Constant Gardener: Charlotte Lynggaard, creative director of Ole Lynggaard Copenhagen. Portrait by Gregor Hohenberg.
Interview NATASHA INCHLEY Photographs MARK SEELEN
an you share a memory from your childhood about what, in particular, ignited your love of fine jewellery? My dad worked very hard, of course, when my brother Søren and I were growing up. But when he took his time with us, he was really present and he created, among other things, the most amazing costumes for us and also encouraged me to start sewing. I sewed my own clothes and bags, and really believed that I would one day be working in fashion. It is through jewellery, however, that I express myself best – it was the creative field that eventually inspired me most when choosing my career path. Ever since I was a little girl I always used my hands a lot: sewing, knitting, cooking and drawing. After high school I was in doubt as to whether I wanted to become a goldsmith, or work within commercial PR or pursue a career in fashion. I went to Paris and was lucky enough to work for a PR agency specialising in jewellery brands; here I realised I could combine most of my interests and my passion for jewellery and craftsmanship by entering my father’s company; the decision was clear.
Page Turner: above, the designer's home office and library; below, each room is filled with striking abstract works.
Your jewellery collections are wonderfully elegant and organic – how does your inspiration come to life and what is your ultimate mission? To design personalised and versatile jewellery that uses only the highest quality of metals and gemstones. I believe timeless jewellery should be worn everyday and not just on special occasions. Most of the jewellery is produced at the company's workshop north of Copenhagen where I work closely with 45 goldsmiths in the studio, handcrafting our unique designs. A major source of inspiration is always life's many contrasts – like the Scandinavian nature combined with inspiration from the strict Japanese style, whether it comes in the form of furnishings, clothing or in my jewellery designs. To me, designing is often about the contrast in colours, styles, mixing contemporary with the classic, the wild with the stylish or simplicity with some daring. I also find a lot of inspiration from my travels and from the people I meet. I am fascinated by women from different cultures, their different styles and life stories.
Creatively, one specific theme you keep returning to is … My passion for craftsmanship and close attention to detail is something that was passed on to me by my father and something that I will always carry with me in everything I do.
What mostly inspires me when designing is Scandinavian nature – the cold crisp light in wintertime changing to warm and blurry on long summer days, the forests, the sea. Having all this around me when growing up has definitely had a significant impact on my designs.
Romancing The Stone: above left, LOTUS earrings in 18ct yellow gold set with peridot, aquamarine, tourmaline and cabochon; necklace with large LOTUS pendant in 18ct yellow gold set with rutile quartz and diamonds, and LOTUS pendant in 18ct yellow gold set with aquamarine; right: SNAKES rings in 18ct yellow gold, with and without pavé diamonds; and SNAKES earrings in 18ct yellow gold, with and without diamonds, sold individually. Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This: below: her serene bedroom.
How do you style your own pieces – can you ever wear too much? And what are your recommendations for building the ultimate 'jewel wardrobe'? I do not have one style – sometimes I dress very romantically, other times I like to wear high heels and suits. I tend towards a look that is more bohemian. I think that is why our collections include an extensive range with very different designs. I can have my different moods and go through different stages of life, which is reflected in the collections, and then my father also has his own distinctive style. In terms of building the ultimate jewellery wardrobe, I would recommend not necessarily buying an entire look from one collection, but instead mixing and matching in order to create your own looks.
an you describe the influences in your home? The house is very much inspired by Japanese minimalism and decor. Japan is a new market for us and we spend a lot of time exploring Japan, our house reflects that passion. I think it is a timeless aesthetic, I particularly love the contrast of light and dark colours and the tranquillity – the Zen-like quality, that is everything that I wanted to take home and into my house.
What else makes your home feel so special? Home is where family and friends get together, where we share our everyday life, our celebrations and enjoy quiet times together or apart. Our home is the frame of our life and not at all a showroom – it’s a place where you feel welcome and safe and wish to return. The light in Scandinavia is very special, I especially love watching the light in the early morning time from my bedroom window, it fills me with energy and life.
Cooking and entertaining are your other great passions – what are your signature touches when it comes to hosting? We spend most of the time in the kitchen but it depends on the mood as each room has its own special atmosphere and light. The kitchen is definitely the heart of the house, where we spend a lot of time with family and friends. I love to stand in the kitchen for hours and cook a good meal for my children and all their friends or all our family – or everybody at once! I love it when our house is full of children, friends and family. We also embrace the nature around us. My husband Michel and my son Julius love to go down to the water and fish after work and school, and we all enjoy taking long walks in the forest and by the sea. When it comes to food, we love all kinds, but I like to use the seasonal vegetables and flowers from the garden. To me, it is not about caviar and champagne but choosing simple food with great flavours of high quality. Our house is always open and full of life, so I guess it's just a fact that anyone is always welcome, and they can come over whenever they feel like it. I love gathering my close family and friends that are very dear to me. When I mix these people I am always certain of a fantastic atmosphere and many great laughs.
Lunch Is Served: above, Charlotte's seasonal menu; and in the kitchen with her daughter Sofia.
Family Ties: above, the Lynggaard's four generations are all loyalists to the brand, which boasts a remarkable legacy – in 2008, the house was appointed Purveyor to the Danish Royal Court. Clockwise from top left, Emeli and Katrine Lynggaard, Søren Lynggaard’s daughters; Ole Lynggaard, the company founder, goldsmith and fine jewellery designer; Hanna Lynggaard, wife of Søren and the brand's retail manager; Søren Lynggaard, company CEO, holding their baby son Walter; Julius Lynggaard Normann, son of Michel Normann and Charlotte Lynggaard; Ella Lynggaard, daughter of Søren and Hanna; Michel Normann, company CCO and Charlotte's husband; Karin Lynggaard, wife of Ole; Laura Lynggaard Normann, daughter of Michel and Charlotte; and Charlotte Lynggaard, the company's jewellery designer and Creative Director.
hat is your ultimate indulgence? A perfectly indulgent day for me starts with a morning dip in the sea and then off to one of my favourite places, my garden. Gardening is so rewarding and fun. During the day I go for long walks with my family in the beautiful forest that is more or less connected to our garden. I also like to visit museums and exhibitions – Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Ordrup Gård located to the North of Copenhagen, are my favourites – as well as small art and vintage shops in Bredgade, Copenhagen. In my free time at the weekend, I also take the opportunity to really relax and immerse myself in creative mode. That is true luxury for me, to really find some time to dive deep into an idea.