Beyond the Road: Emma Olbers

Siamo tornati con un altro episodio di Beyond the Road, una serie di contenuti in cui puntiamo i riflettori sui e sulle titolari di auto Polestar di tutto il mondo. Questa volta abbiamo avuto il privilegio di entrare nello studio della pluripremiata designer Emma Olbers per parlare di creatività, sostenibilità e futuro del design.

The day before the ELLE Deco Awards, we visited Emma Olbers at her design studio in central Stockholm. Surrounded by the tools of her trade and the quiet hum of creativity, Emma welcomed us into her world.

As the winner of the ELLE Decoration & Polestar Design Toward Zero Award (where she received recognition for her fossil-free steel bench Tellus,1kgCo2e exhibition, and interior of the Ersta hospital), Emma expresses both gratitude and inspiration. “It’s a huge inspiration to do more work, and, of course, it means a lot that people actually see it,” she reflects, acknowledging its significance within the design community.

With over two decades as a furniture and interior designer, Emma has made a name for herself by infusing her creations with an unwavering commitment to sustainability and innovation. Her portfolio boasts an array of iconic interiors and furniture pieces, with the words “award-winning” often accompanying her name.

But Emma’s story is more than just beautiful furniture and the prizes that follow. It is a story about nature and a designer focused on solving problems.


Rooted in nature

Emma grew up on a farm just outside Gothenburg. The farm has been home to five generations of her family, so, as might be expected, she has a very close relationship with nature – and her impact on it. But her love for design was born out of the rustic charm and enduring quality of aged furniture on the farm. “Living and growing up with old furniture, you could really tell the difference between good and bad material,” Emma shares.

But perhaps more importantly, the fact that the farm was passed on through generations left Emma with a feeling of borrowing the house. “Since you know someone will live there after you, and many have lived there before you, it becomes important to take good care of it,” Emma begins. “I think it’s a very important mindset and definitely something that has shaped my sustainable approach to design.”

Emma Olbers infront of ELLE Deco Design awards sign.
Side profile of Emma's bench, with a Polestar 2 in the background.
It’s about designing out waste, and as a designer, I think it’s about solving problems.
Emma Olbers, Interior Designer
Thinking Backwards

When asked about her design process, Emma explains that she often thinks backwards. “I approach the project by asking myself where this product will end up when it’s no longer of use, and how we can maximise its lifetime.” Her process involves a lot of sketching and building small-scale models of the furniture or interior space.

Emma is also guided by specific design principles based on the planetary boundaries. As opposed to the phrase “form follows function” Emma believes that form should follow the planetary boundaries. These centre around three pillars: material, design for circularity and powering everything with renewable energy. This is not something that is achieved along the way, but rather something that must be present at the very beginning of the process. “It’s about designing out waste, and as a designer, I think it’s about solving problems,” Emma notes.

Although passionate about sustainability, Emma sees a greater motivation. “I actually don’t think it’s a passion. It’s more. It’s solidarity and a fear of losing the only home we have.”

Driving change.

Emma’s commitment to sustainability and design isn’t confined to her studio; it extends to the roads she travels. As a proud owner of a Polestar 2, she truly embodies our brand’s ethos of environmental responsibility and innovation.

As a designer, she appreciates the look of her car and describes it as a “Swedish minimalist design”. But beyond any aesthetics, Emma’s choice of Polestar is rooted in sustainability. “It’s very important to drive electric, since you have almost no emissions when driving depending on where you charge your car”.

Since Emma lives within walking distance of her studio, she mostly uses her Polestar for longer journeys. “We have driven down to the south of Europe many times. And I enjoy taking the opportunity to drive really fast when we pass through Germany,” she says with a smile.

If you want to hear more of our customer stories, click the links below where you’ll get to meet a UX designer in sunny California, a real estate agent above the Artic Circle, and an app developer travelling the world.

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