There are a lot of ways to describe your bedding: crisp, clean, cozy. But in the case of the Swedish design group Magniberg, cool also applies. The bedding brand has been the brainchild of work and life partners Bengt Thornefors and Nina Norgren, but their previous careers—he was a designer at Acne Studios and Saint Laurent, she was a florist and graphic designer—kept the brand an idea in progress for more than ten years, until 2016.
Upon realizing that “bedwear”—a moniker that comes from the literal translation of the Swedish word sängkläder—addresses a generational need in the luxury market, the pair drew upon a shared love and respect for classic Swedish design to launch Magniberg. Looking to designers such as Axel Einar Hjorth and Carl Westman, as well as gleaning inspiration from countercultural American artists like Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, Thornefors and Norgren created stylish bedding for stylish people. “Our friends who are artists, designers, and fashion editors spent a lot of money on clothes, but didn’t care what they were sleeping in—though they spend a lot of time [in their beds],” Thornefors explains. “If you spend money on clothes, you can spend it on your bed, too.”
Coming from fashion backgrounds, Thornefors and Norgren see bedding the same way they do clothing, adopting a high-low take on design. For example, cotton poplin duvet covers and pillow shams featuring mother-of-pearl buttons pay homage to Norgren’s favorite white blouse. A jersey material is similar to that of the soft, perfect-fit T-shirts Thornefors has designed and favors. Details like mesh lining and lace overlays are reminiscent of lingerie while exhibiting both a masculine and feminine aesthetic. But the line is most disruptive in its combination of shades and textures. “[We’re making] clothes for your bed, bringing the same emotional value that fashion does when you buy [clothing] and mix it into your existing wardrobe,” Thornefors says. He sees his collection as “pure,” describing a personal energy that has been channeled into something not just tangible but livable.
In fact, the aesthetic for the collection comes largely from the various personal living environments of Thornefors and Norgren. “Both of us had moms that decorated the beds in our country cottages in a pink, baby blue, and white combo,” Thornefors recalls. He also remembers the simple bedroom the couple once shared in Berlin: “White walls, a vintage cabinet, stacks of books, and a simple bed from Ikea.”
The duo also makes furniture that reflects their heritage, incorporating traditional Swedish Allmoge motifs and the architectural style of the 1970s design firm Nordiska Kompaniet. They operate out of a studio in a building that housed retired carpenters in the mid-18th century. This spirit not only lives on in their work, but in their identity, as Magniberg was named after the building itself.
“Swedish craftsmanship, especially from the 1930s, is important. I’m interested in Swedish history. We don’t push it, but it is always there,” Thornefors says. The value and emotion that comes with their approach is what makes Magniberg special. “Good design and business works when people put their souls into it.”