An Italian Man, a Scandinavian Woman and Their Chic Home in Oslo
Together, these opposites achieved harmony in their apartment and shop.
What makes a creative couple successful? Sometimes it’s symmetry — thinking the same thoughts, finishing one another’s sentences, growing into each other until they are essentially two minds acting as one.
Other times it’s a productive friction that allows a pair to create something together that neither could have dreamed up alone.
The latter reflects the working relationship of Alessandro D’Orazio and Jannicke Krakvik — interior designers, stylists and owners of one of Oslo’s most beloved boutiques.
The differences between the two, who have been living together for 13 years, are conspicuous: He’s a bushy-bearded Italian, steeped in architecture, with a wide knowledge of European art history. She’s a fair and strawberry-blond Norwegian, especially attuned to materiality, with a razor-sharp focus on color, volume and details, like the way a mud-hued Japanese ceramic might reflect light. He often works on the computer; she works with her hands.
Shelter magazines and swank furniture companies routinely commission the couple to create beautiful tableaus (for advertisements, editorials or exhibits) that can send a design aficionado into wild fits of envy.
In these still lifes, which have a serene painterly quality, even a little piece of tableware seems to take on the significance of a Modernist building — without losing its sense of scale.
The purity of the final image belies the long and complicated process of trial and error that led to it. “We always start by filling up a room and taking things away piece by piece, until it almost hurts,” Krakvik says.
“Then, suddenly, it will just feel right.” For years, the meticulous sets the pair designed were deconstructed as soon as a project was finished.
Eventually, this ritual of destruction made them long to create a lasting space. First, they designed a few bars and cafes in Oslo for friends.
Then, in 2013, in partnership with the Danish homeware brand Frama, they opened Kollekted By.
Located in a former butcher shop in the hip design district of Grunerlokka, the space feels more like a home than a store.
Inside, they’ve assembled exquisite furniture and objects from near and far, such as limited-edition brass mirrors from the Norwegian designer Falke Svatun and botanical prints by a local illustrator, Esra Roise.
In a sunny back room, Krakvik has assembled her collection of rare Japanese pottery, a wabi-sabi confusion of ochers, pale greens and dusky blacks.
Krakvik and D’Orazio’s uncompromising aesthetic is at its best in their newly renovated fin-de-siècle apartment in Gamlebyen, the city’s old town.
For the walls, they chose a smoky blue mixed by the Norwegian paint company Jotun. They restored the original ornamental plaster ceiling and treated the pine floors with linseed oil, giving them a soft, washed-out finish.
The assortment of chairs reveals how the couple’s styling can unite disparate influences: At the dining table, antique wooden Thonet-style chairs stare curiously at a sharp, snow-white aluminum seat by the contemporary German designer Konstantin Grcic.
“We could have done the apartment in one month, but we took a year to really think about how it should look,” Krakvik says.
Among the most precisely thought-through spaces is the monastic bathroom with a terrazzo sink and a dark metal-framed shower designed by D’Orazio.
While Krakvik is reluctant to define their aesthetic as a couple, she admits it’s certainly a product of provenance.
“Subconsciously, we’re probably a blend of Italian and Scandinavian styles,” she says. “Italians tend to have a larger perspective in terms of color and architecture.
In Scandinavia, we’re more minimalistic and cozy. So we try to bring together the best of both.”