Jens Thoms Ivarsson - Alumn




"The students get a world-class education at HDK"

What did you do directly after you graduated from HDK?

– First, I delivered fruit and vegetables. After that I was drum technician and tour manager for Hardcore Superstar during a European tour. In the tour bus it hit me – these guys do what they are passionate about and love, something I strive for. So my friend Mats Nilsson and me started the agency “Thoms och Nilsson” shortly after.

What are you doing today?

- I've lived and worked here in Jukkasjärvi for three years now. With just 548 residents it’s a great contrast from Gothenburg, but it suits us very well. My task at the Icehotel is to draw everything outside the Icehotel, i.e., ice bars, fashion and new products to the whole world.

How did you end up there – how has your career path been like?

– In 2003, I saw a program about the Icehotel on television and got the impression that ice seemed to be an exciting material to work with. So, I sent pictures of what I've done as a stonemason, and was then invited to work with them. The Icehotel became one of Thoms and Nilsson's main customers and after ten years they asked me if I wanted to be Head of Design.

During your study time, did you have some kind of strategy to influence your future career?

– Yes and no, I chose not to link my thesis to traditional product design but to analogue, physical material.

Did you get international experience during the study time/training that has been helpful in your career?

– Yes, we had teachers from schools abroad, and I took my fourth year in London. At the time I studied at HDK, the focus was to be employed as an industrial designer. In London the focus was much more on running your own business, which I preferred.

Your strongest memory from HDK?

– The cohesion of the class! It was amazing. We were ten people who helped each other all the time. We even got a scholarship for our cohesion and cooperation. I learned a lot from the others and I still have contact with several of them.

What is the most important lesson from HDK-period? Any special tools/skills?

– Above all, the design process. We had P O Wikström in design. He was genuine, incredibly knowledgeable and came from the old guard designers. His design methodology was very basic with a focus on sustainability, something I still carry with me.

If you were to give one advice to a prospective HDK-student – what would it be?

- I've been around in many schools as lecturer after I graduated, and are very happy to have studied at HDK. The students who graduate at HDK get a world-class education. For my own part, it was important to find an area that is incentive and focus on it during the study. Another thing to remember is that you have a great responsibility as a designer – we do not need to put more products on the market, but better.

Jens Thoms Ivarsson

Job title: Director of Design

Born: 1972

Comes from: Göteborg, Sweden

Education at HDK: industrial design

Graduated: 2001

Other education: one year as an exchange student in Design & Communication at Ravensbourne in London.

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