F5: What Keeps Jesper Ståhl From His Cappuccino?

Jesper Stahl headshot

Swedish designer Jesper Ståhl is well-known for his distinct Scandinavian design. His meticulous attention to detail and care for the user can be seen in his creative process, as well as in his own twist in the results. His work spans from furniture to lighting to cutlery to tools and accessories. Jesper has designed furniture for Design House Stockholm, bathrooms for Vedum, smartphone cases for Nudient, a bicycle for Skeppshult, and lighting fixtures for Lystra.

Jesper has a Master’s Degree from Royal College of Art London and has received numerous awards, including the Red Dot Design Award, three time winner of Elle Decoration Design Award, Swecast, Designplus and Design S – Swedish Design Award. His understanding and curiosity in technology, excellence in execution and visual sensitivity has become his hallmark. In his own words: Design is … and … But without that gut feeling, it is nothing.

Today Jesper is joining us for Friday Five!

pencil shavings

Photo: Orjån Henriksson

1. HB Pencil
I carry with me a Moleskine sketchbook and an HB pencil at all times. My main asset is my creativity, and using pen and paper is still the quickest way to explore, to put down thoughts and ideas when they appear. I don’t primarily do sketching to make neat presentations – that is drawing. Sketching is for exploration, to test ideas, to note thoughts that otherwise soon could pass you by. To let the drawing talk back to you, instantly giving you feedback. Sketching is an iterative process, so an HB pencil is probably my most essential tool.

vinyl record detail

2. Music
Music is my muse, a constant source feeding my creativity. When I was younger, my goal was to become a musician, but being a drummer I realized that I was not front and center. So I shifted towards design, and soon found this to be my true calling. In my studio I have my collection of vinyl and I love to browse through my 80s electronic music, the soundtracks of my life. I can’t imagine life without music.

espresso tamp

Photo: Orjån Henriksson

3. Cappuccino
First thing I do as I arrive in my design studio is to power up my Rocket Espresso Machine from Milan. I enjoy the art of making cappuccino, it is not a science, it is a craft. As I am very focused when working, I often find myself forgetting time. The cappuccino is my pause. Just like an artist, any creative person needs moments to move back from the work at hand, to reflect and see things from a different angle. I sometimes find myself making the espresso, mixing in the foam milk and then forgetting to drink the cappuccino as, in the act of doing this, will get a new idea.

vintage Apple products

Photo: Jesper Ståhl

4. Mac
I bought my first Mac in 1989. As it was hard to get in Sweden in those early days, I imported it from the US. Since then I am hooked. I realized I could combine my interests in photography, graphic design and technology. I found a tool to express my creativity! I soon turned to digital 3D modeling in the early 90s, while at the Royal College of Art in London. And I still do all my 3D modeling (in Alias), visualization, 3D printing, layout and presentations on a Mac. Thank you Apple, I would not have been able to harness my creativity without you.

worn shoes

Photo: Orjån Henriksson

5. IRL
Of five things important to me and my creativity, one would be the importance of input, to experience things first hand, “In real life”. Not only read and watch other people’s experiences and conclusions, but to make your own memories, to find your own angle on things. I believe in the idea of needing great input in order to achieve great output. To find your own understanding and interpretation of things, to look for your own point of view. To explore places, people, architecture, art. So put on your shoes and start walking, start indulging yourself in experiences. Look for alternative points of view. Don’t simply walk in other people’s footsteps, take a walk in your own shoes, find your own path.

Work by Jesper Ståhl:

phone cases

Nudient V3 for iPhone 12

Nudient V3
We’ve been working to create the most thin and precise phone case design on the market. Whilst adding features such as an inside felt and integrated magnets, we also want to reduce clutter and keep the case minimalistic. Using 3D design to explore the full detail of the products, we focused on what was essential. Each phone case comes with a hidden inside message, something only to been seen by the owner. Sometimes design, and life, is about your own satisfaction of knowing what is inside, not necessarily visible to everyone.


Stockholm Cutlery for Design House Stockholm

Stockholm – Cutlery for Design House Stockholm
Designing a collection of cutlery and kitchen tools is the ultimate design project. It involves the functional aspects of ergonomics and production, but also artistic expression — strong visual, emotional and tactile qualities. It’s a collection of everyday jewelry. My Stockholm cutlery combines streamlined matte-polished stainless steel with smooth black handles. Details like volume, balance and weight — the tactile characteristics of the material and the way in which the tools lie in the hand — all contribute to the total impression of the meal.

Kelly Beall is senior editor at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based graphic designer and writer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, and enjoys sharing her finds with others. When undistracted by great art and design, she can be found making a mess in the kitchen, consuming as much information as possible, or on the couch with her three pets. Find her @designcrush on social.