‘The Colourist’

Tekla Evelina Severin. Photographer, designer and colourist based in Stockholm, Sweden. Currently working on a secret project about a new way of bringing colour into the home. Instagram: @teklan

Have you seen Swedish photographer, designer and colourist Tekla Evelina Severin? You probably have, as she’s kind of hard to miss. Posing in her bright, boxy clothes and iconic straight-cut bob, Tekla is typically found in front of a vibrant wall of tiles or photographing unusual architecture. A rare sight in the otherwise uniform world of interiors.

Today, you could walk into almost any furniture fair or flip through a leading interior magazine and it would all feel familiar. Monochrome hues of black and white supported by fifty shades of beige are the overall impression. And then there’s Tekla. A fresh pop of unusual colours, recognisable by geometric shapes and odd patterns. She seems to find vibrant palettes wherever she goes, whether it’s in one of Stockholm’s subway stations, the exterior of a building in Spain or inside an artistic designer home.

When asked to describe herself, Tekla sounds like she’s full of contrasts – much like her own Instagram feed:

“I know I can come off as a very serious person, but in reality I’m always looking for more playfulness in my life. Born a Libra, I’m diplomatic and terrible at making decisions. At the same time, I know what I like. I’m very aesthetically aware and always on the hunt for the perfect next capture.”

Why do you identify with such vibrant colours?

“I think it has to do with where I’m located and the industry I come from. If I was based in sunny LA or in Spain, I probably wouldn’t be so obsessed with vibrant colours and bright light. But since I live in a Nordic country where the landscapes turn dark and grey for half the year, they’re not present in my everyday surroundings. Besides, my background as an interior architect has made me bored of the humourless Scandinavian taste with its greys and whites.”

We can sense the rebel in her. “More colour to the people” is what she’s preaching.

“As a matter of fact, the ‘colour’ white is so far away from our natural heritage of living in lush and colourful nature that it feels unnatural to us. It makes us uncomfortable and stressed. So to me, colour is everything and I’m intrigued and inspired by how it can affect our behaviour.”

“Painting your walls a new colour every season isn’t my idea of sustainable”

How can we use this knowledge to our advantage in our everyday lives, or more specifically – in our homes?

“It’s only natural that green used to be the predominant colour in our ancient ancestors’ homes. Thousands of years later, green still takes hold of us and makes us feel relaxed, harmonious and social. Because of this, green is a great colour to bring into your home, and there are many shades to choose from. On a more personal level, because I have poor eyesight, colours help me clarify objects and distinguish them from one another. It’s a method I use to feel more in control of my surroundings.”

Getting back to basics with a sustainable agenda in mind is an important trend going forward, and by investing in good quality and timeless designs we can avoid the growth of use-and-throw culture. At the same time, we can’t deny the human need for change every once in a while. How can we use colour to take another look at what we already own?

“Painting your walls a new colour every season isn’t my idea of sustainable. Start by investigating your home. Find the purpose of each room and the mood you want to achieve. Then choose your palette. If you want to change it after a while, my best tip is to be bold and paint the ceiling a contrasting colour. It will make the room softer and more harmonious.”

Speaking of harmony, Tekla often appears in her own photographs dressed in an outfit that flawlessly matches the setting. How do you achieve such a visually coherent and consistent lifestyle? We want some insight into how to achieve that Instagrammable life!

“I love creating scenery that I’m a part of and using my body as a way of saying something about the scale and reality of the location in the photo. It’s become my obsession and it only has one secret: research and planning. Sorry!”