Scandinavian textile designs are famously lush creations, with gorgeous prints and texture- rich weaves. In the cold northern climate, children grow up surrounded by culturally inspired fabrics and other textiles, often created by hand. So it’s somewhat surprising to learn that Sofia Joelsson, who was born and raised in a small village in Sweden and has put down roots in Miami, didn’t attend school for interior design.
“Swedish people are extremely creative,” Joelsson says. “I didn’t even know that interior design could be a profession. Everyone in Sweden has the ‘do it yourself’ idea and I was no different.”
Today Joelsson, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, has cut a successful swath for herself in the world of interior design as the founder and creative director of SoJo Design in Miami.
In her 14-year-old business, Joelsson, a former Miss Sweden, presides over an elite clientele, designing the interiors of homes and commercial properties in Miami, Manhattan, Monte Carlo and Dallas, among other locations. Operating from an office on Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami, Joelsson has also been scouting out a local warehouse, which she plans to convert into a showroom featuring accessories, furniture and a new textile line of pillows stamped with Joelsson’s design signature.
Her interiors are stunningly simple – no clutter, dark corners or complications – allowing the environments to establish a natural backdrop for her texture-rich presentations. “I never feel like I’m going to work,” Joelsson says. “I love to share that with my clients.”
One of Joelsson’s latest projects is Apogee 1403, a glamorous penthouse in Miami with a contemporary and monochromatic design that is offset with light-washed walls and artful pieces.
With the ocean in view and the Floridian sunlight flooding into the rooms, Joelsson’s thoughtfully curated spaces make a confident and eye-catching statement.
“The light in Miami is spectacular,” she says. “I really study the light. It’s a major inspiration in every room I design, the different times of day and angles, and how the light washes into the room.”
A specially created rug in Apogee 1403’s master bedroom, with a suggestion of an African tribal print, draws the eye with its lustrous sheen. In another bedroom, a whimsical wallpaper print that Joelsson describes as “a modern version of jellyfish,” subtly references the penthouse’s ocean environment.
A trio of small sculptures, each a shield of armor fashioned from the human form, projects a multi- dimensional presence. “They cast a beautiful shadow in the direction of the art light we added above,” Joelsson says.
The owners of Apogee 1403, a prominent Scandinavian family, love the setting, Joelsson says. And who wouldn’t? Positioned on a tip of land overlooking Fisher Island, the penthouse delivers spectacular views of downtown Miami and a broad expanse of ocean.
“Scandinavians are usually a bit more modest in regard to interior design,” Joelsson says. “I really focused here on the materials, like the onyx in the kitchen island.”
The constant presence of water is a focal point. “You have to be conscious of your environment,” Joelsson says. “I always take that into consideration when I’m designing.” As a girl, Joelsson wanted to be an actress and eventually modeled successfully and appeared in commercials.
People often asked about her personal and home design style – prompting her to think deeply about what she calls her “sensibility” – and SoJo Design was born.
Joelsson and her work have since appeared on the covers of upscale lifestyle magazines such as Luxury Condo Living and Indulge. She also is the curator of Cudesso, the Curated Designer Sourcebook.
As the company’s sole buyer, she attends leading trade shows and collects her personal favorites, which are offered for sale online.
“It is affordable luxury, so people feel they have access to a known designer who has done high-end products, but they can actually get the look they want without hiring a professional designer,” she says.
Joelsson revels in the design options available today. “We have so many different choices,” she says. “If you go to Pinterest and other sites, you can really envision your look, your finished product. It’s something we haven’t had before. I think it’s beautiful when you can share your design with the world.” sojodesign.com
Image Credits: Photo by Danny Cardozo.