German content creator Swantje Hinrichsen has been awarded the title of Design Influencer of the Year, along with a prize sum of 4,000 euros, as part of Finnish Design Shop’s first FDS Influencer Awards competition. Discover the main prize winner's secret to success for lively colour combinations with Design Stories.
“SWANTJE IS EXTREMELY TALENTED in expressing her personal style. She offers inspiration for everyone who wants to live a colourful life, regardless of budget. We see an appreciation of quality in the way she curates her home – even with strong colour combinations, everything is kept in balance. Her account is something we all need right now, as it’s full of fun and positivity,” the jury describes Swantje Hinrichsen, chosen as Design Influencer of the Year in the first-ever FDS Influencer Awards.
Hi Swantje, and congratulations! How does it feel to receive praise for sharing interior inspiration with fellow design enthusiasts worldwide?
“Hi, everyone! I feel flattered, grateful and just super, super happy. I have always loved to share things I love, especially related to design and interiors, so this is a fantastic form of recognition.”
As an art director and graphic designer, all things visual must be close to your heart. What do you look out for when choosing new elements for your home?
“As a visually oriented person, shapes and colours are decisive arguments. I also pay a lot of attention to the story behind a product, whether it be a used chair that has already served many people or a designer's incentive to create a certain product. For instance, I love the story of FDB Møbler's J166 Jørna chair, which Poul M. Volther designed for his wife Jørna to make sure she had enough space for knitting.
Quality, function and sustainability are equally important to me, but the thing I relate to first and foremost remains the same – I must love the item at first sight.”
As someone who clearly enjoys both decorating their home and sharing the joy of design, where do you seek inspiration for your own interior choices?
“My main sources of inspiration are people, colours, shapes, nature and everyday life. In nature, everything seems to have a soul, which probably stems from the fact that I see faces in many things. A conversation with a friend can inspire me just as much as a stone lying by the wayside. A lot of things happen unconsciously, which is why many ideas come to me at night or while I'm running – when distractions are blocked out, I can fully focus on the idea.”
“It is a combination of feelings, intuition and intention that creates my world of colours.”
Your home features skilfull colour combinations, both strong primary colours and softer, muted tones. Has the knack for colours come naturally to you, or is it a skill you've honed?
“I think it's a bit of both. Ever since I can remember, colours have triggered something special in me. It wasn't until my graphic design studies that I came across the term synaesthesia. Initially, I was surprised that this wasn't the case for everyone, as it has always been a part of me.
I have a subtype of genuine synaesthesia, where feelings trigger perceptions, like colour vision in my case. I am also able to see the finest nuances and distinguish a wide range of colours, known as tetrachromacy. My studies gave me the opportunity to delve deeper into colour theory and psychology.
These are among the reasons why I always have a certain colour balance, both in my home and my work. Contrasts in tones, materials and shapes allow me to breathe deeply. All in all, it is a combination of feelings, intuition and intention that creates my world of colours.”
Your account has a whopping 125,000 followers. How would you describe your Instagram community? Have you noticed topics that have caught on like wildfire?
“My community is very loyal, kind and creative, and I like the fact that it is growing slowly. Our kitchen renovation, especially painting the old tile grouts, has attracted the most attention lately. As we are renting our apartment, I spent a lot of time doing research on an inexpensive, low-key solution. Suddenly, there it was – a grout paint that could be used to spruce up old, run-down tile grout. I've rarely been asked about anything as often as that paint and its tone! I'm really happy that I was able to share the process with my community. Additionally, I showed moodboards for each room in advance, which was also very well received.”
“When painting a wall, think to yourself: what’s the worst that can happen? You can always repaint it!”
Do you have any tips for our readers on ways to add joyful colours to their own homes?
“Take your time to find out which colour type you are and what kind of effect hues have on you. Do vivid colours stimulate you or rather calm you down? I myself feel very stimulated by bright red hues, which I then avoid in spaces like the bedroom, but include in my office space.
When painting a wall, think to yourself: what’s the worst that can happen? You can always repaint it! Trial and error can be a great way to find out about your relation to colours, too.”
What are some of your most cherished design pieces?
“I am a big fan of Inga Sempé's designs, which you can tell by the trio of lamps by her in our home. I look up to Alvar Aalto, and the Belgian design duo Muller Van Severen's work has inspired me for a decade already. In fact, I don't have an absolute favourite – I like all things in our house equally, maybe one thing better today, another tomorrow.”
What are your plans for the future? Do you intend to take your Instagram account in a particular direction?
“I would like to start an interior design service including colour consulting in the near future. Since I run my Instagram account on the side, I would prefer it to grow organically as it has thus far, continuing to provide joy and inspiration. I think if I were to push the account forward like crazy, it would not suit me nor feel fun anymore. What I do on Instagram is 100% me, and I'd like to keep it that way.”
What are the FDS Influencer Awards?
THE FDS INFLUENCER AWARDS competition, organised by Finnish Design Shop, rewards and highlights the best design-focused content and its creators. The jury, consisting of Finnish Design Shop’s professionals and an international guest, chose winners in four categories and assigned three honourable mentions to established frontrunners. Additionally, the Community Favourite was determined by a public vote.
Text: Eero Nurmi Images: Swantje Hinrichsen