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She will decorate LiU

After years as a commercial interior decorator, Anna Linnarson wants to try something new. She will now decorate the various environments of the university, creating an overall impression within them.

Anna Linnarson, interior decoratorAnna Linnarson has been located in one of the newly decorated areas of Campus Valla – the LFA project office in the Key-building – since 1 April this year. She came here after 18 years in perhaps one of the most commercial industries imaginable – IKEA.

“Wow, 18 years sounds like a long time,” she says. “But I worked on many different things there.”

Among other things, she was an interior decorator for outside businesses that purchased the service from IKEA. She worked with newly established businesses in Sweden and decorated areas in stores that were not solely sales areas, such as at IKEA in Linköping. She also did the same thing for four years in Switzerland, where there were seven stores.

Moreover, she worked at Inter IKEA, a job that involved seeing to it that the stores looked the same around the globe, no matter where they were. It took her to places like the Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Europe.

Why leave that kind of job and start up at Linköping University?
Anna laughs, apparently thinking it sounds like she left the dream job for every interior decorator with the itch to travel.
“Well, I’d been working at IKEA for so long. Even if a lot was going on all the time, it was kind of the same thing. I wanted to do something else and work in other environments than purely commercial ones.”

IKEA and LIU might appear to be the extremes on the commercial scale. But Anna also sees similarities.

“Both are large workplaces, framed by an idea that requires certain things. And the decision-making processes are long in organisations as large as these. The difference is that at IKEA, the customer is always in focus in another way; everything that we do, we do to make things better and easier for the customer. Changes happen faster at IKEA. There’s a lot going on at LiU as well, but the processes are longer here.”

The job of interior decorator is a new one; previously, LiU purchased the service from outside as needed. But there is a lot going on at LiU, and at the same time they want to try to find a totality in the furnishings.

Recycling bin under a painting“I’d like to put more life into the environments here. In certain places it only looks like someone put a little bit of furniture there. I’d like to do something more exciting, with the help of colours and lighting – in reading areas, for example. Now it just looks... well, like it’s on display, a lot like it ‘just happened’. Like over there, for example,” Anna says, pointing. A very nice painting is hanging on the wall, with a recycling bin under it.

She’d also like to make the environments a little more modern; she thinks the ‘80s are still a little too much in evidence.

“The people here are young, they’re students. And everyone is inspired by great environments. In the long run, this could affect their studies.”

At the moment there are two larger projects on Anna’s “to do” list. Kåkenhus, which is being renovated over the summer and will be ready at the start of the fall, and HUB, the Faculty of Health Sciences library, which will get a makeover for the start of the fall term next year. Plus several smaller projects such as lecture halls and coffee rooms.

“I’d like to be a resource for all of LiU on interior design issues. Giving advice and supporting projects, like the lecture halls and coffee rooms.”

Anna Linnarson, interior decoratorAnna has always been interested in interior design. When it was time to build a career, she applied to several different programmes such as the interior decorator programme at Konstfack. Which she got into.

“It’s a career that suits me, it’s very broad. I’ve worked with the arts as well, but artistry is a career that’s difficult to lean on. I wanted a more traditional job, to find myself in a context.”

After a long working life as an interior decorator, there is one job Anna chiefly remembers as especially fun.

“I worked on the Swedish History exhibit at Nordiska museet in Stockholm. It was a project where I worked on things like designing objects that would be produced for the exhibition. Additionally, I also worked at the Swedish National Heritage Board, so I have some roots in museums as well.”

Anna works in Stockholm, and commutes home on the weekends. She has done this before, but that was to Helsingborg, where Inter IKEA had its main offices.

“It works well. At the beginning, I thought I would commute daily between Stockholm and Linköping, but that took too much effort. Now I rent an apartment second-hand and I’m already panicking about not finding something new; I feel the commuter anxiety coming. But I still don’t think I’ll move to Linköping. I have my husband, family, and friends in Stockholm.”

Text and photo: Elisabet Wahrby

Anna’s current projects:


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Last updated: 2013-08-20