At Beckmans School of Design I studied Product and Interior Design.The study programme focuses on three-dimensional design of products, objects and spaces.
What did you do after graduation?
I had grants from Ikea and the Interior Magazine Sköna Hem. My six month grant with Ikea had me learning every step of the process from the conception of the design to the ready product. I loved that experience as I got to work with a lot of people from all the different departments in Ikea. I designed some bathroom accessories and furniture. I also designed a lamp and graphic designed Placemats for Room.
You have collaborated on several designs with Anya Sebton for Asplund, how did this collaboration come about?
I have worked with Anya Sebton in various projects ever since we met at Beckmans and in cooperation with Asplund. We were driven by the same passion for framing of beloved objects. That resulted in the realisation of the Frame Table and later the Frame Cabinet. The Frame series now has cabinets with solid fronts and drawers and you are able to combine them in different ways to suit your needs.
With a multi disciplinary Design Studio, how do you balance the projects for residential and commercial interiors, visual store concepts and designing new pieces?
One reason that it has become so diverse with my projects is probably due to my previous employment along with the fact that I like three-dimensional design of products, objects and spaces and that I meet all these fantastic people while doing so. I am working with a lot of collaborations so it makes it easier to manage all the different projects, right now furniture has precedence.
What inspiration do you work from when designing a new piece?
It is very diverse, but basically my assignments usually is about solving a problem for a client and trying to make it as appealing or as smart as possible.
You have designed for the very high end design company Asplund, and for the low cost furniture company, Ikea. What are the differences and the challenges you face when working for these two very different clients?
The big difference is the volume, and but also sometimes different approaches in means of production. With Asplund production takes place mostly in Sweden and has a close contact to the factory, we can make products that require more skilled crafts. In Ikea’s case, it’s usually the opposite, here it is also more challenging to make products that do less damage to the environment in relation to the volume they produce and make smart solutions for many different housing situations.
Could you tell me a little about what your book HomeMade is about?
Our idea for HomeMade was to create a book that is based on the same basic idea as in a cookbook, easily explained and for those who wanted to start creating their own things for the home. In the book you will learn everything from scratch. What tools do you need? What are their names and how do you use them and the differences between drills! What materials should be used, what are their characteristics and what do they cost? We also wanted to inspire. Many of the projects you’ll find in the book, can be customized to suit the individual’s needs. We wanted to create the gadgets they needed or wanted.
How would you describe Swedish Design today, do you notice any changes from a decade ago?
In addition to various trends that come and go, I see more collective design groups today than 15 years ago and I think this is liberating. It is also easier today to start one’s own brand than it was when I graduated. The Internet has also helped to change the game plan for us designers, such as it´s easier today to reach out with small collections and get a reach either locally or as global as you want.
Do you feel that Swedish Designers are well represented in the International arena, like the Furniture Fairs and design Festivals abroad?
It depends which fairs or exhibitions we are looking at. But if we’re talking about Milan Furniture Fair, 100% Design in London, Tokyo and some fairs in Germany I would say yes. But we can always wish to be more visible outside Europe.
The subject of sustainability is an important one for many Swedish designers, how does this come into play with designs today?
I think that is a very important topic and a lot of designers are working with it in one or another way. You can make furniture sustainable in many ways some are; 1. Long lasting design 2. Reusable material 3. Through the production process 4. Production done locally or smart ways of transportation.
What are you working on now, can we have a little peek into your next project?
Right now I’m working on two different projects for Ikea, including a new modular sofa along with designers Lisa Hilland and Andreas Fredriksson and some new items for a new brand called Svallings Stockholm with Anya Sebton. I’m also working on the Interior for a 3D Animation company called MadCrew and finally a special designed bookcase for a private customer.