Oslo’s chic yet laidback neighbourhood of St Hanshaugen forms the backdrop for artist and designer Emma Wright’s home and nearby lifestyle store, StudioBazar. The Royal College of Art in London alumnus founded the sustainable clothing and interior label in 2015 whilst on maternity leave with her daughter, and the highly creative brand has grown to also include vintage treasures. Deliberately shunning fashion’s fast pace, her pieces are seasonless and utilise vintage and dead stock fabrics.
PASSAGE TO INDIA
“My childhood home has influenced me a whole lot,” Emma says of her interior style. As a child, her parents set up a company in the 1970s specialising in the import and retail of interior objects and garments from India. “Our home was always filled with beautiful prints and textiles, which is the foundation of what I do today. I always think back to my childhood home with such special memories, the atmosphere and everything in it.” Floral quilts, antique rugs, cushions and robes in charming Indian fabrics abound in Emma’s home – a 140 square metre apartment in a 1930s town house close to the lively St Hanshaugen Park north of Oslo’s city centre where Emma lives with her boyfriend, his two teenage daughters, the couple’s 5-year old daughter and the family dog, Robbie.
The couple’s style is very much a mix of old and new. Here, flea market finds mingle with designer pieces, but the overall vibe is one of natural materials such as wood, bamboo and rattan. “I love the atmosphere here – the airy rooms and all the light. I also really enjoy our bathroom with a large bathtub and window.”
Emma is a self-confessed lover of neat storage and space-built shelving that eliminates mess. “I really need everything to be functional and comfortable, as well as aesthetically pleasing. We thought a lot about storage, especially in the hallway, and I am very happy with having lots of wardrobe space.” A need for more space was also the reason the couple moved here, further encouraged by the fact that the flat is one a couple of minutes on foot from Emma’s shop. “It was something about the space and light that we really fell for,” she notes.
The walls are dotted with favourite art – and the couple are planning to add more pieces to their collection – but overall, each piece that’s found a home in the apartment is here because it has meaning. “We rarely redecorate, although we recently refurbished our home when we bought it. I work with interiors so naturally a few things come home with me, but I try to stay selective and think it through. I really don’t like having stuff that we don’t need,” Emma reflects. “We like to surround ourselves with memories and personal stuff with history. Anything from my dad is very important.
“I would say my work and my home very much go hand in hand. My work is just an extension of my personal taste.”
WORK AND PLAY
“I would say my work and my home very much go hand in hand. My work is just an extension of my personal taste. Everything we produce or sell in the shop is stuff I really love and would wear or place in my home. That is the only way I could do this: make it authentic, relatable and fun,” Emma notes, explaining how style, interests and hobbies all merge together. The apartment organically doubles as what Emma describes as a safe haven of calm and a home office. “It’s my second workspace, but also my comfort zone and where I reload my batteries.”
“I really love functionalist architecture with its simple, clean lines and the purpose of it being functional,” Emma says. Functional is a word that pops up a lot: for all the enchanting floral furnishings and plant greenery that echo through the apartment’s interior, the artist and designer is all about a well-designed, practical backbone. “Things have to be functional and useful as well as suitable for our style.” The perfect example of this? How the couple built their own sofa exactly to their specifications. Emma is also obsessed with lighting and lamps, an interior ingredient where function and cosiness combine. “It’s almost like a ritual every night when I turn them off, one by one.”
The kitchen is where the family congregates and relaxes. “Cooking a nice dinner with a glass of wine, just being together. And there’s nothing like obsessing over a good series with some snacks and lit candles!” As a designer, what’s the first thing Emma notices in other people’s homes? “I automatically scan their style, not for any particular reason, it’s just interesting to me. I believe your style says something about your personality,” she says, adding: “I think that I adopted a lot from my parents in the way I see my home aesthetically. To me it’s not a specific style but something I just feel. It either works or it doesn’t. I can’t really turn it off – I mentally redecorate every home I enter, just for fun.”
Emma Wright, 40 years old, owner of the Oslo shop studiobazar – a result of the search for comfortable, timeless and sustainable clothing that is not affected by the fast seasons in the fashion industry.
The main collection is produced in India in small scales with traditional ancient techniques like block printing, natural dyeing and hand embroidery that support small artisanal factories and crafters. StudioBazar also carries a wide selection of vintage items and hand- crafted goods that they import directly from makers from all over the world.