A fresh graduate who’s female, young and enterprising and trying to stand out in a discipline where competition is fierce, needs an extra jolt of energy. Living in Malmö, Sweden, a city in which the world’s greatest Nordic design company Ikea has one of its largest production and research bases, it may seem as if opportunities are available in every corner of the city.

Collection of Fold textiles, in which artisanal and digital processes are mixed.

Young designer Siri Skillgate, who grew up facing adversity, has found through her studio, the research of materials and production processes, a discipline and a path to develop her creativity. With her own newly created studio, she is one of the emerging young talents of Swedish design.

The designer Siri Skillgate and the Space project, a fabric that works as a blanket or wall tapestry.

1. ¿Whats behind the product philosophy of Siri Skillgate?
A curiosity to work in close collaboration with materials, processes and craftsmen in order to identify new ways of working as a designer.

2. All your selected projects are special design and the material is the best in final product. ¿How importan is this one for your differents proyects?
As a designer I have always been curious about materials, processes and production and I often use this curiosity as a starting point in the design process regardless of the original project brief. The reason for me doing this is because I believe there is a big gap between the opportunities in materials and production research/development and the products that finally reaches the market. So I would say materials are very important in my work.

3. You also bets on ecological production, sustainability and taking advantage on resources. ¿Are priorities in your products?
Are always important both in my own smaller scale projects but even more so when I work as a consultant for bigger companies such as IKEA. I am currently working as a freelancing designer at the innovation department at IKEA where one of the things we are looking into is how the furniture industry could work with textiles and upholstery furniture in a new more sustainable and material efficient way. This is relevant both when it comes to the production and recyclability of textile products and upholstered furniture.

Olea Collection, work done with Andreas Hansson and Kroonform.

4. ¿Which are the main features that identify your work?
Curiosity, collaborations and materials.

5. ¿Are there specific areas of interest to which you usually refer to, finding useful ideas which stimulate your personal creative thinking?
I find a lot of my inspiration and motivation in production processes, materials and cross competence collaborations. I feel the most inspired when I get the opportunity to work on factory floor or in close collaboration with craftsmen or material researchers. Another source of inspiration is the city where I work and live, Malmö. Malmö i located in the southern part of Sweden and is filled with interesting culture and people doing inspiring work.

6. You use many differents materials. ¿Which are you more confortable?
I believe that my work becomes the most successful and interesting when I am not comfortable. This forces me to really use my curiosity and ability to ask “stupid” questions in order to reach a good end result.

Fossilia jewelry series, a collection inspired by the molecular structures of plants.

7. ¿Can you tell us a specific case?
One example of this is the process behind the project “fold”. In this project I was invited to work at Innvik Sellgren AB; a weaving mill located in Innvik, Norway. Never having worked with textiles before the aim with this project was to work hands on in the factory and use my lack of knowledge as a foundation for developing new ways of approaching the techniques of digital industrial weaving. At the weaving mill I was given the opportunity of working in close collaboration with their skilful weaving experts as well as learning how to manage and write code for the big industrial weaving machines on my own. The project resulted in a collection of self folding textiles. By braking one of the most important laws of industrial weaving – keeping an even tension in the wave – a repeating pattern of variating tensions resulted in a self folding motion in the final fabric, something that has not been done before.

8. ¿Are you a experimental designer?
I would say that I am definitely an experimental designer that enjoys to work on different projects rather than within a specific product category.

9. ¿How is the experience to work with Ikea?
Are very different from when I am working on my own smaller scale projects. What I find especially interesting is the range of competence connected to the projects and the opportunity of taking part of that knowledge already early in the design process.

The designer in his workstudio.
Square kerosene lamp. On the left, assembly parts.

10. ¿Can you tell us something about your jewellery work?
Fossilia is actually one of my first design projects that I did already at the age of 18. And is based on molecular structures that hides within everything that surrounds us. In this project different plants and flowers such as pine, rose and crow foot where observed under a microscope. The structural unique patterns where then translated into three dimensional pieces of jewellery. I would love to continue working on projects focusing on the theme of visualising hidden structures in the future.

11. ¿Who is the next in your projects?
I am currently working on several exciting projects. I recently curated a retrospective exhibition for Lund University School Of Industrial Design shown at the Stockholm Furniture Fair and am continuously working on several projects together with IKEA. I was also recently selected to a material research project together with designer Andreas Hansson.

Photos: Siri Skillgate.


  • Glass project Kavalkad.
  • Kavalkad plate collection.
  • The designer with glassblower Fredrick Orevad and the industrial designer Anna Gudmundsdottir.

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