“At the centre of every beautiful Swedish home is a good rug. There is undoubtedly something about moving to another country that gives you a greater appreciation for what you have left behind.”
Liza Laserow and Fabian Berglund, a married Swedish couple living in New York, together with Fabian’s brother, Felix, are the team behind family enterprise, Nordic Knots. Producing understated, well-made rugs, Nordic Knots creations are readily identifiable thanks to their pared-back geometric patterns and tonal colour combinations.
We caught up with Liza, the daughter of Karin Laserow – one of Sweden’s leading antique dealers – and Co-Founder of Nordic Knots to learn more about the Stockholm-based rug atelier and explore the hallmarks of great interior design.
How did you get into interior design?
The home has always had a significant meaning and a central role in my family. I learnt from an early age – from both my mother and grandmother – that a clean and tidy home was important and essential for a good life. I also had the luxury of growing up in beautiful homes with tons of antiques and colourful art. I like to think that I got into interior design by default, but really it was pretty set up for me to go down this route. When I got my first project I had been working with antiques for a few years; a wonderful client of ours purchased a house in the south of Sweden and then asked me to design it for her. Luckily, a close friend of mine had experience as a designer and so showed me the ropes on how to take on the project. Once the house was done, I thought: I can do this! From there, projects came in via word of mouth and varied from restaurants to Brooklyn townhouses to lofts in Tribeca.
What is your design philosophy?
Design with pieces you want to have in your own home and don’t fall for trends in materials and colours. If you wouldn’t want it in your own home, don’t use it. Obviously, a Nordic Knots rug and antiques are both a must in the mix.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Sparse but warm. I love textiles, such as rugs and curtains, and the warmth and texture they bring into a space, but I don’t like clutter and unnecessary things. I use antiques as accent pieces in a modern and clean space; I want them to have room to breathe. In my opinion, that’s the only way you can feel and see the meeting between the old and new.
Where are your rugs made?
Our Nordic Knots rugs are made by hand in Bhadohi in India by highly skilled artisans. It takes about a year from the initial idea until a rug is ready to launch. This is also why we try to stay away from trends when designing and instead focus on design that will last. The rugs need to feel as fun when they arrive as when we designed them, and hopefully 10 years from now.
Tell us about your work with GoodWeave…
We work with GoodWeave to perform unannounced inspections to make sure that our rugs are only made by adult artisans. They also, among other things, make sure that the conditions in each factory or weaving facility are up to par with their standards in safety, health, wages, and working hours.
Talk us through some of your favourite projects to date…
Oh wow, hard one to answer! I’ve loved all of them, but some clients have a special place in my heart and have become friends. My latest project was a complete renovation of a beautiful house built in the early 20th century by a famous Swedish architect called Ludvig Nobel, brother of the more well-known Alfred. We used only natural materials that would age really well and get more beautiful with time. The client was really open-minded and trusted me completely which is a must for a great result in the design process. We designed rugs, made custom hardware, and brought in an antique mantelpiece made during the late 19th century.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I take pictures of everything! My camera roll is packed with inspiration pictures that go into three different folders: one for rug ideas, one for interior design, and one for clothes. Labelled: Rug Ideas, Space Inspirations, and Simply the Best.
What places/locales do you find particularly inspirational?
Travelling used to be my main source of inspiration and I wouldn’t be able to wait to get to that particular hotel or restaurant hand-picked for a trip or night. Beautiful places give me so much energy and inspiration; I’m very aware of how a space can affect my mood. My top two cities are New York and Paris. Perhaps a cliché but, for me, you get it all between these two: style, food, architecture, art, and people. Rough verses polished. If I could, I’d live between both of them to get maximum satisfaction.
Your collection features some brilliant prints; any advice on pattern mixing?
Pattern mixing is all about being brave with a little bit of colour matching. Start with one and pick the next by matching one colour from the previous. When there’s a lot of pattern going on, I always find it’s a good idea to throw a stripe into the mix. A stripe makes everything feel fresh. Keep your eyes open for stripes!
In your opinion, what can/does a rug add to a room?
It lays the foundation. A great rug calms the room and anchors it. Just like drapes give a room warmth and texture height wise, a rug is needed to do the same horizontally. It really pulls it all together.
How does travelling influence your designs and tastes?
Travelling gives you the best perspective; you get to see the world and different places through others’ eyes. I love to prepare well for a trip. What to wear, where to eat, and what to see. Nothing needs to be set in stone but finding out in advance which are the best places, restaurants, and museums makes me happy.
What are some tips you have on how our readers can bring a touch of Nordic Knots magic into their homes?
Send me a picture of your room and I’ll help you find the perfect rug to fit!