Interior designer Patrik Lönn. Photograph by Larry Bercow of Bercow Studio

The Collective Questionnaire

Patrik Lönn

By Megan Deem
December 29, 2017

The New York City interior designer is a master of powerful understatement

Although he’s been living in New York City for 25 years, native Swede Patrik Lönn hasn’t lost his taste for the clean, spare modernism that is the hallmark of Scandinavian design. A quick scan of his Instagram turns up light-filled rooms, neutral tones, and subtle textures. “For me, form follows function,” he says. “My Scandinavian roots come through in my design language.” The results may be understated, but the effect is anything but boring.

Q: How do you make a sleek space more intimate?

A: I like using textures, because they kind of hug you a bit. You feel comfy if you sit on a sofa that has a bit of nubbiness to it. Or curl up under a cashmere throw. I generally don’t use a lot of patterns, but I’ll mix textures, such as tweed and fur.

This 20 East End Avenue apartment has an enormous living room with high ceilings, which Lönn says made it a true design challenge. He solved it with large scale artwork and multiple seating groups. Photograph by Phillip Ennis
This 20 East End Avenue apartment has an enormous living room with high ceilings, which Lönn says made it a true design challenge. He solved it with large scale artwork and multiple seating groups. Photograph by Phillip Ennis

Q: Any other tricks?

A: Lately, I’ve been using large-scale photography. It has a huge impact, but it doesn’t feel unfriendly.

Q: As we approach colder temperatures especially, how do you combine a love of modern design with a desire for a cozy space?

A: One way is to add accessories. I tend to like little collections, like five beautiful Swedish crystal vases arranged together. Sometimes when you come into a very sleek, contemporary interior, it feels a little bit like you’re going to a museum of modern art or one of those Italian furniture stores. I don’t want that effect. And so while initially, you may think of the vases as clutter, I think you’ll see that they make the space cozy and comfy, yet still feel modern.

Dark brown lacquered wallpaper provides a sense of warmth and intimacy in this den at 20 East End Avenue. Photograph by Phillip Ennis
Dark brown lacquered wallpaper provides a sense of warmth and intimacy in this den at 20 East End Avenue. Photograph by Phillip Ennis

Q: And that’s because the items themselves are so sleek.

A: Yes, exactly. If you’re a real purist, I think it’s almost like a swear word to say, “decorative pillows” and “window treatments.” You want to have clean surfaces, less clutter. It’s very plain, but, to me, it doesn’t have much soul because you haven’t added that last layer.

The views from a penthouse at the Baccarat Hotel and Residences called for a sleek contemporary interior. Photograph by Phillip Ennis
The views from a penthouse at the Baccarat Hotel and Residences called for a sleek contemporary interior. Photograph by Phillip Ennis

Q: Do you have any tips for sourcing online?

A: One thing I’ve noticed is that people often try to put together whole looks, and that can be tricky online when it comes to scale, proportion, sizes, and dimensions. I always advise my clients to take a step back and just make sure that every piece they’re buying would fit in a room and that the scale is right, proportion-wise.

Q: Because you don’t want to end up with a room crammed full of furniture.

A: Right. I used to teach a bit at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and the younger designers would go online a lot and purchase without checking all those things. So the pieces come, and they’re totally out of scale because it looks really different from the photograph. So you just have to envision it, measure it, map it out, do your due diligence. You’ll be happier that way.

Bringing in large contemporary art helped anchor the space and added another layer of color and texture to this Baccarat Hotel and Residences living room. Photograph by Phillip Ennis
Bringing in large contemporary art helped anchor the space and added another layer of color and texture to this Baccarat Hotel and Residences living room. Photograph by Phillip Ennis

Patrik Lönn Shops Collective
The designer’s picks among the pieces for sale.

Paul Evans Parsons-style table
The Paul Evans Parsons tables are not only usually well-priced but also extremely versatile in their use—and often in excellent condition.

Maison Ramsay center table
Maison Ramsay is one of my favorite vintage furniture makers in France. This clean-lined center coffee table can work in any design scheme.

Venini mirror
I am a big fan of Venini glassware; I use many of their vintage chandeliers and sconces. I particularly selected this mirror because it is very rare to find Venini mirrors.

Crystal, bone, and soft fabrics made this Baccarat Hotel and Residences guest room feel intimate. Photograph by Phillip Ennis
Crystal, bone, and soft fabrics made this Baccarat Hotel and Residences guest room feel intimate. Photograph by Phillip Ennis