Skargaarden: Design that makes every moment count
By Emma Rodin | Photos: Skargaarden
Who knew that Gävle, with one of Sweden’s coldest climates and far up north, would be the birthplace of one of the world’s leading producers of outdoor furniture? But then again, it all makes sense: because where sunshine is worth a fortune and rain is a given, things will always be made to withstand and to last.
Serving form and function in equal measure, Skargaarden designs and produces Scandinavian furniture and accessories fit for outdoor living. The brand’s core audience include decorators, architects, hotels and restaurants, but also private homes. Odds are, you’ve come across a Skargaarden piece somewhere in the world, perhaps while relaxing by the pool at Brummel Hotel in Barcelona, or in the lounge of Hotel Nobis on Mallorca.
Small steps, big wins
Speaking of hotels, it was during a stay at a design hotel when Skargaarden founders Jari and Anna Visuri became inspired to launch their own furniture business. “We were both fascinated by the stunning outdoor environment and design pieces, and how these worked in harmony,” explains Jari. “We started off back in 2009 with our own collections, and then gradually started bringing in design classics like Björn Hultén’s H55 sun chair from (you guessed it) 1955, as well as Gunilla Norin’s renowned Viken chair from the ‘80s,” he adds. Indeed, the trajectory of Skargaarden has pointed upwards since launch – measured and organic, without compromises or shortcuts – meaning nothing has been rushed, in design nor production.
The general look of Skargaarden products can be described as timeless Scandinavian. Indeed, several of the brand’s bestsellers are popular design classics from the mid-to-late 20th century. But, although the Scandi style is prominent, it serves as a base for the expression of inspiration from other cultures – much like the development of Scandinavian food. It’s a natural approach to staying relevant and interesting in a fast-moving world.
Skargaarden collaborates with numerous talented furniture designers who create pieces for the brand. “When briefing these designers, we always ask them to bring us something that they genuinely like themselves, something that they would happily see in their own gardens,” says Jari. “But of course, we’d also like designs that can fill gaps in the market,” he adds.
Parts of a puzzle
All Skargaarden products are designed to live outside and made to withstand any kind of weather, while also looking premium enough to be used indoors. Teak wood, stainless steel, galvanised steel and aluminium are all materials hardy enough for outdoor use. When it comes to textiles, only fabrics with a high colour-fastness are used – that is to say, fabrics that won’t fade in the sun and rain. Take the H55 sun-chair, for instance. “It’s so perfect, it’s almost provocative – how so little material can provide so much comfort, and be so beautifully fit for purpose,” says Jari. Other great designs include Bönan, Kryss and Djurö, all bestsellers and transforming outside spaces globally.
Durability and eco talk
When it comes to working sustainably, Skargaarden believes that every part of an organisation shares the load. “The main focus for us is durability. Products must last for a long time, ideally across generations,” explains Jari. “On top of this, there needs to be an environmental hook in each part of the process, from materials all the way through to logistics,” he adds.
This leaves Skargaarden with very few compromises or possible short-cuts. None, to be exact. Achieving its design vision, while ensuring products are truly built to last, requires a huge effort – but the resulting product is an investment, rather than a purchase.
The brand is also continuously evaluating the best solution for every product in its range. “Our goal is that all our products will be eco-labelled within the near future. However, to eco-label a product without proof and or evidence is against our sustainability work. To label a product without knowing for sure it makes a difference is simply a solution we never intend to take,” explains Jari.
So, what’s next?
14 years since launching their brand, Jari and Anna have their eyes set on the future – and it’s looking bright. Skargaarden has earned plenty of recognition over the years, and it’s fair to say that the world’s love and respect for the brand is unlikely to diminish. New products will be launched, and more followers will come – all in due time, of course. Because, as you know by now, great design can’t be rushed.
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