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The little shop on Norrtullsgatan 3 in Stockholm is a haven for creativity and design. If you’re lucky you’ll catch both Bengt and Lotta in there at the same time; the couple that met at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm and who have enriched the world with their playful designs ever since.
Bengt Lindberg and Lotta Glave were a couple already at university, studying graphic art and illustration. After graduating, Lotta got a job at one of Sweden’s main newspapers, Dagens Nyheter and Bengt at an ad agency that turned out to be a pretty boring job. Neither of them could resist the flow of creative ideas that kept coming. For Bengt, it all started with a cow, which became a cast iron candleholder. The cow was soon accompanied by a sheep, a horse and an elk, all produced in Småland, Bengt’s home county. Bengt made sure to launch them in all the right stores and as for the elk, it coincided with the enormous interest in elks from German tourists who would even steal the road signs of elks when visiting Sweden! The four classics are still in production and have spread all over the globe, from Sweden and Germany to the US and Japan. But it didn’t stop there; the animals soon also populated printed fabrics, blankets and notebooks.
No doubt the couple’s backgrounds have inspired their never-ending creativity. Bengt was born in Värnamo, in Sweden but his grandparents had a farm in Skåne, filled with objects of art, handicrafts and nick-nacks.
- I have always loved old things, says Bengt, especially the slightly naïve, clumsy folk art stuff. When things are too perfect they also get to be boring.
Lotta Glave, who stems from Malmö believes a lot of her inspiration comes from her Austrian grandmother who worked as an illustrator and bookbinder. Their home was always filled with fun, homemade creations like fantastic doll’s houses made out of lacquered paper! I love stuff that is fun, different and makes you happy, says Lotta who got drawn into the family business when Bengt asked her to draw an angel. Like Bengt’s animals, Lotta’s angel has spread from candleholders and Christmas tree decorations to necklaces and fabrics. Nowadays, Lotta designs most of the patterns; designs that are appreciated all over the world, not least in Japan and the U.K.
Today, the couples creations are represented at Nordiska Muséet in Stockholm, Kulturen in Lund and at Växjö Glass Museum. And if you visit their little store in Stockholm you will find them surrounded by hundreds of other items; trays, lamps, furniture, porcelain, serviettes – as well as thousands of ideas that haven’t materialised – yet.