people at home
season 02
pet-owner nicole, 34, grew up with a bird, a turtle, cats, frogs & hedgehogs, but now lives with a man, gustaf, 38, and dog, raf.

What is home to you guys?
Gustaf Nicole!
Nicole Gustaf! The fact that we moved in here together, sold all our stuff and got all this stuff together.
Gustaf Nicole is the boss, aesthetically.
Nicole I do have great taste! It looks like a very sterile home, but it’s not!
people must assume that you would be precious about your things, but Surprisingly you aren’t. Why do you think that is?
Nicole It’s a combination of my upbringing and my childhood, I lived in a sort of hippie home with my single mother, a turtle, a rescued bird, our cats, a few frogs, and some hedgehogs we saved from our backyard. It was an unconventional upbringing which I’m extraordinary grateful for. My mom would let me do anything I wanted to in my room. She worked part-time in a hardware-slash-paint store and she’d let me re-paint the walls whenever I wanted—it was truly my free-space. She’d also re-paint an re-decorate our entire house with found items in the streets or antiques she would get for a good price. So I think her relationship to objects and the way she thought me about them was that everything is temporary. That’s something I still have as a mindset. Even if something is in my possession currently, it doesn’t mean it’s mine—I just get to treasure it and love it for a while.
What was your favourite colour back then?
Nicole I had very strange periods that were kind of obsessive. I would only wear orange from head to toe from the age of seven till I was eleven. I even had the dentist make me special orange braces. I had orange hair and my mom got me orange lipstick. After that I had my blue period, not as intense, but it was still very blue.

“i had the dentist make me special orange braces.”
Can we talk more about your mum? what was she like?
Nicole She passed away the day after I turned 19. She was a beautiful crazy creature, in all the best ways. When I was around 12 years old she became a foster parent. She started taking in kids that would live with us for different amounts of periods. So I had about five or six different siblings during my upbringing.

“i had about five or six different siblings.”

What was it like to share your mother in that way?
Nicole At that age I didn’t understand it, but I knew they needed her more than I did. After years of therapy I realised that I had been deeply disappointed that she didn’t focus more on me. At the same time, I’m super happy about it because it made me a super independent person. Someone who has an understanding of other people’s needs and how they might be bigger or harder than all of mine combined. It also made me grow up very fast, which has its pros and cons.
What were you like as a kid, apart from the orange obsession?
Nicole Apparently I was very geeky, or that’s what I have been told from people who knew me when I was very little. I’ve been told that someone was surprised I was a successful stylist now, since I was a nerdy little girl back then. But I think I was just a very curious, shy and sensitive little individual.

isn’t that quite Swedish, the tendency to question someone’s success?
Nicole Totally! I was also very much into clothes very early, but we didn’t have any money, so we would always go to thrift stores. My mom would always sew things for me. She would also make stuff for girls in my class. She once made me some Dalmatian print pants, which she also had to make for a bunch of girls in my class, so in my third grade school photo, everyone is wearing them.
How did you start styling, was it an intuitive thing?
Nicole I’m self-taught. My friend and I started a fashion label in high school that was called This Old Thing. We even had a fashion show at my favourite club back then—Jazzhuset—when we weren’t even old enough to get in. When I started styling, I didn’t even know what it was. I was doing windows at Weekday and someone came up to me and said I should be a stylist.
Gustaf, you also work creatively, what is it that you do?
Gustaf I drive the car, carry the things. No, but I make music. Our worlds really don’t merge that much, apart from when Nicole shot a video for me.

“when i started styling, i didn’t even know what it was.”
it must be nice to live together as two creatives, you understand eachother.
Gustaf I mean I have a deep respect for what she does and try to support it.
Nicole Which you do, you are my biggest supporter in life! I couldn’t do it without you!
How did you guys meet?
Gustaf I was hungover on our first date.
Nicole And I was being annoying. The first date was uneventful, but something really cute happened. Raf came along and he is usually very shy but when we were sitting on a bench talking, he jumped on Gustaf’s lap.
He was like, “Daddy!”
Nicole He was saying, “that’s the one!”
Gustaf I booked a flight to Berlin the same night or the morning after. We both have a tendency to jump into relationships. So when she moved back to Stockholm I moved in with her. We’ve spent almost 24 hours a day together ever since.

you spend a lot of time in nature together.
Gustaf We sometimes go to Nacka, where we go mushroom picking. But our favourite place is this spot south of Stockholm called Karshamra where they serve pizza.
Nicole It’s nice to be in nature with Raf. To let him run free.
Gustaf His eyes light up and you can tell he just wants to run off.
How did Raf enter your life?
Nicole He was my 30th birthday present to myself. I wanted a dog for so long. I was on the website Hundar Utan Hem. I wanted this white Saluki dog but it could only live in the countryside. They came back with another option, which was Raf. He had been living on the streets of Ireland for some time. That’s the only thing they knew about him.
he is so kind and sociable, but very independent, no?
Gustaf It feels like he has been living with fairly friendly people, otherwise he would be more troubled.
Nicole Yes, he has very little trauma.

“the first thing people ask you is what you do, where you live and whether you own that place.”

Having lived in both Sweden and Berlin, where do you feel most at home?
Nicole I miss Berlin so much, I have a lot of friends there that I miss a lot. The openness is the best part of it. But both cities have their pros and cons.
How does Stockholm affect you?
Nicole It affects me a lot, which scares me sometimes. There’s something about Stockholm that makes me a way more strict and organised person.
Gustaf There is a mental tension here.
Nicole It’s hard to get people going. When I have openings at my studio I’m always surprised when people don’t show up, but then I know myself that when Friday comes I’m down to stay in with my wine, while in Berlin that wouldn’t happen. Here I’m a workaholic, more capitalistic. The first thing people ask you is what you do, where you live and whether you own that place.

Now tell us about AMAZE!
Nicole It started out as a collaboration between me and Cornelia Blom, then my other friends Sara Forsberg and Anders Haal, but now it’s only me. When I still had my apartment in Hornstull I started having a gallery there. My landlord came by asking if I actually lived there and I just told her that I lived like that, surrounded by art, which she seemed convinced by. She was even, like, “It would be so nice to live like this!”.
But you do actually live with a lot of art.
Nicole My favourite art!
Gustaf Your friends’ art!
Nicole One of my favourite pieces is this one by my friend Julian, it’s made from this ancient wood pillar from an old German house, a bearing beam. It looks like a dude with a hat, with beautiful Swarovski crystals embedded in it. My current party trick is to bring out the UV light on the piece by Fabian Bergmark Näsman and make it glow in the dark. And I have a sculpture from Anton Alvarez, a wall piece, he’s only done a few, so I’m very lucky to own one!

“the process of working with glass is so violent, so difficult and hot and mega hard.”

you Recently started working with glass.
Nicole I was working with ceramics in Berlin and went to this old Swedish lady’s class. At some point I realised that I wanted to take it more seriously so I started studying at Konstfack and the first class we had was glass. I always thought it would be too difficult for me to do but then I became completely obsessed with it and exclusively worked with glass for the whole three years.
What made you obsessed?
Nicole Just the process. The process of making it is so violent, so difficult and hot and mega hard. I love pushing myself to the limit.
Gustaf And you don’t fully get it until you see it finished.
Nicole I would come home with stuff and he would be unenthused.
Gustaf It’s so intense, you have to do everything quickly—as soon as it cools down—and it’s so heavy.
Nicole But I love it! It became an obsession to make everything bigger and bigger. Usually there’s two of you in the workshop, but because of Covid, I was doing everything myself, my own way, not following the ‘correct’ process. My pieces have bubbles and folds in them, even holes which, according to my tutor, could make them crack.
There’s something about making a discipline your own, which is what you seem do with everything you do. Is it a conscious choice or just you doing you?
Nicole I have a very hard time doing things the ‘right way’ in every aspect of life. Like, our friend’s kids are so aware that our home is not functional, calling out the dirt, or the fact that our furniture is uncomfortable.
Gustaf Like, “where’s the sofa?”
Nicole I love that I have a partner that finally accepts my not so functional way of living, it’s an aesthetic choice, of course, like, all of our wine glasses are super annoying to drink out of, but they are so beautiful! The way I do my work is dysfunctional and annoying and can take longer than it needs to.

“it’s a bit of a circus.”

Who are your characters and how do you develop them? You seem to have created a very personal approach.
Nicole I found a narrative that I like and come back to. It’s a made up world that you create: one day you’re a clown, the other day you’re a strange person in the forest that hasn’t seen another person for twenty years—
Gustaf A hermit!
Nicole Or a person living on the moon. I have certain tools I use a lot when I approach things. Structures, shapes and volume, if I like big pants with a small top etc.
These are the practical sides to styling that people don’t talk about enough, the essentials.
Nicole I’ve had a lot of assistants throughout the years and most stylists rely on them for prepping work, but since I use so much second hand clothing, it’s almost impossible not to just do it myself. You can present huge mood boards to clients, but there’s always an element of improvisation on set.

it’s a mood rather than a direct reference.
Nicole Clients want to see what you do before you do it. When they ask me, I always tell them that I don’t know yet. Styling is mega unpredictable and in the moment. When I do sculptures I have a vision in my mind, because I can’t draw, and then I can just make it.
everyone thinks they’re a stylist now.
Nicole And maybe they all are? I was just in Paris doing an art performance at the Centre Pompidou, and it was the same time as Paris Fashion Week. It’s been a couple of years since I attended Fashion Week properly, but I went to the shows one day. Years ago I would get so dressed up and run around like crazy to see all the shows. But now it’s mostly influencers attending shows, and buyers, of course, but it’s really just a spectacle for social media. It really doesn’t serve much of a purpose to actually attend a show anymore cause it’s very rare that you get that magical special vibe. I remember going to Telfar shows in New York years ago—that shit still gives me goosebumps—it was magic. But fashion is fun, maybe the spectacle will just keep growing and then maybe there needs to be a huge crack or vortex, where it gets ruined in order for something new to emerge. ✷


Produced in the Kingdom of Sweden
Typeset in Condensa by Jonathon Yule and Century Schoolbook by Linn Boyd & Morris Fuller Benton
Hermit is Hélène Kugelberg, Elise Haugslett, Colin Bergh

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