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Spotlight | Cooee Design x Kristiina Haataja

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Today I'm pleased to finally share with you the much anticipated collaboration between talented sculptor, Kristiina Haataja and Swedish contemporary home accessories brand, Cooee Design. I've been an avid follower of both artist and brand for some time and each have a unique aesthetic which I'm drawn to - Kristiina with her distinctive, cubist style and Cooee Design, if you aren't familiar with, take an understated approach to their home accessories line. The matte finish to their vases is a timeless-look and I think, surpass mass market interior fads. I was kindly gifted these wonderful pieces to create a set of images to illustrate this post and I hope you enjoy them!

Olufemi sculpture in limestone along with white Cooee Design home accessories to compliment.

When I first discovered Kristiina's figurative sculptures I was immediately drawn in. The one of a kind pieces are like nothing I've seen before. With reference to the Cubist art movement and taking inspiration from artists such as Picasso, Kristiina has developed a unique style, a style which she's coined 'Ancient Cubism.' To some, it might seem a risky move for a true artist to mass produce their art however in my opinion this collaboration is a wonderful unity - the replica sculptures are truly sympathetic to Kristiina's originals.

The replica sculptures capture the fine details of Kristiina's original sculptures.

I caught up with Catrine Åberg, founder and Creative Director of Cooee Design to find out about the brand's beginnings and this wonderful collaborations with Kristiina...

Hi Catrine, thank you for taking the time to chat with me. Can you give us an overview of your brand and what you do?

I'm the founder and Creative Director of our family business that is based in the south of Sweden. Today, Cooee is one of the leading design brands in Sweden with focus on accessories for the home.

How did your brand, Cooee Design start?

I grew up with a great interest in art and design. My grandmother was an artist/painter, my grandfather an art dealer and my grandfather's brother was a furniture designer in the 50s who worked with architect and designer, Arne Jacobsen in Denmark. His wooden paper bins were included in all of the rooms of the iconic SAS Radisson Hotel, Copenhagen and today you can still find his paper bin in room 606 which has been preserved to look like the decor at the time.

After a few years of work and studying abroad the idea of starting our own brand came up. Cooee Design was founded in 2008 together with my brother, Henrik Åberg who leads the company. “Cooee” means “hi" or "hello” and is a word used to attract attention, especially from a distance. It's a signal originally used by Australian Aborigines.

We wanted to create minimalistic and timeless design objects. Some of the first products we designed we were actually lacking in the market, for example, we created our star advent lamp (which is very popular in Scandinavia during the darker months) with a minimalistic look. It was unlike the traditional wooden designs at the time . The lamp was made in a frosty plastic material and it's been one of our best-selling items ever since.

For the table. Cooee produce ceramic dinnerware pieces. Pictured: white bowl in 15cm, white plate in 29cm and popular ball vase.

Can you talk us through your design process?

Many of our products are developed because they are pieces we feel are missing in our own homes. Sometimes it’s a material that provides inspiration, for example, I came across a material we used for countertops called corian composite material - I wanted to do something with the leftovers so my idea was to make jewellery by hand and this is a how Cooee started. The jewellery we created got a lot of attention both from buyers from department stores and design museum shops. It was very unique to make jewellery in Corian at that time and the pieces were featured in ELLE, Vogue and LÓfficial etc...

We often look at what we could add to the existing collection and aim to keep the collection well put together so the colours, shapes and sizes can be easily mixed and matched by the consumer.

Your pieces are so wonderfully simple and timeless. How would you describe your aesthetic?

I'd say that our designs breathe Scandinavian elegance with it's minimalistic look.

Pictured: Pastille vase in white.

I was so excited when I first caught wind about your collaboration with sculptor Kristiina Haataja. How did this come about? We would love to hear all about it!

Oh thank you! One of my strengths at work is that I've always have had a gut feeling about trends. For a while I wanted to include objects like sculptures in our collection, so a year ago I contacted Kristiina Haataja as I had followed her work for quite some time. I felt that it could be a way of creating something unique together with an artist. When we had our first meeting it really clicked between us and the ideas started to flow.

Kristiina worked with the shapes, sizes so they would match Cooee vases etc and we developed the colours so that they would suit the existing collections colours. Six months later we presented our first objects at the design fairs in Scandinavia. The collaboration became so popular which received great critics - People have loved our collaboration.

Catrine Åberg and Kristiina Haataja photographed by Osman Tahir.

Do you have any other artist collaborations in the works?

Yes we do, indeed! Very secret and very exciting! It's such a early stage right now so I can't tell you anything yet. It will hopefully be released sometime next year. This season though, we launched two new collaborations with two well-known designers.

Where do you envision your brand in five years time?

Up to today, we have focused on the Swedish, Norwegian market and a selection of international stores worldwide. Cooee have approximately 300 retailers in total. We are growing a lot in Germany and also in the U.K. Our goal is to continue to work on these and new markets.

If you could collaborate with another brand or creative, who would it be and why?

I have some in mind but I think it's better to keep it to myself at this stage so I don’t jeopardize it! But, what I can share is that we contacted a very well known design company a year ago and we have since then been in process of developing some products together. It is a company we have wanted to collaborate with but that's all I can say for now.

Side detail shot, Olufemi sculpture in limestone.

And finally, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to turn their passion into a successful business?

My advice would be to have patience. When I started my company many years ago, I heard from many people that it took them 5 years to create a brand and it's very true. You have to believe in your product and I guess you also need to be stubborn!

Great advice. Thank you Catrine!

You can browse Cooee Design new arrivals here and keep up to date with the latest on Instagram here and here. Styling and photography by Melissa Selmin. Photograph five by Osman Tahir.


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