Where was your favorite place to live?
Chicago, no doubt. This is where my adult life began. I got married, had my beautiful kids here, as well as started my wood-working and design career. I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner.
I have to say that I have been pretty fortunate to have lived in so many different parts of the world in my life. I grew up in Sweden and after my military service (as a chef on the fearsome HMS Älvsborg) I lived in Stockholm, worked as a chef, and totally fell in love with the city. After Stockholm my cooking took me to the Cayman Islands for two years—this was a great time. I also had an extended stay in Japan, which was pretty amazing as well.
What’s your favorite room in your home?
Our sitting room—I have full view of the kitchen and living room where the kids are roaming.
In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
The large wind turbines. They serve a great purpose and are majestic to look at. Truly mesmerizing.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Could be anything really, but I like to look at everyday objects and scale them up or down transforming their shape or lines into something for a furniture piece. The legs of the Dylan table were inspired by the simple, yet functional shape of a paperclip. I was fiddling with one and after twisting it a bit, it gave me an idea for the w shape of the legs (convenient since my last name starts with a “w”).
What one item do you wish you owned?
A summer home in my native Sweden. To be able to spend a few weeks in the summer over there would be amazing.
What are your interests outside of design?
My kids!!!! Family is what it’s all about for me. Who are you design icons? Tadao Ando, Poul Kjaerholm, Richard Serra…to name a few.
Form vs. function?
Both for sure. If something is supposed to provide a certain function then that has to come first. If you can then incorporate form to enhance the feeling of an object, that’s true design.
What’s your favorite element/possession?
My house. My wife and I have worked really hard to make it our own, and it is something that really becomes a part of you.
What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Food, I love to eat. I was a chef for 8 years—in the Swedish navy, Stockholm, Cayman Islands, and then here in Chicago.
Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
This one is super low budget… de-clutter. Too much stuff will sometimes make a space cave in on itself. Although it’s important that your dwelling reflect your own personality, keeping it organized and clean will make it a place to relax and recharge.
What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
I think now the best advice I can give to anyone is to live their life and do work that feels meaningful to them, but hey I don’t really feel qualified to give advice when I haven’t figured out where I’m headed myself. Maybe when I am in my eighties I have earned the right to have any say.
To see all current designs by Jonas Wahlström furniture for CB2, go here.