Swantje Hinrichsen is an art director, graphic designer and illustrator from Germany. Her Christmas gift picks for Finnish Design Shop were chosen with a keen eye for visual language and deep love for Scandinavian design.
SWANTJE HINRICHSEN, where will you be spending Christmas this year?
“Like the last two years, my partner and I are going to the northern Dutch coast. For me, Christmas has become a celebration of 'too much' in recent years. Too many expectations, too much food, too much pressure, too many gifts. Too much of everything. That's why we've been giving each other time together for three years now. Just the two of us and long beach walks, cosy hours by the fireplace and tasty food. For one week. Fortunately, we both have families who understand that and have no hard feelings about the fact that we are not in Germany for Christmas.”
Do you have any Christmas traditions?
“I love the tradition of the Advent calendar. As a child, I really liked the big ones made of paper the most, and every day I was curious about the drawing that was hidden behind the paper doors. This year we bought 24 vegan homemade pralines from a baker and are looking forward to tasting the different variations.
Since my birthday is on December 5th, the eve of St. Nicholas Day, I always liked it when I was a child that on the evening of my birthday, a boot was put outside in front of the door and richly filled with sweets and nuts the next morning. So it felt like I had another birthday.”
Do you make your Christmas cards yourself?
“Oh yes, of course! Since I was five years old, I have been crafting all the cards to all the festivities myself. Painting, drawing, cutting, glueing; it was and still is a completely special time, which belongs only to me and I simply can relax so delightfully when doing this. Unfortunately, there is one drop of bitterness in this regard: I hardly ever get homemade cards from others myself. I heard them whisper that they don't dare because they are afraid that they won't live up to my expectations. But that's absolute nonsense. It doesn't matter to me what they look like, but that there is a lot of love and time in it.”
Swantje Hinrichsen's 6 Christmas gift ideas:
1. To my mom
“When I met my mom last Saturday and we went to an interior shop, she told me that she’s looking for a new lamp with a clean shape for her dining table. I immediately thought of this Annular ceiling lamp by Woud, and also could imagine three of them hanging above her long table. I would love to give her the first one as a Christmas gift and lovely surprise.”
2. To my boyfriend
“My boyfriend and I have only been giving each other one thing for Christmas for a few years now, and that's spending time together. Maybe this time I'll make a tiny, lovely exception. Because my boyfriend has been wishing for a new bread box for such a long time now and since I've already been admiring Skagerak's Norr bread box, I'd like to give him a little joy with it. Plus, since he is an enthusiastic cook and loves all kinds of knives, I would like to put the Norr chef's knife by Fiskars in the bread box.”
3. To my boyfriend's parents
“Every time the parents of my boyfriend visit us, they discover something new that they think is a beautiful design piece. Especially my boyfriend's father is a sucker for great interior things, particularly lights. I myself have the white Matin lamp at home and the last time he stood in front of it and admired it, I knew what we would give them for Christmas. I have been a fan of Inga Sempé and her designs for years. I deeply admire her sense for colors, details and intelligent solutions, and she inspires me again and again.”
4. To my niece
“My niece just started primary school this summer, and I think both of these gifts – the Alphabet spaghetti poster and the Face Clock – are perfect for her room. Plus I just love everything All The Way To Paris does, especially the work for MADO. The Face Clock might not be a thing to learn the clock, but who cares. I prefer to combine fun with learning anyway. And look at all these clock faces, I love it. Maybe deep in my consciousness, I’m wishing this clock for myself – in all colors, haha!”
5. To myself
“In April 2020, I am going to move into a new office and will have a room just for myself – something you need when you get older! I will share the whole studio space with two lovely girls with whom I went to clay courses in November. This Strøm pitcher by Raawii would be a gift to myself to put into the new studio and to keep the waiting time until April pleasant.”
6. To a close friend
“We got to know each other very closely through our common passion for design, interiors, and our love for materials and spaces in which you find huge portions of inspiration and serenity. I’d love to give this book by Norm Architects and Kinfolk to this very special human being as a sign of our wonderful friendship.”
Edit: Nora Uotila Portrait: Ute Friederike Schernau Images: Manufacturers