Jonas Wagell talks about his Julep sofa project for Tacchini

31 January 2024

Jonas Wagell

In which his ability to express the Scandinavian style in a soft and welcoming way is expressed

A former mechanical workshop in the center of Stockholm converted into a professional studio: it is from here that Jonas Wagell imagines and designs furniture, lights and accessories but also architecture, destined for the whole world. Swedish, born in 1973, his style is certainly influenced by Scandinavian aesthetics, which he however manages to tone down and make more welcoming with a soft touch. Among his most successful recent projects we cannot fail to mention the Julep sofa, designed for Tacchini, of which he himself recounts the genesis.

Tacchini Furniture

How did the collaboration with Tacchini come about and what do you like about this company?

By the end of the year 2016 Tacchini reached out to me with a request to design a new sofa. I had followed the company for a few years and was impressed by the consistent level of quality, both in terms of its passion for Italian tailoring and craftsmanship, but also in regards to art and design direction. Therefore, I was excited to be invited and in late November I received a well-considered brief to create a modern interpretation of a classic Italian mid-century sofa. The sofa should have a light and elegant expression and my proposal was the Roma collection which was introduced only a few months later at Salone in Milan in April 2017.

The following year we repeated the same intensive, and somewhat time optimistic, work process which, through a few prototypes, developed into the first Julep sofa.

In many ways this was a better representation of my design ethos with a minimal and graphic form merging perfectly with Tacchini’s elegance and impeccable sense of artisan quality.

Since our first collaboration I believe Tacchini has evolved from a high-quality furniture maker into a confident international luxury brand with a timeless approach towards design and craftsmanship, far above short-lived trends and market tendencies.

Together with the commitment to quality in craftsmanship, this sensitivity and strive to always move forward is something I value and admire about the people at Tacchini.

Tacchini Tacchini Julep Sofa

What inspired you for the Julep sofa and in which spaces do you imagine it? Tell us about the idea and characteristics of the project!

The Julep collection, like all my work with Tacchini, is the outcome of a collaborative effort. The direction and context are typically formulated by Tacchini and the design, form and shape are contributed by me. Therefore, the inspiration for Julep is both gathered from Tacchini’s vision about the project and my interpretation of an avant-garde mid-century sofa. We envisioned an elegantly curvy sofa with a contemporary look and feel. A sofa that was relevant today in terms of form and expression, but had a sense of heritage and history.

I imagined Julep to be perfectly suited for hotel lobby, showrooms and other hospitality settings. In retrospect, and to my surprise, it is in fact primarily selected for domestic projects!

What is your background and why did you choose this job?

I’ve always been drawn to creative work and at an early age I studied graphic design and print which led to work within advertising and event marketing. I did this for close to ten years, and while working, continued to study design, communication and marketing parttime for a few more years. All this time brought great experiences which clearly have influenced my work process and design vocabulary today.

Eventually, however, I decided to focus on design of spaces and objects. I returned to school full-time for another five years to achieve a master’s degree in interior architecture and furniture design at Konstfack University College in Stockholm. After graduation in 2007 and I have run my own studio ever since, today working with international brands and companies around the world.

Muuto Jug
Muuro Rest Sofa

Do you feel influenced by Scandinavian design?

Well, I’m Swedish so Scandinavian design is… just design for me. I think you are inevitably influenced and inspired by things around you, no matter the context or surrounding. In terms of Scandinavian design, I believe there are different interpretation of what it stands for. To me, it’s fundamentally about form and function, but also an attentiveness and sparsity to the use of materials.

What can be interesting, however, is when you combine different aesthetical preferences to create something new and exciting. This, I think, is part of the appreciation of my collaboration with Tacchini.

Tacchini Roma
Tacchini Roma Sofa

How would you describe your home?

I like to think of myself as a minimalist. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a lie! I simply like beautiful furniture and object too much and sometimes can’t resist collecting vintage finds and art pieces, but also objects made by designer friends and colleagues. I don’t have much of my own creations however, except for some smaller lights, like my JWDA table lamps which I designed for Audo Copenhagen many years ago. They kind of fit in everywhere and have followed my homes the last 10 years.

Generally speaking, I think you need to let the architecture guide and inform the interior. Today, I live in a converted factory building from 1910, an old brick-work brewery actually. It has a grandiose, vintage vibe with large windows and high ceilings, which is reflected in the interior as well as the furniture with dark wood, natural lime stone and a pale and warm colour palette. I’ve added textiles in both sheer and heavy layers for light diffusion, but also to add a sense of softness, tactility and improved acoustics.

Audo Copenhagen Audo Copenhagen JWDA Table Lamp Portable

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