Interiors firm Sigmar creates a Scandinavian modernist haven in London
Founded in 2005, interior design firm Sigmar was born out of a passion for classic Scandinavian furniture. Driven by ‘a desire for quality and integrity’, owners Ebba Thott and Nina Hertig have developed the practice into a multidisciplinary tour de force. Alongside the design studio and flagship London showroom, Sigmar also supplies other retailers and consults on projects worldwide. In 2007 (W*97), Wallpaper* visited one of their latest projects, a Knightsbridge townhouse.
When a Swedish hedge fund manager with a passion for Scandinavian modernism wanted to do up his ‘Euro chintz’ townhouse in London’s Knightsbridge, he went straight to Sigmar, an interior design outfit based in Chelsea. Run by Swedish/Danish duo Ebba Thott and Nina Hertig, it specialises in retro furniture from Scandi greats such as Finn Juhl and Hans Wegner, as well as sleek, contemporary pieces from the likes of Finnish company Secto and Israeli designer Yedidia Blonder, and anyone else who does new-school modernism. According to Thott, they’re hard to find. ‘Young designers who are working in the true modernist spirit are few and far between.’
‘When we started out, everyone said, “You’re very niche and we’ll give you six months.” That was two-and-a-half years ago,’ adds Thott, who trained as a product designer and worked in interiors in New York before moving to London a few years ago, when the trend for Scandinavian design was red hot. Since setting up together, the duo have done a number of residential projects, but the house in Knightsbridge is the most ambitious so far, belonging as it does to a modernism fan who shares their passion (and has a big budget).
The owner was open to many of the duo’s suggestions, which included mixing classics – Serge Mouille lights, original Castiglioni lamps, Hans Wegner teak beds – with rare pieces, such as a sweeping rosewood dining table embedded with coins by Finn Juhl, and a desk, designed in 1959 by Bodil Kjaer, one of which was used by James Bond baddie Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever and You Only Live Twice. (Michael Caine and Prince Philip have also been proud owners.)
Hertig, who studied at Sotheby’s, scours auctions and sales worldwide, and likes nothing more than getting her hands on rare pieces (a recent coup was the estate of Austrian Bauhaus architect Ernst Pollak). Thott masterminded the interior, which was about ‘placing furniture that looks new but is not new’ alongside the house’s original period features.
Dotted with just a few key pieces, the three-storey bachelor pad is pretty minimal, but, insists the owner, is crowded compared with his former apartment, which consisted of a bed and two sofas. So starting afresh was easy, and having grown up with Swedish modernism, he felt it was time to revisit it. ‘I didn’t really like it as a child, but this time around, I enjoyed coming up with a whole concept. It’s a house that’s very much about private spaces, and it works’. §
As originally featured in the March 2007 issue of Wallpaper* (W*97)