Nyström Persia

Swedish design team Christian Persia and Daniel Nyström have just started a new company called Ready-Made together with Ahlgrens Marmor, and are currently displaying their products in a personal pop-up store at Mood in Stockholm. We met with Christian Persia, one half of design duo Nyström Persia, to find out how it all started and to learn more about their new project.

What is Nyström Persia?
– Nyström Persia is a design and architect bureau, so we mainly work with companies that need help with everything from their graphical form to their physical expression. Our work is, for example, designing offices, receptions and booths for exhibiting at fairs. We also design store interiors, restaurants interiors and private homes.

What characterizes Nyström Persia’s design?
– We like simple and straight shapes, quite minimalist, but at the same time we cannot really stick to the minimalism. We love to use contrast in materials and structures and we prefer to work with materials that feel real, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best material for its purpose. Carrara marble, for example, is not the most convenient material to use as a table top because it is difficult to clean if it is stained and it will get dirty, but it doesn’t matter. It should be a little worn and get a little patina as long as you have that tactile feel in the object. Somehow it becomes a genuine dirtiness and it wears with dignity. The furniture that we make can be more of an art object sometimes.

I remember thinking that the person who will make this piece has to be completely insane

How did you and Daniel Nyström meet?
– Back in 2006, we hired the same carpentry firm to make the interiors. I got a request through the firm asking if I wanted to design a piece of furniture together with Daniel. They needed help with making a digital drawing. At the time I didn’t know who Daniel was and Daniel didn’t know who I was, but I thought it sounded like fun.

– I remember that I got a sketch that looked somewhat like a banana, and above it was written: Section and: 3.60 in diameter. I obviously had to call Daniel to ask him to explain it, but my contact from the carpenter firm said he could explain it to me, so I never had to talk with Daniel. We ended up designing that piece of furniture without ever meeting each other, actually without ever even speaking to each other.

– As I made the drawing of that gigantic piece of furniture I remember thinking that the person who will make this piece has to be completely insane, he laughs.

– When I was done with the drawing I went to Buenos Aires for about five weeks on vacation. On my way back home I had to take a connecting flight from Frankfurt, there I got a text from Daniel saying that I should come to Gothenburg where he had booked a hotel room for me. So I rebooked my flight and when I got to Gothenburg, he was done with the entire 600 kg, 3.5 m in diameter seating piece, and it was already on display at an art gallery. I think we decided then and there, the very first time we met, that we wanted to work together. That seating piece is called Doughnut and we still show it on our website.

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When you work together, who does what?
– The creative part of our work we always do together. We keep a close dialogue during the creative process. Usually one of us presents an idea and then the other one makes a suggestion to change that idea a little bit and then we make small changes back and forth. In that process we come up with the final result. That is usually when we both feel, ‘yes! This is the way it’s supposed to be!’. From that final result we later come up with different models, sizes and different uses.

– We have divided the parts of our work that are a little more boring.  I usually make the drawings of the final results that we have come up with, and Daniel is very good at making a million calls to producers, manufacturers and retailers.

Where do you get your inspiration from? Considering how closely you work during the creative process, do take a lot of your inspiration from each other?
– When we met I remember thinking that, when it comes to design Daniel is thinking the same way as I do. We boost each other and we inspire each other. When we are in our design-mode, it all goes very fast and we always understand each other, he says. There are never any questions about what the other person is thinking, so we probably have a very similar image in our head about what we want to create.

– A lot of my inspiration comes from what we can call demand. If we are designing an office and we need a table for example, the need for that table is what makes me inspired, he laughs.

– The ideas for almost all of our products have been born through different interior design projects. If, for example, we design a pattern that has a certain shape, we can also design a piece of furniture that is linked to the shape in that pattern. The inspiration is usually born in the assignments that we get. We tend to do quite a lot more than we are asked to do when someone hires us.

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What made you start with design in the first place?
– It started when I moved away from home when I was about 18 years old. When I first moved I had to have such stupid furniture. I remember how I walked around in the high-end, expensive furniture stores and thought: Well hell, I can do that… and better! It was then my interest was born. After that I contacted an interior carpenter in town and asked if I could be their apprentice because I wanted to learn as much as possible. I stayed there for a year and then I started working for a interior carpenter called Per. With him I started to do a lot of my own drawings and I made my first own interior job for NK Form in Gothenburg when I was about 22 years old.

– We had a job making the interior for a restaurant and that restaurant had a big basement. Per, being a man with many strings to his bow, asked the restaurant owner what he was doing with the space and we got the answer that he didn’t use it. So we decided to open up our own cocktail bar in that basement. We obviously drew the interior for our own bar; it looked something like a backdrop from a Stanley Kubrick movie or something, totally crazy. We made sure we had the best bartenders in town and after two months we where nominated for best bar in Gothenburg by Nöjesguiden.

The inspiration is usually born
in the assignments that we get

Tell us a little about your new project, Ready-Made.
– Ready-Made is a new company owned by me, Daniel, Ahlgrens Marmor and Fredrik Lindström. It is a collaboration between Ntyström Persia and Ahlgrens Marmor.

– Ahlgrens is one of Scandinavia’s best companies when it comes to processing stone, and it is a company that we have worked with a lot before. We have made amazing interiors in marble with them, and somewhere along the line Daniel and I thought that it would be fun to work together. Then about a year ago, Ahlgrens beat us to the punch and asked if we wanted to design some furniture in stone with them, so we started the company Ready-Made together. Collision No. 1, Ready-Made’s first collection, is a series of tables and lamps. The furniture is made in several different materials such as lamps made of metal, leather and felt, and tables with table tops in Carrera marble. Later on we are going to bring other designers into our coming collections.

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– To begin with, we wanted to keep simple, clean lines, make it Scandinavian and in light colours, but we felt that our furniture needed to be shaken up. Therefore we made about half of the collection in rough, temperamental materials, more daring shapes and in dark colours. We now have both versions in the collection.

How come it’s called Ready-Made?
– It is an art term for when you take an everyday object and turn it into art. The lamp made with copper pipes is an example of that. Since all of our products are made out of inspiration from interior projects in one way or another, it means that we have worked from that. Some of the furniture is inspired directly from items around us as well, such as the lamps Drums and Sack. You’ll see that we are going to link more of our products to that statement later on.

Until March 31 you can find the Ready-Made pop-up store at Stockholm galleria Mood. Read more about the project here

Photography by Mathilda Österlund.