Exquisite Exemplars of Swedish Design in Jakarta – www.mozaikindonesia.com

As Sweden’s ambassador to Indonesia, HE Johanna Brismar Skoog has a residence full of Swedish art and furniture that are all imbued with a design sense that has made the Scandinavian nation a creative powerhouse

Photo by Christian Razukas and Bagus Tri Laksono

Johanna Brismar Skoog, in her first posting as an ambassador, lives in the residence alone, after her youngest son graduated from Jakarta International School and departed for France, and after her husband, Brismar Skoog’s predecessor as Sweden’s ambassador to the EU, left for a posting to the United Nations in New York City.

Almost all of furniture and products in the official part of the house, a mid-century take on the stately residence in the tony Kebayoran Baru section of South Jakarta, are exquisite exemplars of Swedish design from the embassy’s collection.

Brismar Skoog says that there wasn’t much that she wanted to change after moving in, apart from moving a few paintings around.

Flanking the foyer is a small drawing room used a waiting area or an intimate meeting room. Dominating the space are two plush armchairs and a sofa featuring vibrant green patterns done by Josef Frank, an Austrian Jew who founded the modern Viennese architecture before becoming a Swedish citizen in 1939. Frank was a polymath, creating amazing and distinct designs in several areas, including furniture, furnishings, fabrics, wallpaper and carpets. “He is the quintessential Swedish designer,” Brismar Skoog says. “His colours and designs were innovative. He was playing with colour in a way that survives time.”

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The drawing room, which also boasts an exquisite nesting table, features several original watercolours of dandies done by the Swedish artist Nils Dardel, active in the first half of the 20th century. A painting by Dardel, an acclaimed Post-Impressionist, was for a time the most expensive piece of Swedish art ever auctioned.

The expansive main room has immense windows affording peaceful views of the residence’s lush garden and swimming pool. Throw pillows and footstools from Frank’s “Tehran” collection accent the comfortable space defined by sofas.

A curio cabinet holds several pieces of contemporary hand-crafted Swedish crystal from Brismar Skoog’s personal collection. The crystals are smooth and minimalist, she says. “It’s more about using natural light, not about the shape.” To the side are several reupholstered wooden chairs done in ornate Gustavian style, reflecting the Francophila of the 18th century Swedish monarch.

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