Online | Interiors

Light Work

Stockholm, Sweden

“It's like being in a family” says designer Luca Nichetto of the Pink Villa, the house he has converted into a playful workplace for him and his team in the suburbs of Stockholm

With its steep-sided hills dotted with wooden buildings tumbling towards the waterfront, the Stockholm suburb of Mälarhöjden is better known for its family homes than its offices. But Italian designer Luca Nichetto’s new studio/showroom/office is more like a magnificent hybrid of home and workplace – and, with its bubblegum-pink exterior, it is one that is happy to stand out from the crowd.

The Venice-born Nichetto moved to Stockholm in 2011 with his Swedish wife, a costume-maker, and bought the Pink Villa (as he has rechristened it) in 2021, having been priced out of central Stockholm. The economic squeeze that led to its purchase has worked out from the perspective of being able to show off Nichetto’s portfolio of products in a more domestic setting – from the curvy asymmetrical sofa for Arflex to chairs for Hem and lighting for Mjolk, the villa is a showroom as much as a workplace. Why pink for the exterior, though? “It was a pale pink in the beginning, and I thought to change it,” he says. But then I liked the ‘Pink Villa’ mood and decided to make it even more pink.”

No special permission was required to change the building from a home to a workplace, and the downstairs layout in particular has stayed similar, with its living area and kitchen (all comprehensively refurbished), plus a new staircase (also in pink). Upstairs, however, the bedrooms have been converted to office space, both private for Nichetto and a larger space for his team, with an additional bathroom added.

The move to the suburbs represents quite a change of mood for Nichetto and his team, perhaps reflecting the wider move towards more informal working, post-pandemic. “The working atmosphere is more relaxing and modern, in a way,” he says. “Beyond the working space there is a kitchen, a living room with armchairs and a sofa, and downstairs there’s a sauna that we can use after work. Workers need to feel relaxed and creative in an environment that make them feel at home: it helps [reduce] the stress, arguments and misunderstandings.” One further element that must make the Pink Villa qualify as one of Stockholm’s most enviable workplaces is that there’s a housekeeper who looks after the studio and cooks for the team. “It’s like being in a family: we all have lunch together and there are no fixed workstations to work. The idea is to create a sense of community.”

Nichetto lives nearby so this isn’t used as a second home as such, but it does get personal use on weekends: there is a sewing room for his wife’s personal projects, and they come to use the garden and barbecue (the outside space is furnished with more of Nichetto’s designs, by Ethimo, Gandia Blasco and La Manufacture). There is, however, a cosy ‘chalet’ for overnight guests (such as visiting designers, art directors and photographers), with its own bedroom and bathroom.

What the interiors of the Pink Villa convey most strongly is how friendly Nichetto’s body of work is. There are pleasingly chunky, inflated-looking shapes, such as the Soufflé mirror by La Manufacture; kindergarten brights in the yellow lacquered Float coffee table for La Chance; and a playful use of materials, from the confetti-like terrazzo floor to the wall of pierced bricks in the hallway. It all works so well against the more reserved backdrop of the typically Swedish architecture – which, of course, is exactly the kind of melting pot that has made the designer so successful.