Recently, Scandinavia has been creeping into every corner of British life, with high-street fashion brands and coffee stores cropping up on every other street. Nordic interior design has attracted a particular attention, with Brits praising its neat and functional styles, quiet colour scheme and adoption of natural materials in manufacturing processes. Initially available only from high-end boutiques, with an appropriate price tag attached to them, the Scandi furniture and homeware accessories are finally going mainstream. Att Pynta, launched by a Swede and a Brit who share love for the Nordic aesthetics, is one of the brands pushing for this change to happen. We had a chat with Kai and Amanda – its founders – about their Scandinavian backgrounds and experience in the fashion industry, and how those two inspired Att Pynta’s charming range of marbled kitchenware, steel lamps and scented candles.
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you come from.
Kai: I am half-Swedish, half-British and have lived in England since I was eight (my mother is from Gothenburg and my father is from Bristol). Having grown up in Sweden, I have many fond memories of my early childhood. One of my fondest is blueberry picking with grandfather and grandmother, Morfar and Mormor, in the forest by their home. I love going back and do it as often as I can, to catch up with my family and see the latest Scandi interior trends. After school, I studied Media Practice at a university in Bristol. Following that I moved to London and started working for AllSaints where I met Amanda.
Amanda: I was born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden, and in 2006 – when I was 18 – I moved to London to further my classical ballet education. Unfortunately, this was cut short after I suffered several injuries. I’d always been passionate about clothing, so decided to leave my dance career behind and pursue a job in the fashion industry. Kai and I met while working in PR for AllSaints. We’ve both always had a keen interest in interior design – something we bonded over straight away! In Sweden there is a big focus on home and interior design, so it has always been a natural part of my life. As my family still lives over there I go back every few months – this helps me to stay updated with the latest trends.
What’s the story behind Att Pynta?
A: We found that the fashion and interior worlds were closely linked. Work in the fashion industry only fuelled our interest in interior design.
K: Both of us also always loved the idea of running our own business, so we decided to just go for it. In 2014 we left our jobs to work on the business full-time and never looked back! Att Pynta is a brand that allows to enjoy Scandinavian style and interiors without breaking the bank. We wanted our site to offer contemporary affordable homewares, as well as showcase inspirational ideas which people could apply to their own homes.
What were the challenges & perks of starting your own design business in London?
A & K: The biggest perk is having the freedom to work for yourself and see your ideas come to life. We get to be creative everyday, designing new products, photographing homeware or being inspired by the latest interior trends. Seeing our products in others’ homes is a great feeling and so is getting lovely comments from our customers. As we are fairly young, the biggest challenge has been trailing the best methods for running the business, everything from posting orders to shooting stock and staying on top of the book keeping.
A: For me, creating our candles has been fantastic. It was so interesting to experiment with different scents, finding the right wax and oils to create the perfect final product. I spent a lot of time learning how to make a candle that will burn evenly and have a strong scent throw. I also designed the branding and hand-poured every single candle. It’s so exciting to see them in people’s homes! My Att Pynta candle is lit every evening.
The aesthetics of your brand is beautiful. What inspired it and how did you go around creating it?
K: We’ve always had a keen interest in interior design and it only grew from moving a lot in London. I love upcycling furniture and have enjoyed purchasing smaller homeware accessories to decorate every new home. London has a large amount of young professionals who are either renting or are first time buyers, and we wanted to establish a destination for those who want to make their new or rented house to feel like home. Our ethos is to bring the latest Scandinavian trends,new designers and handcrafted products, to the UK at an affordable price.
A: I’ve been reading a lot of Swedish fashion blogs and started to notice that homeware posts would creep into the bloggers daily feed – that’s how I stayed updated with the latest Scandi trends. It made me aware of the gap in the UK market too. I became determined to make these Scandinavian interior accessories available and affordable over here.
Why do you think Scandinavian design is so popular at the moment? What makes it special?
A: There is a timeless element to the Scandinavian aesthetics as it is often clean and never fussy. It’s a look that is easy to renovate by adding or taking away the pieces, yet still keeping the Scandi aesthetics. Scandinavian design also focuses around functionality rather than looks alone which, I think, resonates with people.
K: There is an understated elegance teamed with functionally that makes the Scandi look gender-neutral and contemporary.
What are your favourite brands?
A: Since starting the business, we have met a lot of great independent businesses. From RoCo, who sell gorgeous plants and terrariums, to Reo Jewels – they create stunning silver and gold jewellery cast from the British wildlife. There’re also some great Swedish brands which I allways check out for inspiration when I’m back at home.
K: Working at Broadway Market is inspiring as we speak to so many people who have taken risks to follow their dream. We still appreciate big brands like Acne, Aesop and Diptyque for creating beautiful products and packaging – we love a bit of ”cool” branding!
Any exciting plans for the near future?
K: In the future we would love to open a shop or a showroom to bring the Att Pynta brand to life in a physical space. At the moment we are focused on home accessories, but it would be great to start sourcing one-off furniture pieces, everything from mid-century Danish side tables to interesting lighting.
A: We also plan to expand the range by designing and producing our own Att Pynta collection. I’m also developing new scents for the candles that will launch at different dates throughout the year – we launched our limited edition Spring scent Nightblooming Jasmine several weeks ago. Another goal is to expand the textile range to bedding and curtains as they can really transform a room. Big plans are on the horizon.
Where can we find Att Pynta’s products?
K: The only place to find the full collection is via our online store, but we also trade every Saturday at Broadway Market where we sell a selection of vases, frames, candlestick holders and scented candles. You can also get our scented candles at Kate Sheridan on Lower Clapton Rd in Hackney, as well as a range of styles at Baruch on Roman Rd in Bethnal Green.
Interview by Julia Tsilman