• photography Christopher Nying courtsy of the artist

    Hank Grüner: Bridging Cultures and Transformative Mythology in Public Art

    Written by Art Editor

    We met up with the artist Hank Grüner (b.1991 Bogota, Colombia) who currently lives and works in Stockholm. Grüner approaches his artistic practice from a place of adoption, resulting in a personal history and deeply personal experiences, paired with an exploration of cultural heritage, belonging, and transformative mythology. He portrays these themes in his latest exhibition ’Signs from above’, which features six sculptural works displayed over 96 square meters on the facade of Sthlm02 Studion, a creative initiative by Skanska Fastigheter in Hammarby Sjöstad.
    Grüner is represented by Coulisse Gallery in Stockholm. His previous exhibitions include solo shows at Bam Berlin, Galleri Thomassen, and the Swedish Embassy in Paris, among others. He has also gained attention for his collaboration with Our Legacy.

    Why are you doing an exhibition in Hammarby Sjöstad?
    I have dreamt about creating something this big for a long time, that dream also involved creating something public that would reach people on a bigger scale. This peace will be a part of peoples daily routine, their way to work and schools. My goal is always to reach people that normally don’t get in touch with art and that also makes the form of public art even more appealing to me. The opportunity to make this artwork came through the building company Skanska, which I am really grateful for.

    Tell us more about your background.
    I was born in Colombia and came to Sweden and my new family when I was three months. My whole life has been coloured by the fact that I was adopted. The question of What if? That sliding doors moment. When I create something, I always include those questions and sometimes I find answers in my creations. I find time after time that my heritage is set deep into my bones, how I paint flowers and patterns with colors that are so significant for my Colombian heritage and typical for where I came from.
    I am not traditional in how I work, I never finished any art school and learned most of what I know through my mentor and former boss Christopher Nying, founder and CD of Our Legacy. My work includes paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and more.

    Describe your creative process for this project.
    My assignment was to fill 96 square meters divided into 6 different spaces along a house facade. The spacing made me think of a theatre scene and display windows and how they tell a story. I also took a lot of inspiration from the stage, and how a performance took place on the stage that I created through my artwork. The thought from the beginning was to make a huge painting but I wanted to take it one step further and create something more 3D. The result is cutouts of wood, creating layers of shapes that I painted in stain colours. This is by far the biggest project I made and I needed a big space to work in, Skanska provided me with a 1000 square meter temporary studio next to the house that I was supposed to decorate. The studio is on the ninth floor overlooking the city, and the name signs from above became pretty obvious. Since this period of creating this piece has taken place at the same time as I just became a parent, this time in my life truly special. I have worked through nights watching the sun both set and come up over the city, this process will be a memory that I will carry through my life.

    Do you have any other exciting projects coming up? We heard something about Milan?
    Yes, it’s true that I have a project coming up in Milan. For the first time, I will exhibit a series of photos which I think is super exiting. The photos are portraying boat engines and how people cover them in blankets to protect them from wind, sand, and salt. The exhibition is a collaboration with Our Legacy and will be shown at their showroom in Milan during fashion week.

    Hank Grüner is currently featured in an exhibition in the new area Sthlm New in Hammarby Sjöstad, opening on June 12 from 5 to 7 PM.

    photography Thomas Klementsson courtsy of the artist
    photography Thomas Klementsson courtsy of the artist
    photography Thomas Klementsson courtsy of the artist
    photography Thomas Klementsson courtsy of the artist
    photography Thomas Klementsson courtsy of the artist
    photography Thomas Klementsson courtsy of the artist
  • photography, post production & fashion Olivia Arte 

    sweater Henrietta Frihammar

    An Interview With Swedish Actress and Singer Hanna Björn

    Written by Emelie Bodén by Sandra Myhrberg

    Hanna Björn is a Swedish actress and singer, born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden. She plays the female lead role in the current NETFLIX series “CLARK - Based on Truth and Lies” directed by Jonas Åkerlund, with Bill Skarsgård as Clark Olofsson.

    Have you always envisioned a career in acting, or were there particular experiences or moments that solidified your passion for this art form?
    Since I was 3, I’ve had a great passion for acting and singing, and I’ve always known that it is what I want to dedicate my life to. Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of friends, so a strategy I often tried was that I wrote and directed plays, hoping the children in my class would like me. It didn’t really work, hehe, but at least I had fun? Acting and writing was also a way of keeping yourself company. When I was 10 I got accepted to Adolf Fredriks Musikklasser, where I finally met some friends who shared the same interests. A year later, I got the dream job to sing in the children’s choir at the Royal Opera in Stockholm. This reeeeallly mesmerized me, with the enchanting world of an opera house. The scent of stagemakeup and powder, standing on a stage, costumes, the lights.. It was everything I ever dreamed of and that experience really solidified my passion.

    Since your debut movie Min så kallade pappa, how do you feel your acting technique and approach to your acting have evolved?
    Haha.. The short answer is that I’ve really started to trust myself as an actress and I’ve learned how to play the situation instead of playing an emotional state. Acting is like languages, you have to practise and exercise it. It's a never ending education in which one can never become considered “done”, which also makes it so exciting and fun!! It's an artform where everything is about being a human, and you can really take your broken heart and make it into art (Carrie Fischer). Through the years I've studied at various schools and tried to take advantage of every lesson and make the most out of it. But I must say, something really clicked for me in 2019 when I was studying at Stockholm University of the Arts with an acting coach named Matthew Allen. He really made me understand things that I had read about but never fully understood until then and how to practise those things on stage/screen. And as a good teacher should be, he was always reminding us about how we/I was the one doing the job, not him. I’ve also learned how patient you have to be, how persistent and almost.. a little bit crazy not to give up in this business.

    Do you have any unique methods or rituals that you employ to prepare for your roles?
    These are not unique methods / rituals but.. It all starts with the text, so first I learn the lines, really, really well. From that, with the scene analysis, I start asking and answering a lot of questions. The five w:s I think I do mostly because it really gets your imagination going. I try a lot of things, for the purpose of trying to figure out Why I say these lines, in What context, What is that saying about my character and mostly; What do I want from the person I’m talking to? What do I want to change in the other person? I can do this for hours because I think it’s so fun!! Creating backstory, and doing exercises like for example: if I (the character) was saying this as a shark / cat / cow, how would I be saying it?

    Your role in the Netflix series Clark garnered significant attention. Could you share your experience working on this project? How did this role challenge you as an actor, and what did you find most rewarding about bringing this character to life?
    Working on Clark was one of the most exciting experiences I’ve ever had..It’s always fun to be able to work with a character for such a long time. To do research, listen to all the music, dive into that period of time..To create an arch for my character,  thinking about how these years were affecting her, why things were important to her, why she stayed with a person like Clark… How to justify her letting him disappear, being a notorious cheater and constantly lying to her. Sometimes I just decided ”She knows  but she’s so tired of being lied to / she’s too much in love and lets him get away with it. I remember at one point I thought, maybe Maria thinks ”Everyone wants to lock him up, put a ring on him and tell him what to do, but that only makes him run away even more, so I’m not gonna do that”.
    Also working with a visual genious like Jonas (Åkerlund, director), and Bill (Skarsgård, leading co-star), who is one of the most brave and dedicated actors I’ve met. They’re both really, really good and inspiring, and they were also the ones making me step out of my comfort zone sometimes. Like, I wouldn’t say I’m a dancer, I’ve not portrayed one before, and I definitely don’t have politcally monologues going on during… you know what I mean ;)
    Mostly I learned what's working for me and what's not. Also that the lines can change the same day but I can still do it, the character work is done.   I don't always have to be a perfectionist.

    You are also playing one of the lead roles in the upcoming movie Järnridån in which you speak russian. How challenging was it to undertake a role that required you to perform in a different language? Could you describe the specific difficulties you faced and the strategies you employed to authentically portray your character in a non-native tongue?
    I love languages and it’s always been a goal to act in another language. In this project some of the script involved Tatiana’s letter scene from ”Eugene Onegin'', which would be a little bit challenging to do even in swedish. Not only because it’s so well known, it’s a verse novel which is not the most common thing to do when acting on screen. I'm a massive fan of Tchaikovsky and already knew some of the lines, knew the text since before and knew I related to Tatiana  (one of the best heroïnes in m.o). Then I had help with pronunciation from my beloved friend and assisting director of the film, Alyona. I tried to think of how I would speak the lines if I was expressing them as myself, so the same thing you kind of always do. The challenge with Järnridån was more of the subject, that we were doing a film about a current  world situation, a trauma that was ongoing and still is, directly affecting the people doing the film and how to be respectful about it. So that was a fear I guess, and it became kind of meta when I was building the part.
    The fantastic thing about Film and theatre is that you can reflect over situations and  try things that would cost too much to try in reality. I think we were a great team, supporting one another and  I’m so grateful to have been working with my director Alexandra Dahlström, a.d. Alena Izmestieva and co-star Alexej Manvelov.

    sweater & boots Henrietta Frihammar
    dress Elvita Ismayilova

    boots, rings and earrings Stylist's Own

    photography, post production & fashion Olivia Arte

    hair, makeup & Nails Tereza Luyirika

    photography assistant Hunter Shelley


    foundation Shiseido syncro skin radiant

    concealer Laura Mercier flawless fusion ultra longwear

    contour Gucci Westman face trace contour stick

    bronzer Chanel les beiges

    brows Makeup Forever aqua resist brow definer

    Mac Cosmetics  dazzle shadow liquid

    Natasha Denona eyeshadow palette

    blush Mac Cosmetics

    lips Mac Cosmetics lip pencil


    Mr Smith foundation

    Maria Nila style spray

    Pink Ribbon Hair Stylist's Own

    nails Essie

  • Harriet Allure: An Interview with Founders Alex and Freddy

    Written by Jahwanna Berglund

    Alex and Freddy, the creative minds behind Harriet Allure, have shared a remarkable journey that began with a lifelong friendship. This deep connection paved the way for their collaborative venture. Despite pursuing different career paths, they maintained close contact, leading to the inception of Harriet Allure in 2019.

    Their story took a transformative turn when Alex joined an exchange program in Sweden, and Freddy took a job in Berlin. Experiencing new, unfamiliar environments highlighted the importance of creating a sense of home. This shared experience underscored the power of fragrance to evoke comfort and familiarity, inspiring the creation of Harriet Allure.

    From their unique backgrounds and shared experiences, Alex and Freddy have crafted a brand that bridges continents and evokes cherished memories through carefully curated scents and artisanal craftsmanship. Harriet Allure stands out not only for its distinctive, handcrafted candles but also for the rich, cultural stories each fragrance tells, making every candle a journey in itself.

    What inspired you to create Harriet Allure, and how did your personal backgrounds influence you to the start?

    Freddy and I have been friends from birth. Our parents were Friends way before we were alive, so we always had this strong brotherhood bond our whole life. We grew up together and always stayed in contact, even if we both pursued different career paths in life. So the initial spark that later turned into Harriet Allurer was back in 2019, when (me) Alex started an exchange program in Sweden and Freddy accepted a job offer in Berlin as we both pursued to live in a completely new and unknown environment. Feeling at home in a new environment is not always immediate, and scented candles play a crucial role in making each new place feel like home. Especially during the dark winters in Sweden and the heightened indoor hours due to the pandemic, the comforting aroma of a candle became an essential part of our routine. The ritual of settling into a new, possibly empty apartment with a scented candle became a source of comfort and familiarity.

    This experience taught us that ‘home’ is not confined to a single place; it can be embraced in different locations and among different people. The realization of this privilege struck us during a taxi ride in Bali in the summer of 2022. Inspired by the power of fragrances and the way they transport us to distinct places, we understood the deep impact of scents on memory. Specific events, like childhood, the aroma of a market in Accra, Ghana, became powerful memories—a fusion of humidity, tropical vibrancy, earthiness, and bustling market aromas. It was within these shared experiences that Harriet Allure was born, a brand founded on a shared journey

    Can you share some insights into the journey of sourcing and incorporating scents from different cultures into your candle collection?

    Our journey to source and incorporate scents from diverse cultures into our candle collection was both challenging and deeply rewarding. Extensive research was required to find suppliers and production artisans who shared our commitment to sustainability.
    Drawing inspiration from our diverse backgrounds, including German, Ghanaian, Swedish, and European influences, we aimed to create fragrances and shapes that resonate globally. Our primary goal was to develop a distinctive and recognizable shape for our candles, reflecting our brand's ethos of celebrating diversity and individuality. Leveraging our experience in pottery, we were drawn to organic forms for their unique beauty, showcasing the uniqueness of our journey. Simultaneously, we aimed for the jars to be reusable after the candles burned out. To achieve this, we collaborated with artisans in Portugal, known for their expertise in sustainable practices. Clay as a material is sensitive and goes through many steps. Achieving consistency in handmade, organic shapes while ensuring an optimal burning experience required careful consideration of the jar's irregular dimensions and form. Collaborating with sculptors and 3D designers, we explored various shapes until finding one that met both our aesthetic preferences and practical burning requirements. Coordinating closely with candle production, we ensure compatibility between jars and scented candles, scaling up production while maintaining quality. After thorough evaluation, we visited our selected production in Portugal to verify their capabilities firsthand. The 'ah-ha' moment came when we realized that the organic, sculptural shape not only reflected our brand ethos but also allowed for unique, handcrafted pieces that celebrated individuality. While each piece appeared similar at first glance, the subtle differences resulting from the handmade process reinforced our brand essence. This realization motivated us to use recycled clay and collaborate with artisans to bring our vision to life. Collaborating with perfumers in Grasse, France, we refined these cultural scents, blending them with precision to create evocative fragrances that tell stories.

    How does the process of crafting a Harriet Allure candle reflect the brand's ethos of bridging continents and evoking memories?

    The crafting process of a Harriet Allure candle truly embodies our brand's ethos of bridging continents and evoking memories. Drawing from our German and Ghanaian heritage, we infuse each candle with a blend of cultural influences. For instance, our founders, Alex and Freddy, born and raised in Germany with roots in Ghana, imbue their diverse backgrounds into every aspect of our candles. We source recycled clay from Portugal, paying homage to European craftsmanship, while collaborating with perfumers in Grasse, France, to blend fragrances that evoke nostalgic memories. Or use earthy color tones which reflects our heritage Ghana’s nature. This fusion of cultures and craftsmanship results in candles that not only bridge continents but also resonate deeply with individuals, capturing the essence of home and cherished memories.

    What sets Harriet Allure apart from other candle brands in terms of craftsmanship and scent experience?

    Our candles are handcrafted with precision, using recycled clay sourced from Portugal, reflecting our commitment to sustainability and quality. But furthermore the idea with these handmade organic shapes is to display different journeys of each person, meaning every candle comes in slightly different shapes which should indicate how diverse each of us is. Each fragrance is carefully curated to tell a story and evoke memories and emotions. This dedication to craftsmanship and scent composition ensures that every Harriet Allure candle offers a unique experience. Furthermore, by sourcing fragrances from Grasse, we pay homage to the rich heritage of perfume-making and uphold the highest standards of quality and authenticity. The scents we blend in Grasse not only evoke memories and emotions but also transport our customers on a sensory journey around the world. Each fragrance tells a story and contributes to the unique identity of our brand.

    Could you tell us about the significance of Grasse, France, in the production of your candles, and how it contributes to the brand's identity?

    Grasse, France, holds a special significance in the production of our candles at Harriet Allure. Renowned as the perfume capital of the world, Grasse embodies centuries of tradition and expertise in fragrance creation. Our collaboration with perfumers in Grasse allows us to access the finest quality ingredients and unparalleled craftsmanship, ensuring that each scent in our candle collection offers a beautiful experience that reflects our story.

    Grasse's contribution to our candles extends beyond scent; it represents our commitment to excellence and dedication to creating products that enhance everyday experiences. Through our partnership with perfumers in Grasse, we infuse each candle with a touch of luxury and sophistication, inviting our customers to indulge in moments of relaxation and sensory delight.
    By mentioning “Grasse” or “perfumers in Grasse,” we emphasize the level of quality, craftsmanship, and tradition associated with the creation of our unique products.

    With a focus on warmth, home, and travel, how do you ensure that each candle captures the essence of these themes?

    We try to translate the memories or moments we experienced into scents. So all of our scents are inspired by different memories that my business partner and friend Freddy and I have witnessed during our journey together or individually. Working with a perfumer from Grass was a fun experience as we got to translate our memories and feelings into each unique scent. Describing emotions and memories was quite challenging sometimes because we had to go through several scent notes that reflect the particular memories.

    We choose ingredients, such as floral, fruity, or woody notes, that reflect the desired mood or atmosphere. For example, warm and comforting scents like vanilla or amber may evoke feelings of home and nostalgia, while fresh and citrusy notes like bergamot or lemon can convey a sense of energy and vitality. By experimenting with different combinations of notes and adjusting their proportions, the perfumer creates blends that effectively capture the essence of the intended emotion or memory. For example, Ama is the name of Freddy's mother and pays homage to the warmth of home, motherhood, and childhood. It is a scent that should resemble the warmth of home, motherhood, and childhood. So we conveyed our emotions to the perfumer from Grasse, who guided us in trying and mixing sweet and flowery scent notes together which reflect the essence of Ama. This process could take hours, sometimes we would have to take a break to let the created scents marinate on us before coming back to evaluate them.
    We remember presenting the Ama scented candle to several unknown people who were unaware of our brand's values. They shared that the scent evoked feelings of home—a warm embrace, a sense of ease, and safety from their past. This made us happy  as it indicated that our intentions with the “hero” scented candle had resonated with them. Fragrances are highly subjective, so it was nice to see people connect with the message without prior knowledge of our intentions.

    Tartu CandleInspired by the nature of the Estonian city Tartu during our production visit. The scent should resemble calmness and balance.

    Faiyaz - Conveying a feeling rather than a memory. Like with anything in life, in order to achieve dreams, one needs to be determined. Such as stepping outside your comfort zone like our parents did. So we wanted a scent that embodies those attitudes.

    Minuit - Means midnight in French. Midnight usually signifies the unknown, as does a journey that you are about to start. Leaving our comfort zone comes with a lot of uncertainty, but you need to embrace it anyway.

    How do you balance maintaining the uniqueness of each scent while ensuring a cohesive brand identity across your product line?

    Balancing the uniqueness of each scent with maintaining a cohesive brand identity is paramount for Harriet Allure. We thoroughly craft each fragrance to tell a distinct story, drawing inspiration from a variety of memories and emotions. From the comforting warmth of “Ama,” reminiscent of home and motherhood, to the serene tranquility of “Tartu Candle,” inspired by the nature of the Estonian city, each scent embodies its own character and essence.

    To ensure a cohesive brand identity across our product line, we carefully consider the scent profile of each fragrance. While each scent is crafted to evoke specific emotions and memories, we strive for consistency in the overall sensory experience. This means balancing the unique notes and accords of each fragrance with a shared olfactory language that reflects our brand ethos.
    Thereby our perfumers play an important role in this process, expertly blending scent notes to create harmonious compositions that align with our brand's values and aesthetic. Whether it's the rich complexity of “Faiyaz,” conveying determination and ambition, or the mysterious allure of “Minuit,” evoking the excitement of embarking on a new journey, every fragrance is carefully curated to resonate with our customers while contributing to a cohesive brand identity that is Harriet Allure.

    What does the future hold for Harriet Allure, and are there any exciting developments or projects on the horizon?

    In envisioning the future of our brand, we see a continued journey of innovation and growth, driven by our commitment to producing more meaningful products. For now we want to stick to the scented candles and expand our collection a bit with new colors and scents which narrates different stories but keeping our signature organic shape. So for now that is the next step before we introduce a complete new product.

    Our aspiration goes beyond simply creating scented candles; we aim to redefine the perception of what a scented candle represents. Traditionally seen as ordinary, we seek to infuse our candles with a sense of excitement, luxury, and purpose.
    Moreover, our brand evolution extends beyond product development; we aspire to make a significant impact on the fragrance industry as a whole. By challenging conventional norms and pushing for inclusivity, and authenticity, we hope to inspire positive change within the industry.
    Overall our goal is to craft fragrances that transcend time, allowing individuals to revisit treasured memories and create new ones with every scent. But we don't want to reveal too much, stay tuned to follow our journey, we have some cool ideas in the pipeline that we are excited about sharing with you.