CREATIVE OF THE MOMENT: JONATAN HÄRNGREN
Words Callum Weatherley
Photography Lucas Lennig & Jonatan Härngren
Jonatan Härngren has been kind enough to share the lookbook from his latest project Kultur5. Packed with beautifully refined images, each and every one transports me to a scene far removed from the day-to-day way of life humanity has recently adopted. The curation of this small collection has the inexplicable ability to make you feel as if you are standing on a cliff face, the wind laced with a salty twinge, as you breathe in the tranquillity that the ocean in front of you has to offer.
Not only is Härngren expertly versed in textile design, he’s managed to transmute his attention to detail and masterful eye for form and function to another medium: 925 silver. It comes as no surprise Kultur5 has the same impact and beauty found in the collections at his previous post; creative director of Swedish menswear label L’Homme Rouge.
Härngren’s background lies in industrial design, textile art and fashion design, with education across Europe in all three disciplines. He was initially brought on at L’Homme Rouge when the founders recruited him after working together on a short film, and went on to firmly establish the brand as a leading voice in Stockholm’s menswear scene, with commercial success, critical acclaim, and a Woolmark Prize in tow. The first project in his new venture however, is far more personal and intimate; a range of unisex jewellery where each piece is crafted with Härngren’s upbringing in mind: the Swedish Archipelago. Here, he recalls a life centred around “rocky cliffs, deep conversations, rough music, youthful freedom, diversity, dry wooden bathhouses, and the soft, reflective and poetic ocean”. The ambitious attempt to bring these concepts into his work has certainly paid off, helped along by the revelation that silver is a natural base on which to imitate the stones, structures and reflections which once surrounded him.
When the doors of L’Homme Rouge shut at the end of last year, some designers may have shied away from new endeavours, but Härngren saw an opportunity to explore new arenas of art. Asking him about the difficulties of working with jewellery as opposed to clothing, he relents, “I’m always fighting with myself. I want to create an emotion but jewellery is small, it’s tough to throw a lot of emotion into a small piece of metal”. His process takes him on a journey across different techniques and methodology, as he recounts, “suddenly you realise that you’re standing in a factory which makes parts for aeroplanes… which I’m considering featuring in my next project”. There’s something gentle about the designer’s pieces, a fragility we’ve seen Härngren explore in previous clothing collections. Basing his designs off childhood experiences has worked an intimacy into earrings and rings which represent the rugged rock faces of the scene I described earlier. There’s no concern that these emotions will be lost as the business scales up though, “I don’t want to move production away from Sweden because of any increased success, but whilst I think it’s healthy not receiving a product the day after ordering it, I also think it’s healthy to look forward to commercial growth. This is a slow business, and I want to stay true to it.” Currently, a workshop is planned every season, with Kultur5 representing more of a platform and a room for experiments than just a brand. Not only does Härngren bare his soul in design, he also plans to “educate with every project, to be informative, and transparent” in his processes. The choice of name ‘Kultur’ is by no means accidental of course, putting emphasis on the importance of collective thinking across a multitude of different people and groups. In these workshops he and other artists or designers will create objects and products from ethically sourced materials.
Attracted by: Natural environments and exploring the emotive side of clothing and jewellery.
Made AIME's creative of the moment because of: A confidence to experiment with new materials.