A former garage in Stockholm’s Södermalm district functions as the studio of Matti Klenell, known for his distinctive glass art and designs for companies like Iittala, Moooi and Källemo. It’s a space that allows for creative experiments and acts as a base for the designer in between his many travels. We sat down with Klenell to talk about creativity, inspiration and his most ambitious project to date—the new restaurant at Sweden’s renovated national gallery. The message reads almost like a little poem:
Heleneborgsgatan 38 is the address
A gate on the yard between 34 and 40
The one closest to Söder Mälarstrand
One floor down, green door
Knock on it
It’s not often that the literary quality of an email makes you smile. But in the case of Matti Klenell, it’s not really so surprising. Growing up in the little town of Edsbjörke in West Sweden, he dreamed of becoming a journalist. “I loved to write, speak and tell stories,” he says. It’s easy to believe: Klenell is laid-back and talkative, sharing anecdotes and describing his thoughts effortlessly. But fate had something else in store for him. Today, he’s working with glass, wood and aluminium as his tools, instead of words, but he’s telling stories nevertheless. When Klenell sketches, say, a glass, he doesn’t draw the object alone. He draws an entire table where a dinner party is about to start, or perhaps a person holding that glass, sitting in a restaurant. That way the objects get a context and an atmosphere that often find their way into the finished design in some way.