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Introducing the ladies of L.A.

We have great respect and admiration for the ladies of L.A. Graphic Design, Lizet and Anne. Balancing it all. They have a holistic approach to business (and their personal lives), have admirably great taste and they are the masterminds behind our website. Besides graphic design, they have recently launched a line of energy jewellery.

Names: Lizet Hee Olesen & Anne Strandfelt

Titles: Graphic Designers

Company: L.A.

Hometown: Copenhagen

  • What are your backgrounds?

Lizet: I was born in Seoul, South Korea and adopted to Copenhagen, where I have lived since I came in 1974. I hold a BA in Media Studies and a MA in Digital Design. It was a proces figuring out exactly which path to pursue, because I both have a creative spirit (I also went to art school before going to University) and I have an analytic and academic mind. This duality has caused some confusion for me, but eventually it all came together. All rooted in a passion for designing and helping through aesthetic creations. In a way, it was like my dual nationality, I am here, way up north, but I was born way out east. This has also taken a great deal of mending and weaving to understand and contain. Now, I think I have the best of two worlds.
Meeting Anne was so meant to be and I think we just knew we were going to do amazing and fun things together from very early on.

Anne: I grew up in Copenhagen and moved to London immediately after finishing high school in 1996 to study a foundation degree at London College of Fashion. The fashion & design scene was so inspiring at the time and I remember seeing the infamous JAM exhibition at Barbican that year, showcasing the early works of Hussein Chalayan, Alexander McQueen (my at the time favourite designer) and also graphic designers Tomato (who did the title design for Trainspotting) etc. It was a very creatively transformative year for me. I came home to DK and began a fashion degree here, and during the first year, I realised that what I enjoyed most about fashion was thinking about the concepts, getting lost in creating new universes and worlds, going in deep research, drawing, and presenting the concepts in beautiful books and explorative prints and formats. Making the actual garments lost its appeal completely. So, I used my year there re-arranging most of my projects, to the confusion of some of my teachers (“Why you gotta be so anti-fashion!?”) so I could use my portfolio for a Graphic Design degree instead. I quit the course, applied to Central Saint Martins in London and moved back there in 2000 and did a BA and MA there in Graphic & Communication Design. I returned to Copenhagen in 2005 where I met Lizet at my first job at a design studio here, yeehaaaa! It was graphic love at first sight.

L.A. Graphic Ara'kai Beauty

  • You suddenly created a line of jewellery next to your art direction, how did that come about? 


Anne: We were super lucky and so excited to be chosen by Mag Culture to exhibit our art/fashion/culture/spiritual matters magazine IMPORTANT in their booth at the London Art book Fair at Whitechapel Gallery back in 2019. Alongside the mag, we wanted to create some merchandise in the shape of meaningful energy tools to wear. To share the healing vibrations in a beautiful way. We had both been experiencing some quite specific results when wearing these types of bracelets for various ailments (stress, aches and more), but had only seen them with one type of stone at a time. So, we mixed them up and put in other coloured stones for adornment as well. People went wild over them, like a light lid up in their eyes when they saw them and we were so happy, because they had made a big difference for us personally.

Lizet: After that we developed them further and we are still so genuinely happy when people buy them and also tell us how much they mean to them. Crystals have such a strong energetic frequency, they are magically attractive, and even people who don’t “believe in such things” can’t deny that attraction. We advise people to use them as their personal talismans. To let the stones evoke in them their dreams and manifestations. They harness energies from Mother Earth and that energy is so undeniable, it just resonates with you on a deep level.

L.A. Graphic Ara'kai Beauty

  • How do you manage work/life balance?


Lizet: Connecting with the higher self through various practices. This helps maintain a clarity and prevents me from drowning in projects. I aim to remember the kindness in what I do, for myself and for others (easier said that done when deadlines approach and you have no idea where to go). Maintaining a kindship with nature is essential. I love trees. And balancing body/mind/spirit through meditation.
I remind myself that it is fine to take time off and do things that are not linked to a certain output. I love to cook. And I recently re-discovered my love for working with clay. So grounding and satisfying.

Anne: Oh that balance is forever in a haze when you work for yourself. All hours every day you are potentially faced with a chronic bad conscience for feeling you are choosing one over the other. When you are creative, searching for inspiration weaves its way into most of your observation, you are always processing in a way. However, as I have gotten older and more in tune with my energy-reserves I have become very attentive in regards to setting healthy boundaries for myself when it comes to work. But it is definitely an on-going theme “Could I do better?” … it is exhausting really if you do not train yourself to centre and let go. I balance all that capitalistic self-sabotage out with a lot of meditation, yin yoga, being in nature and nourishing my loving healthy friendships where we talk and support each other a lot (most of my friends actually work for themselves) in regards to achieving a calm acceptance of what “is” and discussing what it is we live for and what values we cherish. Those values typically never align with the amount of grinding you think you have to do to obtain them, as 99% cannot be bought for money.

 

  • What are your daily beauty rituals?


Anne: I have to keep it simple. My skin is the happiest when I’m as minimal as possible. However, at the age of 43 I feel like I probably have to step up my game a bit. I wash my face in the shower every morning with just water and every other or third day the Green Ceremony Cleanser from Odacité. I have used it for a year and half and it was recommended to me by someone dealing with rosacea. My skin is quite resilient but also quite reactive and tend to flare up red when not in balance (I am an Ayurvedic Pitta, so hello fire!), so I tried this, and I really love it. It cleanses and exfoliates so gently yet effectively due to its powder form. Then, I use the Colostrum gel serum (again very calming and anti-inflammatory) and A vitamin step-up cream both from Environ. I have used them for years, and they really work wonders for my skin. In the summer when it is very hot, I rarely use anything apart from a bit of St. John’s Wort oil and some sun screen. Come Autumn, I’m back on Environ.

Green Ceremony Cleaner Odacité


Lizet: I start with a quick shower, I only use water to cleanse my face, but Noto’s all-round liquid soap has a soothing scent. I use Biologique Recherche to treat my face. And for my very dry legs, I love Lavido’s body cream, I NEVER tried anything like this. my skin is normally so dry and sensitive and impossible to satisfy. At the moment, I am fond of a K-beauty sunscreen, which adds a nice subtle dewy glow (or I wish). But overall K-beauty regimes are too complicated for me. I lack the discipline.

Lavido Body Cream

  • What music do you like to work to? 


Anne: It depends on the job and my mood obviously. If it is a complicated project and I’m struggling, there can be no lyrics whatsoever. But looking at our playlists, I can see we play a lot of Sufjan Stevens, Joshua J, Kelsey Lu, Solange, Blood Orange, Childish Gambino, Alice Coltrane, The Internet, Kindness, Anna Von Hauswolff, Robyn, Harry Styles, Thundercat, Jessica Pratt, Dawda Jobarteh, Yaeji … to mention a few.

Lizet: Classical, jazz, pop, rap, electronic, experimental. It depends, sometimes you need an upbeat vibe to investigate something challenging and new, and sometimes you need to concentrate and focus. Mostly as I get older, calm music works best.

  • Which restaurants in Copenhagen are your favourite?


Anne: A local favourite for me is the down-to-earth Nr. 30 in Nansensgade, they have the best selection of natural wines and every dish on the menu, which they change regularly, is always so delicious, seasonal and fresh - and very affordable. I also love Gaarden & Gaden at Nørrebrogade, kind of the same theme, fresh seasonal, small dishes, natural wine and organic cold draft beers from Herslev - and they also sometimes host small jazz concerts. Also, next on both Lizet’s and my list, we are dying to try every dish on the menu at newly opened restaurant Esmée at Kgs Nytorv, which we designed the visual identity for.

Lizet: For lunch Bottega Barlie or Apotek 57 (always delicious dishes and close to our studio). With good friends in my neighborhood JAH IZAKAYA (the grilled squid is so good). Extraordinary international KOAN (cannot wait to try this highly recommended new place).

Bottega Barlie Ara'kai Beauty

  • Which books or authors are among your favourites? 


Lizet: My favourite books varies over time but, I have so many. But at the moment, I would say the most influential writers for me are Helen Schucman (A Course in Miracles, which I am currently reading, it is a difficult work but a profound and transforming experience) and Fleur Jeaggy for her chilly, precise and mysterious tales.

Anne: Recently, I really enjoyed reading these: Clarice Lispector The Hour of the Star, Shëkufe Tadayoni Heiberg Muld & Liv, Kristina Stoltz Cahun and I always enjoy re-reading Herta Müller, I have a thing for Eastern European literature. The dark humour mixed with sorrow and often a surreal twist.

  • What makes your heart beat faster?


Anne: LOVE love love (and too much coffee)

Lizet: Music, lovely people, art and nature

  • What are your three favourite products from Ara’kai? 


Anne: 

Lavido Replenishing Serum
So soft and nourishing. It worked w-o-n-d-e-r-s and literally saved my my skin last winter.

Anima Mundi Curam Anti-Inflammatory Beauty Elixir
I am drawn to all things anti-inflammatory, as this can be an invisible root cause of a lot of ailments. I am always trying to even out acidic habits (coffee, alcohol, dairy, sugar etc.) with alkalising supplements and foods. This is such a great little anti-oxidant booster as a shot in a big glass of water, first thing in the morning.

Sigil
I am a big perfume lover and have always been. My sense of smell is so linked to memories and emotions. I always look for new perfumes that evoke different feelings in me, I find it so inspiring and in a way these olfactory experiences become tools to uncover hidden aspects about myself that I am always eager to discover. If I wasn’t a graphic designer I would be a Nose, for sure. The Sigil perfumes are so thoughtfully composed. They have such an evocative sensory narrative each of them.

Sigil Ara'kai Beauty

Lizet:

Lavido Thera Intensive Body Cream
For curing my Sahara-dry legs.

Bodha Incense Ground
For grounding calmness and meditation.

Little Knot Bag
I use it for my beauty products when I travel, as a mini tote bag and genius sustainable gift wrapping.

Bodha Incense Ground Holder Ara'kai Beauty
© Photo of Anne Strandfelt and Lizet Hee Olsen by Sascha Oda for Kokoon.