Swedish architect My Degerth pauses in everyday moments and finds inspiration in fleeting, barely perceptible details. My opened the doors of her home to us, reflecting on the important relationship between environment and creativity.
I find it quite difficult to define what it is that inspires me. Or why. There has to be something poetic, something that draws me in. Something I can pick apart and put together again in a way that makes it my own. Maybe it’s the sense of time – how the light changes and how it falls within a space, on a texture or a building. Perhaps it’s the play on transparency, the finish or the sheer texture of a fabric? My work desk is, more often than not, filled with material samples, fabrics and various items that I pick at, add on and take away. It has to resonate within, and it can’t be forced.
I grew up in a home with an abundance of art, fabrics and all odd things. My granddad’s home-atelier was filled with smooth pastel chalks, textured paper, and raw canvases. My grandmother's shelf, on the other hand, was filled with brushes, gold-flakes and bright colors. I got lost in their mix of his soft hues and her vivid colors for the icons she painted. And I believe these memories, or worlds rather, that I lived in, laid the foundation for me and my work. There was something so odd about it – the contrast of a Parisian apartment placed inside a building from the late 1960s in Helsinki. Or maybe it was my mother’s atelier in Stockholm, playing more with marble blocks and fabrics. The tactility that was found in them, their rawness and honesty.
Does it move me? Often we’re online, looking for images that will spark something within us. Endless scrolling often leads to overlooking those small, yet intricate details. I often find myself looking up more often than not, trying to notice everything we miss in our everyday life. We all rush past people, places, buildings so fast we don’t really notice what surrounds us. It might be a bit mundane to say, but when looking for inspiration, it very seldom comes. It can’t be forced. But when you stumble upon something, an image, a doorway, a pattern – it’s almost instinctive how you can apply it to a project, or a piece of furniture or even better – find a piece of art which is the main source and inspiration for the project as a whole.
We’ve all heard the phrase “a picture tells a thousand words”, but try placing yourself there. What would you feel? There’s this one image I saw years ago, and it’s shot from an angle so you can only see the ceiling, a fraction of a window with curtains, two walls and a pillar. Most would pass it off as an unremarkable image, I guess, but I clung to it. I went back to it time and time again and the way it was captured, and I knew how I would feel standing there. How the colors, light and calmness would fill the space without forcing anything upon me. As if you could almost touch the air inside the space.
It’s a rather beautiful thing, how one's perception changes when thinking about colors, materials and architecture, and how interwoven they are with our memories. What does it make you feel? And why? And maybe that’s just it, where the true inspirational source for me lies. In the moment, and how I perceive it in just that time.
My Degerth is an interior architect based in Stockholm and working across several countries. Her focus lies in finding new ways of collaborating — an invitation to furniture-makers, artists and other designers.