The founder of Teenage Engineering opens up to his creative space

Ilenia Martini

In the centre of Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town, surprisingly close to the Royal Palace, between charming narrow cobbled streets, stands a beautiful 18th-century building echoing the vision of a classic, elegant Scandinavian architecture. Stepping in Jesper Kouthoofd’s glorious four-metre ceiling height, light-filled apartment, housing large-scale original affresco paintings covering wall after wall, I see a luscious universe with an eclectic colour palette filled with artworks, books, iconic references to the masters of industrial design and, gently taking over like a statement centrepiece, instruments and audio equipment growing into the space in the form of a home studio. Between the apartment’s original features, blending in unpretentiously, some awe-inspiring design objects from Joe ­Colombo, Virgil Abloh and Arne Jacobsen. Overall, this vast space resembles a symphony produced by an orchestra rather than a flat note. Observing the contrast of bold colours, I think, ”how fitting geometry and organic shapes blend into a recurring home theme.”

Today, living there with his wife and two children, Jesper Kouthoofd, who is not only the co-founder and CEO of Teenage Engineering, the leading Swedish consumer electronics brand, internationally renowned for beautifully designed audio products, but also an exceptionally creative individual brilliant at recognizing the vibrancy of the ebbs and flow of life, turning them into unexpected connections between ordinary things and creative ideas. I had met Jesper a few years back in 2017 at a presentation in Älmhult for IKEA introducing their upcoming collaboration and already back then, the fascination began with this creative entrepreneur who is able to design electronic instruments in such an effortless way that feels everything but intimidating. You know you’re onto something interesting when you are knee-deep in the research process and there’s minimal information about the founders, yet there are millions of likes and a growing number of international artists raving about Teenage Engineering’s first product — the op-1. Fans include Bon Iver, Swedish House Mafia, Thom Yorke, St. Vincent, Bonobo, Reggie Watts — believe me, the list goes on. Although Jesper has had plenty of experience being the spokesperson for the brand, you can understand that I felt intimidated yet extremely curious about his personality and professional background — thankfully we share a love for Italian design which broke the ice as we sat down in his kitchen and started talking. I immediately felt as if for Jesper it’s less about doing more than about doing things more creatively.