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A mint green bathroom perfect for lounging, a haunting blue hallway peeking out onto vibrant tropical skies. These are some of the unusual and charming inspirations Teklan Evelina Severin, also known as @Teklan to her thousands of Instagram fans, seeks to explore and document. The Swedish multimedia interior designer and photographer's striking colors and compositions have inspired a range of global tastemakers, from museums and galleries, to publications like AnOther Magazine, to the retailer Alternative Apparel, who recently commissioned her to work on a series of limited-edition graphic tees.
Known for her jet-setting lifestyle and cosmopolitan eye, Severin modestly admits she comes from "a middle-sized Swedish town," and later came into her own after a move to Stockholm 15 years ago. Relocating for a bachelor's degree in interior architecture and furniture design, she later worked at a design firm for seven years, which she found monotonous and stifling. So, inspired by the newfound freedom and limitless creativity she achieved through social media, Tekla took the plunge into full-time freelance work, a journey that has brought her (and her followers) on a unique trip across the world and into some of modern architecture's most stunning spaces.
"It was the iPhone, and then Instagram, that brought me to photography," she says, explaining that the simplicity of having both a camera and communication device in her hand, at all times, was revelatory. It helped her develop a distinctive style and freed her from the limitations of being 'only' an interior architect. With time, it's also drawn her towards the personality and quirks of modern decor and architecture, which she captures in her regular postings.
Known for her inventive and striking use of color, a mix of Miami art deco, deep David Hockney-esque color palettes, and Scandinavian minimalism, today her perfectly curated feed is awash with warm pastels, decadent primary colors, and plenty of travel-lust inspiring shots.
One of her most distinctive projects has been a recent commission by Air France Magazine to capture the mysterious and stunning islands of Guadaloupe, a French-governed archipelago in the Caribbean that's long been off-the-beaten-path for American tourists. Tekla was tasked with capturing the moods, colors, and tastes of this eclectic island range, which until now has been known primarily for its natural beauty as home to both volcanic terrain and stunning beaches perfect for snorkeling and boating.
Rather than conceptualizing her shoot list beforehand, Tekla arrived and tried to "cover it all," as she says in her own words. This meant days traversing the vibrant markets and bustling restaurants of Pointe-à-Pitre, a city on the island of Grande-Terre, to scaling the lush and wild countryside.
What she loved most about the islands were their dramatic mood shifts and ecological diversity.
"The differences between the north and south, of white beaches and palm trees versus rainforest, and the striking color combinations of turquoise and yellow" captured her imagination.
"Going into the north and the rainforest, I highly recommend staying in a mango tree or beautiful Creole-inspired, hand-painted house at the Tendacayou."
Ultimately, she found the experience to be life-changing. Especially for a Swede. "I had never been to a tropical climate before," she says. "Or to a place with such turquoise water!"