“Design should reflect identity”

4 min reading time
Cajsa Wessberg is an illustrator, artist and model. A native of Sweden, she interprets Scandinavian style in her own unique way and questions the mainstream and our viewing habits – not least by sporting her own personal interpretation, a buzz haircut.

9 March 2020

We talked with Cajsa in Munich about why design and creativity are an expression of personality, how she spots trends, and also deliberately develops a counterposition. She also comes face to face with the BMW Concept i4 for the first time.

Watch the video and get to know Cajsa Wessberg

The thrill of the unknown

Wessberg's trademark buzz cut, which might be blonde, pink or blue depending on her mood, lets you know right away that she isn't afraid to try out new things. Shaving off your hair takes some gumption, but for this Swedish bundle of energy it was a pivotal moment. “It's an expression of my personality,” explains Wessberg. “People still have fixed gender images in their head. A woman has to look a certain way, and long hair is just one of many status symbols. I'm not afraid to explore the unfamiliar or to experiment with different looks.”

Her look is polarizing, and because she doesn't adhere to the conventional, she's sometimes criticized for what she does. “Obviously, I can't know what to expect when I publish one of my illustrations or take an unusual photo. But I have my vision. I want my work and my designs to be an expression of myself. My opinions. My emotions. And even if some people shy away from a strong personality, it's exactly that kind of honest self-awareness that my identity is about,” says Wessberg. Her friends play a key role in her creative process because they give her their unbiased opinions – which is exactly what she needs. Especially when something doesn't go as planned. “You always have setbacks,” says Wessberg with a grin, “but I've learned a lot from them, and I know that no matter how far I fall, I'll always land on my feet.”

It's important not to read too much into things – often I create something just because it's fun.
Cajsa Wessberg

Back to the future

Wessberg's illustrations are just as colorful, authentic, playful and unconventional as her outfits. “Scandinavian cool” is how she refers to her style, for which she often finds inspiration in the past.

“I like to be inspired by designs and fabrics from the beginning of the 19th century, and also by the Vikings, Picasso and the 1960s,” states Wessberg. A rich palette from which she creates her individual style. And when do her best ideas come to her? “Mostly at the most random times and places when I'm not expecting them. I find inspiration in talking with friends, commercials, a walk in the forest. I find I'm especially creative in the shower because I can really think there.”

Wessberg finds a great deal of her ideas in nature. Spending time in the middle of a Swedish forest in a wood cabin that's been in her family for over 200 years is one of her main sources of inspiration. “Our vacation house is a very special place for me, a place I can retreat to, a place where I feel safe and sheltered. When I was a kid, we spent a lot of vacations there, and it's a wonderful feeling to know that I can go there any time to gather new inspiration.”

Her crystal blue eyes have an engaging energy that beam self-confidence – but Wessberg seems almost shy when she talks about herself.

The courage to follow your own vision

The bubbly Swede has another talent that she relies on – her feel for trends. “Be it for fashion or design, I really enjoy looking for and trying to discover what the next big influence is going to be.” And Wessberg's instincts are often right. “One day after getting up, I decided to keep my pajamas on. I used the top for an office-look. And a little while later pajama-inspired tops were actually part of fashion shoots and the talk of the town.” Wessberg notes that while trends give you a good framework, you need to add your own personal touch to them.

For me, design should always be a reflection of your identity. And what's better than a car with a strong personality?
Cajsa Wessberg

Car as living room

And how is her instinct when it comes to car trends? How would she design the interior? Wessberg doesn't have to think for long. Talking about the silhouette of the BMW Concept i4, she says “I like the organic, less industrial look. It has a captivating dynamic. We'll be seeing more nature-inspired elements in the future. More handworked wood, intelligent fabrics – designs for all the senses.”

“I would put a nice lamp in the car of tomorrow,” notes Wessberg. “Light has such a magical effect. And a plush blanket, plus a holder for two cups of tea or coffee. For me, design should always be a reflection of your identity. And what's better than a car with a strong personality?”

Photos: Markus Burke; Author: Markus Löblein

THE CONCEPT i4

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