Nature is constantly present in the life and work of designer Louise Hederströms, both as a reference for expression and reflecting a deeper interest in the materials and their origins. In the exhibition Understory, she examines nature, going all the way back to the magical experiences of her childhood, while at the same time, commenting on how we meet and treat nature today. Growing up on a farm near the end of Söderåsen in northwestern Skåne has strongly characterized her approach to material and form.
“For this exhibition I have dug deep into some of the references that have affected me. The exhibition is based on a memory of my childhood, a place that I went to to be in the middle of nature and experience greenery, water, insects and animals. And to be in my own world.”
As she dug deeper into her childhood memories of a place that no longer exists today, it became more and more clear how important the wildness and nature within the forest are. How nature must be just natural, and how humans view of it as something to be chewed up and used, as something that does not last for long. Natural forests are necessary, not just for the sake of ecosystems, but as a symbol of diversity.
“The place that inspired me is today filled with planted spruces – something that does not favour the diversity of the plants and insects that existed before. There are large areas around Söderåsen, which are protected, but today forests in other parts of the country are threatened by felling, even though they are owned and protected by the state. We must also have long-term, sustainable forestry that doesn’t just focus on fast-growing spruce, but more mixed forests with deciduous trees that are better for diversity and, for example, more resistant to storms. Surely we want to make furniture in Swedish wood in the future?” The childhood place lay on a boundary between a forest and a meadow. It brought calm and a sense of freedom that, in such a concentrated form, was difficult to achieve elsewhere.
“The reason that this site appears in my mind right now is also because we live in a world where there are so many impressions and so many shattering things are going on around us. It is also a bit of an escape from reality to think about this place. To search for the essence. One cannot enough remind of what the presence of nature means to mankind. Everything we do is a part of it. So in a way, this exhibition is a tribute to it as well.”
Illustration by Charming unit