Swedish Interior Designers Simon and Tomas reach new heights
Two decades after their first meeting top Swedish design dynamos Simon Davies and Tomas Cederlund have gone from fledgling shopkeepers to international television stars. Judi Lembke finds out how they did it.
‘Unbelievable luck, being different and a lot of hard work,’ say English-born Simon and his Swedish partner Tomas about their long and successful partnership, which began when the pair opened a small English design shop in Stockholm nearly twenty years ago. They were quickly enlisted to design a local eatery and the success of that venture kicked off their design career.
Reflecting on those years, the design duo say, ‘Swedish design hadn’t changed in fifty years. It was all white walls and pine furniture. We were different, using curvy lines, purples, velvet. And we were prepared to make our clients to push the design boundaries. Each project was addressed individually, without cookie-cutter solutions.’
Simon and Tomas swiftly became Sweden’s go-to designers and from there their television career kicked off when Simon auditioned for a new design show.
‘I entered an apartment and was asked my thoughts. I said it was appalling, lacking harmony, some might call the things hanging on the windows curtains but I would call them dishcloths. A young lady told me I had done great, except that it was her flat!’
Simon starred in twenty Swedish episodes of Room Service, then another thirty for the Norwegian market, where half the country tuned in each week.
Tomas was brought onboard for the next series, Design: Simon and Tomas, with three more series following. Their enormous success in Scandinavia led to offers from the United States, culminating in Home Takeover with Simon and Tomas for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network.
Home Takeover was the most successful show in its time slot, but while the couple loved the heightened production values offered by American television, Tomas was less than pleased with the final result.
‘We filmed over 100 hours for each show but the end product was watered down. They took away what made us unique.’
Recently they wrapped up production on the latest series of Sweden’s Ugliest Homes but it may be the last.
‘We’ve more or less redesigned nearly every ugly home in Sweden at this point, so we’re working on new concepts for both the Swedish and the American market’, says Simon, ‘and we’re ready for new challenges.’
Those new challenges include pitching a new concept to top American networks, one they’re keen to keep quiet.
‘What we’ve developed hasn’t been done before. It’s more fun and promises to keep the viewer on the edge of his or her seat.’