Fatima Fransson is a furniture & set designer whose work seamlessly blends Scandinavian minimalism with the colourful artistry of West Africa.

Born and raised in Södermalm, Stockholm, Fatima was surrounded by creativity from an early age, thanks to her mother, a textile artist. This nurturing environment laid the groundwork for her future in design. In 2013, Fatima moved to Copenhagen to study at The Royal Danish Academy, specialising in Furniture & Object Design. Her education there provided a deep understanding of the interplay between space, form, and material, which is evident in her work today.

Fatima's professional journey has been shaped by distinguished mentors such as Monica Förster and scenographer Maja Ravn, as well as collaborations with esteemed brands like Balenciaga, Ikea x Virgil Abloh, Vogue, and SamsøeSamsøe. Her designs are characterised by a fusion of bold African motifs and sleek Scandinavian lines, creating spaces that are both culturally rich and aesthetically refined. Her ability to weave personal history and cultural narratives into her work has earned her a prominent place in the design world.

Her family summer home in Österlen, Skåne, where our interview takes place, is a testament to her design philosophy. The 1840s farmhouse, which she has meticulously renovated, serves as a sanctuary and a creative playground. Here, Fatima experiments with vintage furniture and design concepts, drawing inspiration from her heritage and the surrounding natural beauty. The home, a blend of historic charm and modern innovation, reflects her commitment to creating spaces that are meaningful and enduring.

As she continues to split her time between Copenhagen and Stockholm, Fatima remains dedicated to exploring new design frontiers. She is collaborating with ReFramed for the launch of the brand's first ever showcase in June 2024 for 3 days of design in the city, leading the creative direction for an installation called a “Dreamers sanctuary.

ReFramed: So, let’s start from the beginning: who are you and how did you get here today?

Fatima: I've always been curious about finding ways to communicate with people and searched for challenges in the creative field to grow as an artist. In 2013, I moved from Stockholm to study Furniture & Object Design for five years at The Royal Danish Academy of Architecture, Design, and Conservation in Copenhagen. Studying there provided me with an in-depth understanding of spaces, forms, and materials, and how to take an idea and apply it to a specific craft. During my master’s, I developed an interest in scenography and set design, leading to my first project for Elle Sweden and the IKEA x Virgil Abloh campaign “Markared.” Since then, my work spans from campaigns, advertising, editorials, fashion shows, and films to installations. I've worked with clients like Balenciaga, Highsnobiety, Marimekko, Zara, and Vogue.

RF: Growing up around your mother, a textile artist, what early influences of her work, as well as introductions to other artists, shaped you? How do those influences come through in your work today?

FF: Growing up in Södermalm, Stockholm’s cultural heart, with a mother who is a textile artist, being creative and discussing art and design were natural for me. I attended a Waldorf primary school that valued theory, art, and craft equally. I realised early on that design and craft were my means of expression and understood how aesthetic expressions affect our lives and how ideas can be put into practice.

RF: In previous interviews, you’ve mentioned important teachers like Monica Förster and scenographer Maja Ravn. How have they influenced your view of the world and your creation of sets and objects?

FF: Furniture designer Monica Förster and scenographer Maja Ravn have been significant inspirations, shaping my professional path. They are powerful women in a male-dominated industry, creating designs that combine function and meaningful stories reflecting our times. My mother also instilled in me the value of hard work to achieve my goals.

RF: How does your West African heritage influence your work? What are the stylistic characteristics in your furniture and set design?

FF: I grew up in a home blending Scandinavian design with West African art—strong colours, patterns, and craftsmanship. This aesthetic mix remains in my set design and furniture. My “Fulani” floor lamp, a master project, highlights my Togolese heritage, using African braiding techniques symbolising strength, resistance, freedom, love, and power. The lamp focuses on the attributes of hair braiding in tradition and renewal, working with light and shadow.

RF: How do you ensure your work remains relevant and reflective of contemporary issues?

FF: My work involves understanding the client's vision and the environment for which I'm creating. Whether it's film, still life, editorial, or installation, I choose the appropriate medium through sketches, drawings, and workshops. My work always questions our time, history, and existence.

RF: We’re seeing a new wave of art and creativity from Africa and the black diaspora. Through your Luminary Prize award, how do you see yourself reconnecting with your roots in Togo, and what are your plans for the grant money?

FF: The Luminary Prize, a creative development grant from Sneakersnstuff and Nike, supports female creative talent across the Nordics. Africa is vast, yet modern culture from there rarely reaches the Western world, and is often portrayed negatively. I plan to use the grant to travel to Togo, researching and participating in the Togolese film industry, set design, production, and crafts. I aim to collaborate with young creatives, bringing new cultural perspectives to the creative process. My journey will be documented through pictures and videos on my Instagram, website, and Artofficial Agency’s platforms.

RF: I’d love to talk about your family home in Sweden. Can you tell me a little bit about it?

FF: The house is located in Österlen in Skåne, often called the Swedish "French Riviera" because of its beautiful nature, white sandy beaches, and flowering hills. My mom grew up in the area but lived in Stockholm for most of her adult life. In 2012, she bought this old farmhouse to convert into a summer house and reconnect with her homeland. Built in 1840, the property includes a main building and a stable, which has been converted into a smaller second house that I now use. We kept the original fittings, which give the space character, such as the high ceilings and square layout. We've been renovating it slowly since 2012, including the overgrown garden. My mom moved here permanently two years ago, and I visit as often as possible.

RF: How involved have you been in the renovation process?

FF: I've been very involved. It's been both an individual and collective effort. My mom has managed her house and garden, while I focused on the converted stable. I've selected all the furniture from auctions and local flea markets, repainted the entire house from pink and brown to white, and overseen any renovations I couldn't do myself.

RF: Talk to me about the process a bit more. What references and moods did you have in mind?

FF: I think carefully before investing and use the principle "one in, one out" to avoid an overloaded home. I spent hours at online auctions and visiting flea markets and antique shops in Österlen during the summers. Vintage pieces give modern interiors an extra dimension, adding cultural and historical context while being environmentally friendly.

I'm influenced by my father, who is from Togo, and my Swedish mother. This combination of vibrant African colours and shapes with Scandinavian design was my foundation. From there, I explored pop art and futurism from the 60s and 70s, mixed with 20th-century and Bauhaus interior designs. It's important that the objects I surround myself with have personal value, create atmosphere, and are durable.

RF: What role does your summer home play in your life?

FF: In Copenhagen, I live on one of the busiest streets and lead a hectic life with projects and events. The summer house in Sweden is a place where I can take my time, recharge creatively and mentally, and find peace with the sounds of nature. Despite occasional hectic renovations or side projects my mom involves me in, the space is a playground for me. I'm privileged to have a big open area to experiment with different furniture, lights, and art, which influences my own creative process as well as work with clients.

RF: Talk to me about some of your favourite furniture and most sentimental items in your summer house.

FF: My favourites include the LC4 lounge chair by Le Corbusier, the space-age Orix desk by Vittorio Parigi, and the Red Blue Chair by Gerrit Rietveld. Sentimentally, I have an old Garfield phone from the 80s that belonged to my mom. It reminds me of my childhood, calling friends on it. Although it doesn't work anymore, it's an iconic piece. Another cherished item is the Verner Panton "Vilbert" chair, which my mom bought from IKEA in the 90s for 50 Kroner during a collaboration. I vividly remember sitting on this chair as a child, drawn to its colours and geometric shapes. These pieces hold the most memories and are the only items from my childhood in Stockholm.