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Catrine Åberg interview – COOEE DESIGN

Dear Catrine, thank you for being here with us today. Cooee Design is a family design business.  Started back in the 50’s when your grandfather and his brother, Martin Åberg worked with innovations and design such as the design of an iconic paper bin in wood, that was sold to all the hotel rooms at SAS Hotel in Copenhagen that Arne Jacobsen had designed. Tell us about the creative business road that your family went so far and the point as you joined the journey.

Catrine: In 2005 I founded Cooee Design. All members of the family have always been interested in art & design and the opportunity to create high quality design both in jewellery and interior is the great inspiration. Our family philosophy is to have fun at work!

Already as a small child I was fascinated by the beautiful pictures in my mother’s fashion magazine, I was fascinated by all the details. My grandmother also has been a great inspiration to me. I always explored her wardrobe. Actually her colourful style inspired me in the design of Cooee Jewelry.

After a couple of years studying public relations, marketing and graphic design in London and Dublin, I left for Sydney, Australia, to become an interior designer. In Australia I was inspired by Aboriginal art, and the idea of starting my own design business grew strong. The company name became Cooee Design were cooee means “Hi there” in the Aboriginal language. You can see the inspiration from Aboriginal art in colour and shape in many of the classical Cooee jewellery.

As for today all the family members play their different parts in the business. Lars Åberg, my father  is President, my mom Britt manages the concept store and takes care of logistics. My brother Henrik , works with the production, draws in CAD and works with the web. I am the Creative Director and have the overall role in the company.

Our goal is for Cooee Design to keep developing into an established design company in jewellery and interior design and continuing to be both innovative and creative.

The products by Cooee all have a certain design DNA, you can see they all come from one brand – it is the finish, the colors they all match to each other. If you could define the characteristics of Cooee design DNA what would they be?

Catrine: I’m glad to hear that you feel this with our brand as it’s been very important for us from the start with the red line with everything from the logo, packaging, receipts in our concept store, fair stands, Cooee bags in our concept store and of course the most important our products. Our collection is minimalistic Scandinavian but we’ve spiced it up with all the colors that can be combined with each other. We love to add some color on our otherwise white grayscale homes in Scandinavia. But with a vase, tray or ceramic plates you can add another dynamic to the decoration with some colors added!

We often come up with new designs based on what we have missed in our home for instance with our best seller ”Winterstar” lamp that my Mother designed already 1999. It’s a lamp, shaped like a star and it was the first lamp that could both be hanging and standing for Advent. It can then be standing for 11 months of the year in for instance a window/hallway/ kids room and then in Advent around Christmas it can be hung in a window! It’s sold in more than 150.000 ex only in Sweden so far! When we celebrated 15 years with our Winterstar it was made also in gold-plated and silver-plated! This year it comes in white, black and our classic frost. it’s a lamp that is very popular also in Germany via our web shop.

Where do you find inspiration?

Catrine: I think it’s all around me. I live close to the nature in the South in Sweden, near by are many many lakes and the woods. That’s very calming and nice to have around. But it’s also allow me to easily drive to Copenhagen for instance for 2 hours. So I love to have this closeness to museums, exhibition, street life and to notice whats going on. I love magazines, music, travelling, which also is a good source of inspiration.

What products/collections do you plan to add in the next years as the brand expands?

Catrine:During this year we’ve added ceramic big bowls and plates that are glossy on the inside and have a matte finish on the outer side. It’s dishwasher and food safe. Its also very thin and can be styled with our other products as a still-life if not used in the kitchen.

We would like to develop this collection with more products for the kitchen.

Plus new shapes in vases are coming next season and added colors. And of course some other sweet new details that we hope to launch on the fairs after Christmas.

What kind of spaces you would love to see your products in?

We have been contacted by The Line store in New York, which feels really cool and we would love to start selling there and more in the US.

We sell at the Modern Museum in Stockholm and several more museums which feels honorable. One great honor was having the Swedish Prince Carl Philip and his Princess Sophia buying Cooee products for their new home in Stockholm! But it’s always so heartwarming to see our products in all kinds of homes for instance on Instagram! We grow a lot and for 2018, Germany for example is our next target Market.

How becoming a mother affects your work and how do you manage the change?

In life it’s the biggest and the loveliest change of course! In the midst of running our family company, our baby was born in January, during the hectic weeks of fairs and sales meetings. I actually happened to work late that same night that our baby was born 🙂

Now he´s 9 months old and when I look back at these months so far, working and being home with my boy feels better  than I thought. I can decide myself what hours on the day I can sit by the computer or photograph or what’s needed to be done more or less. But of course it’s also stressful sometimes as well as very inspiring and I’m really happy to be able to make this combination. He have also been with us on fairs when we have traveled so far and I believe he also will follow us to Ambiente Fair in Germany in February! He’s already a little globetrotter!

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