Sofia Joelsson creates stylish, dreamy living spaces
BY ANJA FAHS
(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 3 2015)
How will we live and work in the future? What colours will we be inspired by tomorrow? What social and aesthetic demands do interior designers have to satisfy? One expert has the answer to these questions – Sofia Joelsson. The Swedish-born designer came to the USA 14 years ago in order to realise her dream and her passion for interior design. Today, her company SoJo Design, with its headquarters in trendy South Beach, Miami, Florida, works for extremely exclusive clientele and implements interior design dreams in the upper luxury segment.
SoJo Design is a ‘boutique’ company with just seven employees. Even the approach of the company is unusual. At the beginning of every job, the team meets to discuss the desires and needs of the customer. As soon as a clear vision has been found for the project, the employees go through their personal CD collection in order to find a ‘generator’ for the design concept with the help of suitable music. In this way, the individual playlist of every project literally becomes the eighth team member and complements the project concept on an audio level.
SoJo’s young and extremely talented designers are constantly changing their colourful ‘array of ideas’. This ranges from modern elegance to sophisticated glamour for example, and encompasses the complete range of luxury. In addition to this come stimuli for lighting concepts, audio-visual consultation or individually designed furniture from the ‘Bespoke Programme’. All this alone serves to understand the vision of the client and – according to implementation – have every room breathed full of its own, new life.
Sofia Joelsson tells us the story of her success and reveals how she creates living spaces in which the clientele have exactly the same feeling of well-being and indulgence as they would in an exclusive five-star hotel.
Sofia, you were born in Sweden. What lead you to you move to the USA and become a designer?
Sofia Joelsson: After a couple of career changes and different jobs, I moved to the USA. The fact that I became an interior designer happened quite naturally. First of all I designed my own rooms and then gradually built up a customer reference base. I still work with many of them today.
Was it difficult to build up your business in the USA? How did you become so successful?
S. J.: It really wasn’t easy, but luckily I have always received positive feedback and had satisfied customers. I believe that my success is based on my sense for aesthetics and my reputation. I am known for sticking to deadlines and constantly delivering attractive, complete design projects.
What drew you to Miami of all places and not to Los Angeles or New York City?
S. J.: Miami just has a unique atmosphere. I love the different cultures here and find it really inspiring to live and work here. There is nothing better than having your business in the heart of South Beach and living there too.
You projects are, among others, luxury apartments in sky scrapers, premium offices, luxury hotel suites, private jets or spectacular houses. Which sector do you like to work in the most?
S. J.: I love all of these areas, every type of room design. I find it fantastic to put myself in my customer’s shoes in order to reinvent their living spaces so that these suit their personal lifestyle.
What is popular in interior design at the moment? What particular colours or materials are ‘in’?
S. J.: There are so many trends, materials, opinions and different tastes. I like to use metal in such a way that it creates a warm design and combine it with other materials in order to soften the metallic look somewhat.
What other trends for living spaces do you see?
S. J.: I would say that at the moment it’s all about comfort and entertainment. I try to realise my designs in such a way that the room provides pleasure in the most optimal way, and offers the perfect setting for a cosy and social lifestyle
Will the way we live or the way in which we design our living space change in the future?
S. J.: That will always happen, as sure as the fact that the world in which we live will always be changing. Our home and how we arrange our rooms is always a reflection of the changes which are taking place around us.
What will such future changes in the area of office design look like?
S. J.: Commercial or working spaces are increasingly integrating into the private area and orientating itself around this. That means that ever-more home offices, just like meeting rooms in companies, will want to have a great, elegant design which should also provide a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Housing is becoming ever scarcer and rooms are getting smaller – we are seeing this in Japan for example. Is that a challenge for you?
S. J.: No not really. In Sweden we already have much smaller premises and I have developed the necessary sense for planning smaller areas.
What has been the most unusual wish that you have fulfilled for a customer to date?
S. J.: Recently we had to create a whole basement as a guest sleeping area with bunk beds. The challenge was to design this in an individual and chic style.
If you could design your personal dream house where would it be and what would it look like?
S. J.: I have already had the possibility to design wonderful houses in the most sought after places in the world. I have just finished an amazingly beautiful property in Sagaponack in the Hamptons near New York. The location for my personal dream house would always vary but as far as the design is concerned, I would keep it sophisticated and chic, but it should be possible to sit together and relax with friends in warm and elegant surroundings.
What are you currently working on?
S. J.: At the moment I am working on 15 properties. Those range from an expansive property in the Bahamas to luxury high-rises in Miami Beach.
What would you personally love to design one day? What would be really exciting for you?
S. J.: I have already begun to design my own textiles, lamps and fashion lines. I find all aspects of design surrounding a luxurious lifestyle fascinating. I have a blog which covers all these areas of my design and my lifestyle.
Sofia Joelsson comes from Sweden and has lived in the USA for 14 years. The former Miss Sweden founded her first interior design company Soelle in Stockholm. Soon, jobs in the USA followed, first in Dallas and then in Miami where SoJo Design kicked off. Today SoJo Design is a full service interior design company with seven employees, which is specialised in the expansion of luxurious residential and office buildings and renovations. The portfolio ranges from luxury apartments in skyscrapers, office buildings and hotel suites to spectacular villas and large properties. Sofia Joelsson even works in the area of private aviation design for sophisticated clients all over the world.
Picture credits © Danny Cardozo