POC: Swedish Style and Substance

Businesses are like cycling teams: rarely do they contain two exceptional talents. There is the leader and the domestique; the visionary and the money man. POC is different.


It does not take long to identify Fredrik Hallander as remarkable. Indeed, some of the spadework is done for us. On my first, fact-finding visit to Sweden, the industrial design genius is the talk of his colleagues. Over drinks in a tiny bar in Stockholm’s pretty Gamla Stan district, I’m told about his collection of vintage sewing machines, the creative weekends at his beautiful home in the Stockholm suburbs and his skills as a mountain biker.


A month later, we drive out of the city, along snow-blown roads, into pretty streets of period houses. Hallander is welcoming, if understandably hesitant. He might, more reasonably, have expected the interview to take place at the office, but for most of us, our homes reveal more than our desks, and this is a truth to which even Hallander is no exception.


Hallander worked as a consultant for company founder Stefan Ytterborn before POC was officially born; when it was merely a vision, or a “mood board”, to use the designer’s shorthand. Their relationship is dictated by shared personality traits (“I’m a stubborn guy and Stefan is a stubborn guy”) and a shared vision (“It’s always easy to get along, and if I like something, it’s quite likely that he likes it”).


He agrees that the essence of this shared vision is in some way Scandinavian. He offers the wooden-walled house in which we talk as an example: simply decorated, but able to withstand the Swedish climate. A Swede is more likely to be interested in the cross-section of a wall than the paint or paper applied to it. POC’s products offer a similar combination of simplicity and function.


“In my mind, it is function in a tidy way,” Hallander says, “to make as simplistic as possible, with nothing to disturb the function or the eye. The aesthetics come naturally: a by-product.


“We discuss how it should look all the time, in the tiniest detail. Our form language is our mother tongue, so it’s not difficult for us to know how it should look, but we can always discuss small details.”


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