Talking Good Design, Career and Vodka with Designer Lars Bolander

With work spanning the globe in forms as diverse as a mountaintop Swedish cottage to an entire village in the Mediterranean, designer Lars Bolander is nothing if not versatile. He has been described as a pioneer of Swedish design and with work featured in publications such as “World of Interiors” and “Architectural Digest,” it’s clear his influence reaches far beyond Scandinavia.

Currently living in Palm Beach, Florida with his wife, artist Nadine Kalachnikoff, where one of his two showrooms can be found (the other in the prestigious New York City Fine Arts Building), we caught up with the prolific designer to discuss his career, influences and pick up some design tips we could integrate into our own homes.

A Budding Career

Lars received his education from the Stockholm School of Art studying under Carl Malmsten (often described as the originator of Scandinavian design), someone who became a mentor to the young designer. “He taught me to stop and look – to appreciate nature, just look around it is everywhere. Nature and traveling around the world inspires me.”

Before opening his own firm, Lars worked alongside several other designers, first with Gaby Schreiber known as “The Plastic Queen of England creating the first line of plastic aircraft flatware for British Overseas Airways Corporation and later with German industrialist Gunter Sachs. Both of these diverse experiences made an impression on the designer, “Gaby Schreiber gave me a more international influence. Gunter Sachs was a philanthropist with a phenomenal feeling for design. I worked on all his houses around Europe and the U.S.”

Tips from the Designer

Lars has been known to point to lighting as being one of the most important elements in design. But what is the best way to achieving good lighting in the home? “At all costs avoid center ceiling fixtures and of course never in a bedroom, use table lamps for warm lighting. Add ceiling spots preferably recessed to illuminate art on walls. In contrast, place a spot in any corner of a room to give light from the floor. “

Another element of design that has a strong influence on a space is color. Lars gave us some places to start thinking about how to integrate calming colors into the home. “To choose a color depends on where you are; the mountains, by water, the desert etc., however, my favorite color is dove grey which makes everything looks great and is atmospheric. You create an atmosphere in a room with paintings, flowers, and books.”


While his work is often linked to the Swedish design world, there are some elements that do not speak to the designer (teak furniture from the 60’s) while others such as the Gustavian style do inspire. Though when asked about who/what has the greatest influence on his work today, he responds: “Nadine, David Hicks, Alberto Pinto and Vodka.”

Thank you, Lars!

For more about the designer, visit http://www.larsbolander.com/

All images courtesy of Lars Bolander

Text by Liana Hayles Newton

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