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Style, innovation & equality

”After all…interior and fashion are not that far apart”

Bengt Thornefors, founder of innovative interior and textile brand Magniberg, on the convergence of old and new, and of fashion and design.

Words Konrad Olsson Photography Lucas Frisk Bergqvist

What can we expect from your exhibition at Bukowskis during Design Week?

— The exhibition includes a selection of fine art and design from Bukowskis, side by side with our exclusive textiles and cubist furniture. Carl Larsson, Bram Bogart, Axel Einar Hjorth, Sven Markelius, oriental porcelain alongside white Egyptian cotton, classic oxford stripes, washed jersey and poplin with mother of pearl buttons — as well as series of images shot by the photographers Josefine Seifert and Casper Sejersen. This collaboration and curated installations will manifest Magniberg’s universe, where old meets the new.

Why is it important to mix the new with the old?

— Our ambition is to inspire. Mixing art, design and ancient pieces from earlier periods together with Magniberg’s products creates an interesting contrast and a new context that hopefully awakens curiosity. It is also a response to what we consider to be right from a sustainability perspective. New design does not exclude the elderly. We believe that one should also consume from an emotional perspective.

What is your relationship with Bukowskis?

— My relationship with Bukowskis goes all the way back to when my mother used to bring me along with her to Bukowskis hammer auctions when I was a child. It was all very exciting, and I believe it sparked an interest in art and design at a very young age. Bukowskis is in my opinion one of the foremost platforms in Scandinavia for fine art and design. Particularly, design from 1900-1950’s. A very important period in the history of Swedish design that has an aesthetic that lies very close to our hearts. A collaboration therefore feels very natural, where we now get the opportunity to showcase our Magniberg universe in a curated exhibition with the best of two worlds.

What are your core values?

— Magniberg aim to bring a modern neo-classicist sentiment to furniture and bedwear. We asked ourselves what ”luxury” stands for today and we felt that the standards had to be revised. The market is and has been very stereotypical in our opinion. We wanted to create a brand with an essence that infused all levels of it, everything from photography, fabrics to packaging — a platform that acts as an extension of our aesthetics. We want people to discover and feel it for themselves rather than shoving it down their throats. We want people to fall as much in love with our pink lace and washed black jersey as with our pure, white Egyptian cotton sateen. It’s like matching a pair of tailored suit trousers with your favourite worn-in t-shirt. It’s about finding a balance. That contrast in itself is luxury to us, we offer a wardrobe. It’s like when you buy a shirt—you don’t just buy the shirt but rather the energy and emotions that are tied into it. That’s what we wanted to do; bring emotions into the home.

Tell us about the dynamics between you and your wife Nina in the company?

— We are both aesthetically and emotionally inspired by Carl and Karin Larsson. They were ahead of their time. Thinking of Carl and Karin, something that’s always lingering in the back of our minds is allmoge — a traditional Swedish peasantry genre of architecture that was seen up until the 20th century. It had a focal emphasis on natural wooden materials and honest craftsman-ship — I was surrounded by that aesthetic growing up and today it is a part of our inspiration. I think we complement each other very well. Nina has a background as florist and graphic designer and me coming from another angle. Our combined efforts create the whole. Our different views together with the Magniberg family make the brand.

You have a background in fashion, and we recently saw some overcoats in the Eytys store under the Magniberg brand name. What are you, a fashion brand or an interior brand, or both?

— I worked at Acne Studios for almost nine years, followed by working with Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent Paris. I wanted to find a new platform, another type of medium. After all interior and fashion are not that far apart. The tailored coats line up is a part of our Magniberg team look. Our sales and partners need to look good. We are an interior and home textile brand!

Fashion Week and Design Week are now at the same time. Do you think the two worlds should get closer to each other?

— For us it is the same type of process, so we are already there.

Where is Magniberg up to next?

— Next up is Magniberg at the Cecile Bahnsen installations in NYC, Tokyo, London, and Los Angeles, in the Dover Street Market stores.