In Conversation With: Nina D
Nina D is a Swedish-British homeware brand created by Nina Daniels. The brand’s unique designs draws on Nina’s upbringing in Sweden and adult life in London. Nina’s domestic designs include placemats, coasters, napkins and more that blend the two cultures. Nina D designs are hand-illustrated and crafted through watercolours and special paper textures. Her signature style creates three-dimensional designs that bring artistic flair to any furnishing.
We spoke to Nina about her international influences and personal approach to colour and style.
How do you think your Swedish upbringing influenced your designs?
I feel very privileged to have grown up in Stockholm, surrounded by open water and the beautiful archipelago. We spent summers by a forest of tall pine trees at our cabin house. My parents encouraged us to be outdoors and explore. We walked the cobbled streets in the city’s Old Town (Gamla Stan) to boat trips and swam in the city’s fresh water.
People and places close to my heart in Sweden are the influence of my designs. This connection shows in my art through colours and texture, creating shapes and patterns.
My artwork is all handmade. Even the technique itself is a homage to the person I learnt this from. Our Ingria design is made of hand painted textured paper, cut into strips and weaved in a traditional technique called Näver. This is the weaving method my grandfather taught me as a child, where we would take strips of bark from birch trees.
Did working in London change your personal style?
I graduated from Theatre Design at Wimbledon School of Art. Then, I embarked on a successful career designing store layouts and window displays for luxury brands such as Burberry and Asprey. This retail platform gave me the opportunity to introduce my classic Swedish style. At the same time, I was developing professionally representing a well known brand.
I thoroughly enjoyed the diversity of cultures and styles London offered being introduced to such a variety of fashion and creativity.
Can you tell us more about Scandinavian home traditions?
Over the long and dark winter months, we open our doors to friends and neighbours for get-togethers in each others homes. The daily break for a Fika (Swedish coffee break around 11am) is a tradition in both homes and work places. On Wednesday evenings, we break up the working week with a ‘lill Lördag’ (“mini Saturday”). We often serve a glass of bubbly and canapés – something a bit festive halfway to the weekend.
‘Fredagsmys’ (Friday cosy), are where the tradition is to set the table with cheese and wine. For the summer evenings we enjoy eating outdoors in our gardens or communal spaces, often equipped with bbq’s and long tables.
What colours and designs do you associate with Sweden?
You may associate Sweden with a muted palette, such as from the Gustavian period. However, I use vibrant colours in my designs. The striking buildings painted in ochre yellow, and the traditional wooden houses painted in Falu red, all inspired me.
To me, Swedish design is simplicity, minimalism and functionality. I adore the Picnick (Picnic) series designed by Marianne Westman in 1956 for Rörstrand, during the golden era of Swedish pottery. The products are made of flintware, flora, and fauna. The designs have gently rounded shapes and colourful motifs.
What is your nightly routine?
After a day in the design studio, I share a mealtime with my son Lukas. Later, I often have lots of candles lit and enjoy reading a book or watching a drama. While doing this, comfortable but stylish loungewear is a must. For instance, I happen to have a few sets of MYZA’s pyjamas. I’ve got my eyes on the new 2022 designs, especially ‘Japanese Crane on Coral’, coming this April!