Tucked in the side streets of bohemian Södermalm in Stockholm lies the thoughtfully curated and humble design store, K17. Filled with handpicked design pieces from around the world, pre-loved clothing and most of all, personality.
In this edition of Design Purveyor we caught up with Pelle Carlberg, K17 Owner, who taught us a thing or two about musical creativity, being a father and hosting intimate live performances on the shop floor.
Design Purveyor: Pelle Carlberg
Locations: Stockholm, Sweden.
Image: Pelle Carlberg (K17 Owner).
- What inspired you to open a design store? What sort of products do you select for your design store and why?
Besides the music, I have always had a close relation with aesthetics, design and clothing. To use an old cliché, I guess you can say that they all go hand in hand and are different branches on the same tree.
I ONLY select garments and items etc that I truly like. It’s a naive way of doing business, but it’s the only way I can do it.
- We’ve just discovered that you’re also a musician. Are you still performing and writing, while running your design store? What sort of gigs? Where do you get your inspiration from?
I have been writing songs for more than thirty years now. I had no other income than the music related between 1999 and 2012, while I was touring the world (basically everywhere but Australia). At the moment I don’t play as much as I want to, but I still write a lot, mainly lyrics, because I don’t have enough time to create the music.
I have done a few shows, festivals mainly, since I bought the store. I still have a small, but reliant audience in particularly Germany, Spain and some parts of Asia.
My inspiration comes from ordinary life, little mishaps, unfairness, feminism and Morrissey.
- You have a reoccurring event at your store "unplugged for real." Can you tell us more about it?
Well, if you can’t come to the mountain, the mountain will have to come to you! I have done quite a few ”living room” shows over the years, and I have always loved the intimacy and nakedness of totally unamplified music. The kind of atmosphere created when you can basically hear a needle drop to the floor is pretty far away from performing in a football stadium. Then of course, all my friends are musicians, so it’s easy to make the bookings.
- How has the transition been from performer to store owner?
Dramatic, but without the drama… I have never really had a job before and for most of the time I have been free to go wherever I want, whenever I want. Now I’m ”stuck” in the store during the opening hours, plus everything else I need to take care of. Running a store is a little bit like studying full time - you never feel like you have any proper spare time.
- What was it like growing up in Uppsala, Sweden?
Image: Inside K17.
- Besides children and family what have been some highlights in your life/ career?
When the football team I support, Sirius, finally made it back to the second division (ironically enough called The Super 1), was a quite recent highlight. All my other highlights are music related, writing something worth while or performing. And of course, the combination of my two passions, when Sirius asked me if they could use one of my songs as the marching in song at the home stadium in Uppsala.
- What’s it like performing in front of a passionate crowd?
It suits a narcissist. Most importantly though, it’s the only time in my life where the world stands still, everything else disappears.
My son, Truls, who has inherited a musical talent from both his full time musician mother and myself, revolts by saying he’s going to be a stock dealer. I think all my children see music as a way of breathing and have no idea how gifted they are. Still, I would be surprised if they don’t end up in some kind of creative line of work. Btw, my three youngest and I have a band together called Tvillingarna, Truls och Jag (translates into The Twins, Truls and I). We released an album some years back and that is my only major label release. Listen here.
- You are an accomplished musician and a Father. Do you think that your children will follow in your musical footsteps? Words of advice to them?
Image: Album 'Pelle Carlberg in a nutshell'
Image: Tvillingarna, Truls och Jag.
Very safe and middle classy, segregated even. The rest of the world was very far away, even Stockhom which is 40 minutes on the train felt like a fantasy. Before the internet you had to develop a vivid imagination to survive. The lack of information and things to do made me a dreamer and probably creative.
- How do you define creativity?
That’s a question no one has ever asked me before… Hmmm, I think my definition is: no frame to fantasy.
memobottle™ now stocking at K17.
Kocksgatan 17, 116 24 Stockholm, Sweden
If you think the memobottle would go well in your local design store, please let us know at email@example.com